Monday, June 30, 2014


Since I'm not home to check my mailbox, I'm sharing this inspirational quote found on Stylonica.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Spotlight: GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER by Julian Rosado-Machain

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies, one that spans close to seven thousand years of existence, weaving in and out of history, guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales.

The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn’t be aware of and dangers he shouldn’t face but, that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity’s future.

The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology but, every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we’ve driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future, and to unlock the future they need a Cypher.

This is the first book of the Guardians Inc Series.

First Chapter:
Vice Principal Killjoy

Thomas fiddled with his thumbs waiting for his grandfather to emerge from his meeting with Vice Principal “Killjoy” Khanna.
He hadn’t come up with that nickname; it was something he had heard since his first day at Oceanic High School, in Carlsbad, California. It was whispered along the corridors and classrooms with dread, like a monster under the bed. If you did something wrong, Killjoy would get you.
Even the adults knew about her infamy. Morning drop-offs at school were always a chaotic cutthroat race until Killjoy took command of the school’s entrance. Holding a metal notepad in one hand and a large coffee mug in the other, Killjoy gained control of the drop-off zone. As parents cautiously drove through the parking lot, a mere frown stopped those who wanted to cut in line. A wave of the metal notepad dissuaded those who wanted to drive into the teacher’s parking lot. Her system was very simple: students wouldn’t be admitted to school that day if their parents tried to cut in line. Simple as that.
Killjoy always wore a long overcoat over a buttoned knitted sweater, even in the summer. Her haters compared her to a barrel with legs, but many of the girls were jealous of the wavy black hair that reached her lower back and her thin manicured hands. Nobody had seen her eyes — she always wore huge sunglasses that covered half her face — but it was rumored that her eyes were the blackest black.
She was shorter than the average sophomore girl, so it was easy for her to walk among students undetected during recess, and she was silent too, like a tiger stalking prey. Someone had found out that her shoe size was around 12 or 13, but Killjoy wore rubber-soled shoes and walked in a short step gait.
In those first two weeks, Thomas had been startled three times by her sudden appearance. Only the first time had she acknowledged his presence by nodding her head at him, her chin embedding itself deeply into her large double chin.
That simple nod was enough for an introduction.
There was a story about how Killjoy stopped a speeding SUV by standing in front of it and putting her hand on the grill of the car. The incident happened before Thomas even entered school, and he knew it must have been an exaggeration, but the story went that two days later, the family who was driving the SUV moved from the county.
Or so it was rumored.
Parents avoided her, teachers respected her, and students were completely terrified of her. In a nutshell, the school was completely under Killjoy’s iron grip. The principal seemed happy to be just a figurehead, the school ran like clockwork, and there were no problems between him and Killjoy since Killjoy was always right.
Everyone told Thomas to avoid her, but he was now on her radar.
Thomas shifted in his seat, swinging his legs back and forth. He stared at Killjoy’s closed door. He shivered. This was his first visit to her office, and since he had just transferred from Ohio, the Killjoy legend hadn’t really sunk in. A boy from his class had called him a “farm boy” in front of a group of girls, and although he had let that one slip by, he couldn’t ignore “hick,” “redneck,” and all the other names that followed. He dropped his backpack and immediately a ring of onlookers gathered.
The other boy, Roger Hill, was large and strong, with blond hair and blue eyes. He was three inches taller than Thomas, and his shoulders were many inches wider. Roger was a linebacker on the school’s football team.
Thomas was the complete opposite – always on the skinny side, with black hair and brown eyes. But three years in Tae Kwon Do earned him a red belt and third place in Ohio’s junior open. Of course, nobody knew that, and Roger found out the hard way.
Thomas didn’t throw the first punch; he tried to talk first, but when the punches came he made sure to throw the last kick, and then the next one, and the next one, as Roger’s teammates jumped in to help their linebacker. Thomas was in a trance – fighting – and zooming in on one of Roger’s friends when the circle of onlookers opened and Killjoy entered the arena.
With a wave of her notepad, Killjoy dissolved the spectators and assessed the situation. Everyone was silent. Thomas tried to catch his breath.
“You three,” she said in a thick Hindu accent, “to the principal.” Then she turned to Thomas and pointed with her coffee mug. “You, follow me.”
Thomas picked up his backpack and followed the short, plump woman through the school hallways. All the kids looked at him with pity; some even waved goodbye.
With a little kick, Killjoy opened her office door and led Thomas inside. She pointed to a chair across from her desk and waited for him to sit down before plopping in her chair. She intertwined her fingers and leaned over her desk, staring at Thomas.
Thomas tried to keep his cool and held her gaze while he counted in silence. He’d never been prone to get into trouble. He was never singled out for anything other than for his prowess in Tae Kwon Do in Ohio.
In Fulton, a town of roughly eleven thousand people, and a high school with a total two hundred students, everyone was familiar with each other. They’d actually grown up together. His old principal, Mr. Blair, had been to barbecues at his home many times. When someone got into trouble, not only did the parents know about it, within hours, the whole town heard of the news. And, like it or not, your reputation grew up with you -- screwing up as a kid, you’d be branded a “bad apple,” and your reputation would follow you forever.
The switch to Carlsbad, a proper city between San Diego and L.A., and a school with about three thousand students, had been difficult. It was harsh and disorienting. It seemed that everyone was trying to be individuals, trying to do something that would set them apart from each other. Clothing, attitude, friends, sports. It was all about who was who. Who did what? And, who was with whom? Thomas had tried to keep a low profile, but once again, his prowess in Tae Kwon Do had singled him out.
And now he was sitting in front of Killjoy.
When he had counted to twenty Mississippi, Killjoy finally spoke.
“Did you throw the first punch?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Did you entice the fight in any way?”
“E-N-T-I-C-E. Entice,” she spelled. “To bait, to attract. Did you lure Roger to fight with you?”
“No. They started it.”
“Roger and his friends.”
“So you know him?”
“He’s in one of my classes.”
“And you don’t like him.”
“I don’t really know him.”
“You wanted to fight him?”
“You wanted to show off in front of the school? Build a little reputation? Show everyone who’s boss.”
“No to which question.”
“No to all of them.”
“Show me your hands.”
Thomas paused, and then extended his knuckles.
“Palms up,” Killjoy said leaning forward. He opened his hands and turned up his palms.
Killjoy leaned even closer and lifted her sunglasses. Her eyes weren’t black but light brown, so clear that they were almost yellowish and perfectly delineated with a dark line. If she wasn’t wearing the sunglasses all the time, the girls would surely have another thing to envy. As she stared at his palms, Thomas began to feel a tingling sensation. He pulled his hands away.
She leaned back in her chair drawing in a deep breath. “Are you afraid of me?” she asked as she reached for her coffee, her nails screeching as she ran them across the mug.
“Should I be?” Thomas asked the way he had answered all of her other questions, immediately, without thinking.
Yes, she was scary, and she ruled the school with an iron grip, but in all the stories he’d heard, she was portrayed like a righteous but level-headed person. He really wanted to believe that he would get a fair interview with her.
Killjoy smirked. “I ask the same question to every student that sits in that chair. Ninety-nine percent say ‘yes.’ The other one percent, the bold or stupid, depending on how you want to look at it, say ‘no.’ You are the first to ask if you should be afraid.”
She turned her computer screen toward him. “This is your student record. Because of your fight I can suspend you. I can also try to expel you. I can have all the teachers keep tabs on you and let me know when you do something that’ll bring you back to this chair. I could recommend counseling, maybe even a psych evaluation. I could go out of my way and write some college recommendation letters, the kind that hint that maybe you wouldn’t be the best candidate for that school. I could do all that, maybe even a little more. And you know what?”
She stood and filled her coffee mug with a fresh batch from a machine she kept behind her desk. “It wouldn’t matter. This…” she pointed at the screen, “is your record, but it isn’t you. It isn’t what you are or what you can become. No matter what I or anyone else does to help you or bring you down, only you can decide your future. Success or failure is in your hands. You understand all of this?”
Thomas nodded.
“Good,” she said sitting down. “Because most people your age don’t. That said, the answer is no, you shouldn’t be afraid of me, but you will respect me while you’re in this school. Are we clear?”
“Very clear.”
“Now get out of my chair and I’ll call your grandfather. You’ll wait outside and study.” She took a sip of coffee and turned to the computer screen.
Thomas didn’t know if he needed to apologize, thank her, or ask her what was going to happen next. He stood up and walked toward the door.
He’d imagined a completely different outcome from the stories he’d heard. He had actually liked his little chat with Killjoy except, of course, that she was calling in his grandpa.
Now that was a conversation he began to dread.
“By the way,” Killjoy said, “for a red belt, you’re twisting your back leg too much on your Dwi sa gi.”
“Excuse me?”
“Your back stance,” Killjoy said without looking at him. “If Roger had known a little Tae Kwon Do, or any other martial art, he would have blocked your side kick and you’d have ended up on the floor. You need to work on your side-raising kick too.”
It was almost word-for-word what his Master in Ohio had told him to work on before he left for California.
“Thanks,” he said. “I will.” And she waved him away with the mug.
Thomas sat down outside of her office to study, but all he could think about was his chat with Killjoy. How did she know that he practiced Tae Kwon Do, and how could she have guessed that he was a red belt?
It took Thomas’s grandfather four hours before he arrived. The school was almost empty when Morgan Byrne entered through the office doors. Thomas felt the full intensity of his grandfather’s glare, even behind his thick, coke-bottle glasses. As his grandfather walked toward him, Thomas felt his body shrink. He had seen that glare before. He closed his notepad and got ready for the lecture that was sure to come. His grandfather’s limp was more noticeable when he walked at a brisker pace, and the way he nodded was an even worse sign of things to come.
Morgan Byrne had big hands, and at seventy-two he was an imposing man. He still had a full head of hair, although it had gone completely white. The diabetes and mild arthritis had only begun to dent his stamina, but he still exercised every morning and tried to get Thomas to exercise with him as much as he could.
“Tom.” His grandfather lifted a finger from his clenched fist, but before he could say another word, Killjoy opened the door to her office.
“Mr. Byrne,” she said extending a hand. “I’m Vice Principal Khanna. Before you take Thomas home I need to speak with you.”
Morgan shook Killjoy’s hand, flashed Thomas a final glare, and disappeared into the office.
Thomas’s guts twisted into a knot, and he locked his hands in between his knees. He involuntarily began to rock back and forth. A chat session between Killjoy and Grandpa could very well mean a whole new level of grounding. He tried to listen to the conversation through the door, but he only heard muffled voices.
Grandpa raised his voice, then Killjoy, then Grandpa again, followed by a long stream of words from Killjoy. Then a long silence, then… laughter?
Were they really laughing in there?
The door flung open. His grandfather walked out of Killjoy’s office with a smile. He turned and waved at Killjoy. Thomas stopped rocking and drew in a long breath. His grandfather didn’t seem as angry as he thought.
But, Thomas’s relief was short-lived as Grandpa’s smile slowly turned into a grimace.
“To the car, Tom,” his grandfather snapped. Not another word was spoken until they reached the parking lot.
“I tried to talk it out first,” Thomas began when they reached the car.
“Inside.” Morgan opened the door and closed it very gently. The car was his most prized possession: a black 1959 Chevrolet Impala that had been in and out of his garage only a couple of times since he’d bought it.
Thomas had heard all the car stories more than once. It was his grandfather’s pride and joy, his first car, bought with the labor of his teenage years and his first check from the Marines. The car that wooed his grandmother; the car his dad first learned to drive; the car Thomas’s parents used on their first date.
The car had been as special for his parents as it was for Grandpa and, had they not disappeared, it would already be theirs.
“I was furious with you, Tom.” Morgan buckled his seatbelt. “You got into a fight two weeks after I finally became your legal guardian. Really? Don’t you remember how difficult it was? All the hurdles and hoops? What would those people at the board say if they knew about this fight?”
“I tried to talk first, Gramps, I’m sorry.”
“Well,” his grandfather pursed his lips and turned on the ignition. “You should be. Let’s go.”
As they drove away, Thomas saw Killjoy leaving the school and, for a second, he thought she smiled at him.
“So,” Thomas asked once they pulled out from the school driveway. “We’re good? You’re not mad?”
“Oh no, I said I was furious.” Grandpa turned on the radio to one of his sixties stations. Bob Dylan was asking once again how it felt to be a rolling stone. Grandpa immediately joined in with the rhythm, tapping on the wheel with his hand.
“Until Miss Khanna told me that you beat up three kids today and…” he slapped the wheel and mouthed the words of the last chorus.
“And?” Thomas asked. He swallowed a lump in his throat.
“And I told her that three against one wasn’t my idea of a fair fight, especially since they are older than you. Aren’t they?”
“Well, yeah. But just by a year. They’re juniors.”
“Do you go beating up freshmen?”
“Well, there you go. You didn’t start the fight, did you?”
Thomas lifted up his hands. “No, I swear I didn’t.”
“But you did finish it and I can’t get mad at you because you defended yourself. I told Miss Khanna that only cowards gang up on someone and that I expected the parents of those kids to give us a call to apologize.”
“Really?” Thomas was sure that if Killjoy called the parents of Roger and company, his social life at school was over before it even got started. “And what did she say?”
“That you’re suspended for a week without it going on your permanent record. To keep appearances.” Grandpa turned the radio dial; The Rolling Stones were playing Sympathy for the devil. “Those boys belong to the school’s football team, one is the running back. He had a big game this weekend that he’s not going to play, and if they lose and she doesn’t punish you somehow, well, I’m sure you know just how popular you would have become. Nice going champ. Good way to make friends.”
“But is she calling their parents or not?” It was great that Killjoy wouldn’t put the fight on his record, but she could still destroy his social life with that call.
“Of course she will.” Grandpa parked inside of their garage. “But, to tell their parents that they beat you up, and that they have extra duties at the school for a month.” He looked at Thomas and winked. “She also has her Killjoy reputation to keep, you know?”

Julian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, worked in graphic design, armored vehicles, built computers, handcrafted alebrijes and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.
He lives in San Diego, California. And enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.
His latest book is the YA fantasy adventure, Guardians Inc.: The Cypher.

For More Information
• Visit Julian Rosado-Machain’s website.
• Connect with Julian on Facebook and Goodreads.
• More books by Julian Rosado-Machain.
• Contact the author here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

In the News: Smart Homes

Christopher Mims, Tech Columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wrote an article on smart homes in the June 22, 2014 edition. He visited with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson, who has turned his home into a smart home with the help of smart devices and apps. A device on his wrist registers movement when he wakes up and communicates this wirelessly to his iPhone, which passes the signal to home-controlling software in the cloud. Lights come on. The coffee maker starts brewing. The thermostat adjusts the temperature and the security system shuts off.

Mims isn't convinced this is all worth doing. He says, "...other than people who have very specific reasons to add automation to their homes, I have no idea why anyone would do it, even if the equipment were free. As countless reviewers have noted...even when smart-home technology works as advertised, the complexity it adds to everyday life outweighs any convenience it might provide." Mims did, however, find some compelling aspects of this technology in Hawkinson's home and has high hopes for the future. You can read his entire article at

What do you think about smart homes? Would you ever add such technology to your home?

This Day in History: Berlin Airlift Begins

On this day in 1948, U.S. and British pilots begin delivering food and supplies by airplane to Berlin when Josef Stalin's Soviet government attempted to consolidate control of the city by cutting off all land and sea routes to West Berlin to pressure the Allies into evacuating. The western section of Berlin and its 2 million people were deprived of food, heating fuel and other crucial supplies.

President Harry S. Truman feared an aggressive response would trigger another world war, so instead he authorized a massive airlift operation under the control of General Lucius D. Clay, the American-appointed military governor of Germany. The first planes took off from England and western Germany on June 26, loaded with food, clothing, water, medicine and fuel.

During the Berlin airlift, pilot Gail S. "Hal" Halvorsen ran an operation known as "Operation Little Vittles." Shortly before landing at the Berlin Tempelhof Airport in the American sector of Berlin, Halvorsen would drop candy attached to parachutes to the children below. Other crews followed suit and were given the name candy bombers. The program gained widespread attention that led to an outpouring of public support and donations. My home town of Chicopee, MA was crucial to this operation, as Westover Air
Force base in Chicopee was the stateside headquarters of "Operation Little Vittles." The motto of the Operation was "For the children, by the children, and of the children." Each of the 22 Chicopee schools spent time sewing handkerchiefs into tiny parachutes and a local businessman even donated whistles and balloons as Christmas gifts for the German children.

To read more about the Berlin airlift, visit You can read about Chicopee's involvement in "Operation Little Vittles" at There are links to several historical articles.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


From PBS DISTRIBUTION - Lovable characters, charming plotlines, humor, and science all come together in the fun and engaging program PEEP and the Big Wide World. From learning about mud, to exploring the many uses of a drinking straw – blowing bubbles, breathing underwater, spying on Quack – “PEEP DISCOVERS” features our favorite chicken uncovering more and more about the Big Wide World! In the adventure Fair Shares, Peep and his friends encounter a problem – two crackers, divided by three birds, equals one big headache. In Marble Mover, Peep discovers that if you ever need help getting a marble up a hill, all you need to do is “Ask a Duck.” In addition to featuring eight fun-filled learning adventures, this DVD includes printable activities and coloring pages. All the stories on this DVD are available in English and Spanish!

PEEP and the Big Wide World gives wings to the innovative idea of teaching science to preschoolers. Set in and around a pond, a bush, and a tin can, the show follows a newly hatched chicken named Peep, and his friends Chirp and Quack (a robin and a duck), on their adventures. Surrounding them is a large urban park – a place of great wonder and mystery, a place they are forever eager to explore, a place they call “the big wide world.” The program is narrated by Joan Cusack (“Toy Story 3”).

Runtime: Approximately 100 minutes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Spotlight: Time and Forever by Susan B. James

When Sherry's best friend, Lorena, promises her a virtual reality adventure for her sixty-third birthday, neither of them expect a trip back in time. But when Sherry bumps into the handsome stranger she’d once kissed on a London train in the summer of ‘69, she knows it couldn't be anything else.

And this time she doesn't want to run.

File Size: 3651 KB
Print Length: 210 pages
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing (January 27, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Purchase for Kindle at

Enter to win one of seven free copies at Cheryl's Yeko's blog:

Susan B. James has been a bookaholic since the age of eight. In between books she graduated high school at the Overseas School of Rome, took a BFA in Speech and Drama at the University of Georgia and received a MA in theatre at the University of Hawaii.

While not devouring another delicious book from the New York City Public Library, she pursued her acting career, keeping herself financially afloat with temp work.

She met and married her true love and got to sing in a Broadway musical. They moved to California where they could pursue TV and Film acting and where Susan could devour another library.

Two children and two grandchildren later, Susan is still a bookaholic and absolutely believes in magic and Happily Ever After. She is grateful to all the writers who enriched her lives with their stories.

Time and Forever is her debut romance novel. She writes children's books as Susan J. Berger

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Product Review: Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System

Through Crowdtap, I had a chance to try out the Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System. My sample package included the Litter Genie with a refill of bags. The unit was easy to put together. Just open the unit, snap the scoop holder into place, pull the tab on the bag refill and pull down about a foot of film (bag). Tie a knot at the bottom of the bag and sit the refill on the unit. Close the funnel (top part of unit) and put Litter Genie next to your litter boxes.

Scoop used cat litter up with the scoop provided and toss it into the unit. Once you're done, close the lid and pull the handle. This will drop the used litter into the bottom of the unit (into the bag). Push the handle back in and used litter and odors are trapped inside.

Once the bag is full (about 14 days), open the unit in the middle and slide the film into the cutter. Tie a knot at the top of the bag and dispose of full bag. Pull down on the film in the Litter Genie and a tie a knot at the end so that it is ready to use again. You can see this process in the video below.

What I like about the Litter Genie is that it makes controlling cat litter odors a breeze. It is easy to set up and small enough to be tucked into a corner. Part of me wonders why I never purchased one before. In the past, I would toss used litter into a small garbage bag and haul it upstairs to toss it out in an old diaper pail in the garage. The Litter Genie definitely takes less time.

The things I didn't care for are the small size of the cat litter scoop and its smooth edge, the lack of stability for the scoop holder, and the bit of mess it makes when emptying multiple cat boxes. We have three cats and three litter boxes. Over the years, we've found a cat litter scoop with rake like tips makes scooping used litter from the bottom of the boxes easier. I can't use my larger litter scoop with the rake like tips to pour into the unit without making a mess, so I am stuck with the smaller smooth edged one provided with the unit. In addition, when the Litter Genie is open at the middle, the scoop holder tends to fall off. We placed the unit to the right of our three litter boxes. There's no way to avoid a bit of mess while emptying the boxes unless I want to pick the Litter Genie up and move it as I empty each box. Not a big deal, but something that would be good for anyone with multiple cats to consider.

I just bought a 2-pack of refills for our Litter Genie, so you can bet we'll be using this unit regularly.

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Friday, June 20, 2014

At Home Again by Lynn Steward, Author of A Very Good Life

Title:  A Very Good Life
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Author:  Lynn Steward
Publisher:  CreateSpace

Although Lynn Steward’s debut novel, A Very Good Life, takes place in 1970s New York City. it has a timelessness to it. Dana McGarry is an "it" girl, living a privileged lifestyle of a well-heeled junior executive at B. Altman, a high end department store. With a storybook husband and a fairytale life, change comes swiftly and unexpectedly. Cracks begin to appear in the perfect facade. Challenged at work by unethical demands, and the growing awareness that her relationship with her distant husband is strained, Dana must deal with the unwanted changes in her life. Can she find her place in the new world where women can have a voice, or will she allow herself to be manipulated into doing things that go against her growing self-confidence?

A Very Good Life chronicles the perils and rewards of Dana’s journey, alongside some of the most legendary women of the twentieth century. From parties at Café des Artistes to the annual Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting ceremony, from meetings with business icons like Estée Lauder to cocktail receptions with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Steward’s intimate knowledge of the period creates the perfect backdrop for this riveting story about a woman’s quest for self-fulfillment.
At Home Again by Lynn Steward
About five years ago, I labeled a personal file as “Act Three,” and filled it with creative ideas for a new work-interest. I first enjoyed an exciting career in New York’s fashion industry, then later, via a circuitous route on the way to opening my own boutique Shop for Pappagallo, I established a successful real estate business in Chicago. But I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, was something to explore during this next phase.
But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, I  created a TV series designed to run for five seasons. Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingled fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to write a novel, incorporating the TV stories.  While I still hope to see the characters alive on the big screen, I tremendously enjoy daily researching and writing historical fiction. My favorite time to write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. For at least three hours a day, I am again at home in New York City in the 1970s, creating a life for thirty-year-old Dana, her family and friends: attending parties at Café des Artistes with celebrity guests like legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, a business meeting with Estée Lauder, an art lectures at the Met.. At the same time, raising important questions that are relevant at every age, then and now: how does one find balance and meaning in the daily routines of life? How does one stop counting the candles, a single year or event, and instead, value the tapestry of life? This quest for self-fulfillment is a universal theme everyone can identify.

Lynn Steward is a successful business woman who spent many years in New York City’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the development of the first women’s department at a famous men’s clothing store. Through extensive research, and an intimate knowledge of the period, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies. A Very Good Life is the first in the series featuring Dana McGarry.  

Product Review: Poise® Sampling Program

Through Crowdtap I had a chance to participate in the Poise® Sampling Program. Childbirth was not kind to my body, and as a result I've dealt with light incontinence for close to 30 years. Now that my uterus has fallen, the occasions are more frequent, and I don't feel right leaving the house without protection.

For this sampling, I received a plastic wallet filled with two Poise Microliners, a Poise Liner, and a Poise Ultra Thin Pad. I was most excited about trying the Microliner because I long ago abandoned maxi-pads for my periods and moved to tampons, so I certainly didn't want to go back to anything bulky.

I've tried the Poise Ultra Thin Pad in the past and felt it was close to as comfortable as I was going to get for daily protection, but these new Microliners are so thin they are almost like wearing nothing. I felt fully protected and confident leaving the house. Overall these are a great addition to the Poise line, but like most very thin pads, they can tend to crinkle a bit if not firmly pressed into place or after several hours of use. I'm an active person, so someone who is not constantly on the go might not experience this issue.

I shared the other pads with friends and they thought this was a nice change from using a period pad for light incontinence. I know I'll be purchasing the Poise Microliners again.

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The Friday 56 - Week 183

Welcome to Week 183!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

This is a short story collection inspired by real cases. I won it in a giveaway last year.

This is from page 156:

"And what about the seven grave sites found by authorities?" Hess asked. "What does the number seven mean in this case?"

Thursday, June 19, 2014

This Day in History - Flood Causes Train Wreck in Montana

On June 19, 1938, a train walker checked the rail lines near Custer Creek in Terry, Montana and reported no problems. A few hours later, a sudden downpour created a flash flood that wiped out the bridge. The Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul railroad's Olympian plummeted without warning into the raging waters. Two sleeper cars were buried in the mud, and the overcast night hampered rescue efforts. More than 40 people were killed and more than 60 were injured.

You can read more at You can also find a newspaper article about the wreck, including historical photographs, at

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Moms--The First Line of Defense Against the Enemy By Jermaine Gadson

Tactics, Trends, and Traits of the Enemy by author Jermaine Gadson is a must have resource for believers who want to be well equipped to be victorious against the strategies of the devil. The devil is cunning and deceptive, and he will stop at nothing to keep God's people from reaching their potential in Christ. In this book, Pastor Gadson discusses how the enemy uses temptation, seduction, fear, isolation, guilt, shame, and other such things in order to steal and destroy a person's life. Satan works tirelessly through various means and mechanisms to keep sinners from hearing and being receptive of the Word of God, in order to prevent them from being saved. If you have family or friends who are not born-again, this resource will help you to identify schemes that the enemy may be using to keep your loved ones from being saved. This book is intended to equip the Body of Christ to wage a good warfare against the strategies of the enemy. It is not God's will for His people to be taken advantage of by the enemy because of ignorance. This book exposes who the enemy is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will try to do in the future, as an enemy of God's people. This book is written for the everyday believer to be able to understand and use. However, it is also a helpful tool for Christian leaders to be able to identify specific ways in which the enemy desires to attack them in order to steal their influence, kill their destiny, and destroy their reputation and ministries. In this regard, it is an encouragement to the Body of Christ to guard and protect their spiritual leaders.

Moms--The First Line of Defense Against the Enemy
by Jermaine Gadson

Moms are literally the center of the home. They keep everyone else in the family together, in line, and focused. If mom isn’t happy, no one is. If mom is hurting, everyone is. If mom is on her A-game, everyone benefits. This is why it is so important for mothers to understand the importance of their spiritual role in the home.

The mother is the first line of defense for her family against the strategies and attacks of the enemy. Countless men and women can attest to the fact that they were rescued from danger because of the prayers of their mother, or that they were led to Christ through the faithful example, patience, and endurance of a loving mother who prayed for them, encouraged them, loved them, and taught them. For these reasons, and others, the Enemy desires to attack moms personally or discourage them through attacking their children.

As a mother, you must understand that the struggles that you go through are oftentimes not about you, but about your family. The Enemy knows that if he can get to you, he will have the ability to get to the other members of the home. For example, when the Enemy wanted to tempt humanity into sinning against God in the Garden of Eden, he did not come to Adam, but to Eve. He knew the influence of a woman upon her family.

For the well-being of the entire family it is important for mom to be strong, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. This book will help you to be spiritually and internally strong, so that you can be externally strong and available to your family, and be able to fulfill the many responsibilities that you have on your plate. Are you struggling with fear, guilt, shame, low self-esteem? This book will help you to overcome these feelings that prevent you from living at your best. Are you dealing with worldly temptations, pride, selfishness, greed? This book will help you to see how these things and others can be traps waiting to bring you down. Is your faith being tested? Are you going through a trial that is pushing you to the limit? Are you questioning God or yourself because it seems like your prayers are not being answered? These issues and more are addressed in the book, and will help you to persevere and be the winner that God has called you to be.

We also talk about strategies that the enemy uses to keep people from hearing or receiving the gospel. This can help mothers, grandmothers, and other women of influence in the family to pray, intercede, and address specific issues that may be keeping their children from walking in spiritual, mental, emotional freedom. No matter where you come from or what your background is, if you are a mother, you need to be aware of the tremendous spiritual influence you have been given over your family, and be equipped to effectively live it out. You can have victory today in every area of your life; but it begins by knowing who you are, and the authority you have in Jesus Christ to overcome every situation that comes your way.

Jermaine Gadson is the founding pastor of Faith Ministries, Inc. in Birmingham, AL. He earned a B.A. in Religion with a concentration in Congregational Studies and a minor in Classics from Samford University in Birmingham, AL., and a Master of Divinity degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. He is a native of Birmingham, AL. He is married to Kristy, and they have a two year old daughter, Khloe. He enjoys reading, writing, being outdoors, sports, and movies. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree and hosts a local weekly television broadcast called Interceding for the City. He blogs on church leadership, Christian living, and spiritual warfare at Connect with Jermaine on Twitter at and Facebook at

View the trailer for this book at

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mailbox Monday - June 16

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Lots going on here. Year end events last week, and this week includes soccer tryouts, the Lil' Princess' final orchestra concert, and dance recital. My training went well last week and continues for at least the next two weeks, so blogging might be spotty.

Only one book arrived by mail this past week--thank goodness. I'm trying not to overwhelm my summer. This is for a review I'll be doing in July at The Book Connection.

What does it mean to be One Nation Under God? Our Founding Fathers believed it was more than a political slogan. Have we strayed from their vision? A Nation Under Judgment focuses on issues currently facing our nation including hunger, poverty, the environment and marriage. These and other issues are reviewed from both a Scriptural point of view and a social policy point of view. Readers are empowered to consider whether our nation is moving away from being One Nation Under God.

This is one I downloaded for my Kindle so that I could review it today at The Children's and Teens' Connection.

Book of Dreams sees Baby Raccoon’s parents use clouds to share their dreams of a better future. In the story, Mama and Papa use clouds to share their dreams about a healthy planet and vibrant future for Baby Ringtail. In the book, Baby Ringtail asks Mama and Papa, “Why is every cloud a different shape?” “Clouds are pictures in the sky that help us dream,” Mama Ringtail replies.

What arrived in your mailbox last week?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible Book Blitz with Jay Grimstead - Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title: Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible: Proclaiming the Truth on 24 Controversial Issues
Author: Jay Grimstead
Genre: Religion/Theology/Instruction
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing, Inc.
ISBN:  978-0-9882976-5-4

Purchase at:

About the book:
False teachings threatening to corrupt the Church forced the leaders to join in councils, where they codified the orthodox teaching of the Bible into creeds received by the Church as faithful distillations of Scriptural truth and as a bulwark against future corruption. Error, heresy, and outright paganism are today common in churches that were once sound. Even many “better” churches have little depth to their teaching and are silent on critical issues of the day, and even in some paganism masquerades as Christianity.

This book is the fruit of the work of hundreds of theologians and Christian leaders working throughout a 37-year period to define and defend the key Biblical points on 24 controversial issues — which would not even be controversial if all believed like Jesus and Paul in the inerrancy of the Bible.

This book states the Bible’s position on 24 controversial issues and explains why each document needed to be written. It offers the global Body of Christ tools for reforming the Church and motivating Christians to live in obedience to Christ and to all commands in the Bible intended for us.

“We heartily invite all Christians on this planet who desire to live in obedience to the Bible in all areas of life at all times, to form themselves and their local churches into “United Spiritual Armies” at the city and county levels, and to establish a network with other such churches and “spiritual armies” at their state and national levels with the goal of making Christ King of their cities and nation. We invite you to join with us in applying these 24 DOCUMENTS to the life of the Church and in making 2 Cor. 10:5 a reality. By that we mean that together we are called by God to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

About the author:

Dr. Jay Grimstead was born in Bismarck, ND. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1957 from Sterling College in Sterling, KS. He graduated from Fuller Seminary in 1961 with a Masters in Theology (ThM) and later received a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree. He spent 20 years on staff with Young Life Campaign, a ministry of clubs and camping to evangelize and disciple non-church teenagers.

In 1984 he founded the Coalition on Revival which created the 17 World-view Documents which state the biblical principles for the various spheres of life and the “blueprints for how the Bible applies to the fields of: Law, Government, Economics, Education, Science, the Media & Arts, Medicine, etc.” Under his leadership, COR organized the International Church Council Project in 1992.

In 2004 and 2005 he organized theological committees in Guatemala, San Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama to discuss and defend certain of the 22 Theological Documents of the Church Council Project which had been translated into Spanish. A year later, Dr. Grimstead gathered national leaders from various fields to create the “24 Year Plan to Rebuild America upon the principles of the Bible.”

Dr. Grimstead now lives with his wife, Donna, a registered pharmacist, in Murphys, CA. They have two grown children, Julie and Guy. Dr. Grimstead’s favorite hobbies are mountain climbing and playing jazz and blues on his trumpet.

To learn more about Dr. Grimstead and his work, please visit

Pump Up Your Book and Dr. Jay are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • This giveaway begins June 2 and ends on June 27, 2014.
  • Winner will be contacted via email by July 2, 2014.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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Rebuilding Civilization on the Bible Book Blitz Schedule

June 2
June 3
June 4
June 5
June 6
June 9
June 10
June 11
June 12
June 13
June 16
June 18
June 19
June 20
June 23
June 24
June 25
June 26
June 27


PBS Distribution recently released four stories from PBS KIDS’ popular DINOSAUR TRAIN series produced by The Jim Henson Company, on the new DVD “ADVENTURE CAMP.” Kids will follow Buddy, Shiny, Tiny and Don in four exciting stories as they travel to different ecosystems and learn about erosion, tree lines, rainforests, and canyons. These are the same stories that premiered in January in the hit one-hour “DINOSAUR TRAIN: Nature Trackers Adventure Camp” special on PBS KIDS, which reached three million total viewers during the week it aired.*

Mr. Conductor and his nephew Gilbert lead Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and friends on an action-packed journey. Throughout their adventures at camp, the group finds courage as they race down rivers, have a snowball fight, climb a tall mountain, ride a zipline over the rainforest and hike down a canyon to dig for fossils! Viewers won’t be able to resist tapping their feet and singing along as the whole gang makes discoveries about the world around them.

DINOSAUR TRAIN embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains, while encouraging basic scientific thinking skills. Buddy and his adoptive family of Pteranodons go on whimsical adventures through prehistoric jungles, swamps, volcanoes, and oceans as they unearth basic concepts in natural science, natural history, and paleontology. The Dinosaur Train is a colorful locomotive, customized to accommodate all kinds of dinosaurs and has the ability to visit the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous worlds. The Train’s Conductor, a knowledgeable Troodon, provides passengers with fascinating facts along the way. DINOSAUR TRAIN airs weekdays on PBS KIDS (check local listings).

“ADVENTURE CAMP” will be available on June 10, 2014. The DVD has a run time of approximately 50 minutes and an SRP of $7.99. In addition to featuring four fun-filled learning adventures, this DVD also includes special features – coloring pages, activities, information for parents, and the new interactive game “River Run!” In this racing game, Buddy and Don paddle through the river collecting insects for Don’s ever-growing collection. Players will learn about river currents and insects as they race to the finish line.

“Adventure Camp: Rafting”
Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don go river rafting for the first time. Their old pal Jess Hesperornis meets up with them, and they all learn about erosion and the importance of rivers before finishing up their adventure by cruising through some rapids!

Educational Objective: Rivers and streams are ribbons of water that start at a high point and flow downhill – often with streams gathering into rivers. Animals and plants living on land depend on rivers and streams to provide fresh water and nutrients.

“Adventure Camp: Mountain Climbing”
For their second outing, Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and other friends learn about the tree line as they set out to hike up a mountain. Shiny is determined to get to the top of mountain forest. Buddy wonders if they’ll be able to see anything from the mountaintop, through the tall trees. The kids are amazed that the higher they hike, the shorter the trees and bushes become! Then they reach the tree line – a certain point on the mountain where trees are really small because they don’t have enough air to breathe and the temperature is too cold. In the end, Shiny and all the kids use teamwork to all reach the mountaintop together!

Educational Objective: The timberline, or tree line, is a certain elevation on a mountain where the temperatures are colder, the air is thin and the soil is less moist, making it hard for most plants and trees to grow. Trees may grow as small shrubs. There is less oxygen, so it’s harder for animals to breathe at the tree line and above.

“Adventure Camp: Ziplining”
The campers are back for another adventure – and this time they’ll be travelling to a rainforest! Once they arrive in the dense rainforest, the campers explore different levels of the ecosystem, including the forest floor and the canopy of leaves at the top of the forest. After a hike through the rainforest, the campers’ adventure culminates as each kid takes a ride on a zipline, where they all get a bird’s eye view of the entire rainforest!

Educational Objective: Rainforests are very dense, warm, wet, forests that are home to a vast array of different life forms. Rainforests get a lot of rain, at least 70 inches per year. Rainforests, often called the “lungs of the Earth,” generate much of the oxygen we breathe.

“Adventure Camp: Canyon Hiking”
The campers are led by Mr. Conductor and Gilbert on a hike down a canyon, where they can see the different layers of the Mesozoic Era! At first, Lily Lambeosaurus is reluctant to go, thinking that a new adventure sounds hard, but Don convinces her that a new adventure can be worth the effort. At the bottom of the canyon, the kids dig for fossils. Each camper goes home with a “new” Ammonite fossil, and Lily is so glad she tried something new!

Educational Objective: Canyons are deep cuts in the earth’s surface. They are formed by erosion. Erosion is mainly caused by the flow of rivers. It takes millions of years for canyons to become the grandiose natural landmarks they are today. The bottom rocks in canyons can date back billions of years, beyond the Mesozoic. Canyons can also be formed by a shift of the earth’s tectonic plates.

*Source: Nielsen NPower. 12/30/2013 - 1/26/2014. Live+7 AA ratings for PBS and select competitive cable networks. To qualify for the ranker, on-going series must have a minimum 4 telecasts/ month, and a 15 min duration.

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer-and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals as well as the new series Doozers, a CG animated preschool series. Features include The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, MirrorMask, and the upcoming Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and television productions include Fraggle Rock the sci-fi cult series Farscape, and the new reality competition Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring “Puppet-Up! - Uncensored,” a live puppet improvisational show.

About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of these programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners.

PBS Distribution offers a diverse range of programming to our customers, including
Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programming. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution pursues wholesale/retail sales, consumer and educational sales through PBS-branded catalogs and online shops, and international broadcast and video sales. PBS Distribution is also a leader in offering programming through digital platforms including internet and mobile devices.

Street Date: June 10, 2014
Genre: Children’s
Run Time: Approximately 50 Minutes
SRP: $7.99
Format: DVD

The Friday 56 - Week 182

Welcome to Week 182!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post to the Linky at Freda's Voice. Add the post url, not your blog url. It's that simple.

I decided to browse through page 56 of this travel guide to see what I could learn.

More than 50 miles of bicycle trails originate in the Boston area, including the Charles River Bike Path...and the Minuteman Bikeway...from Cambridge to Bedford. You can take your bike on any of the MBTA subway lines except the Green and Silver Lines, but you must avoid rush hours (7am to 10am and 4pm to 7pm weekdays) and always ride on the last train car.

Have you ever cycled through Boston? I certainly haven't tried it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Check out These 30 iPad Apps for Early Childhood Education

One of my kids is a Millennial and two are Generation Zers. Just as I was amazed by how quickly my son took to video games in the 90s, I'm amazed by how quickly my girls adapted to electronic devices. iPods and iPads sometimes seem foreign objects to me, but they can barely remember a time when they didn't use them. My preschool age nephew already knows how to work his parents' devices to find the Apps he likes. There are days I wish I had Apps to help teach my kids when they were that age.

"30 iPad Apps for Early Childhood Education" lists out apps that make learning fun for your young child. A brief description of each App is included, along with links to the publisher/developer website, the iTunes profile page, age range, and cost.

You can read the entire article at

This Day in History - "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall"

On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan challenged Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down" the Berlin Wall. Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin and gave one of his most famous Cold War speeches. It was a dramatic and powerful speech--probably my favorite out of all his speeches.

After Germany's defeat in World War II, Berlin was divided into four sections. America, Britain, and France controlled the western region and the Soviet Union gained power in the eastern region. In August 1961, the East German government constructed the Berlin Wall to prevent its citizens from escaping to the west.

Two years later, on November 9, 1989, East and West Germans broke down the infamous Berlin Wall. Germany was officially reunited on October 3, 1990.

You can

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Available Now!: THE NEW WILD KRATTS DVD “TINY TROUBLE” from PBS Distribution

PBS KIDS® Series WILD KRATTS Combines Science Education with Fun and Adventure

PBS Distribution recently released two episodes of PBS KIDS’ popular WILD KRATTS series on the new DVD “TINY TROUBLE.” Join brothers and wildlife explorers Martin and Chris Kratt (creators of the award-winning WILD KRATTS, KRATTS’ CREATURES and Emmy-winning ZOBOOMAFOO) as they explore nature, meet up with cool creatures from around the world, and witness never-before-seen wildlife moments. The two episodes featured on this DVD – “Termites vs. Tongues” and “Bugs or Monkeys” – are filled with humor, excitement, and science!

WILD KRATTS transforms Martin and Chris Kratt into animated versions of themselves, allowing the real-life zoologists to visit wild animals in their little-seen habitats and to showcase key science concepts along the way. Geared toward kids ages 6 to 8, each episode of WILD KRATTS presents developmentally-appropriate science inspired by the natural abilities of the animals that the Kratt brothers – and young viewers – meet. The series premiered on PBS KIDS in January 2011 and is part of PBS KIDS’ ongoing commitment to STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – education for kids. WILD KRATTS airs weekdays on PBS KIDS (check local listings).

“TINY TROUBLE” will be available on June 10, 2014. The DVD run time is approximately 50 minutes and its SRP is $9.99. In addition to featuring two fun-filled, laugh-out-loud adventures, the DVD also includes special features – coloring pages and activities.

“Termites vs. Tongues”
Synopsis – When a miniaturized Aviva and Koki are carried away by termites, Martin and Chris must infiltrate the termite ranks – as both termite and termite predator – to get them back.
Learning Goal – Predators and prey develop specific attacks and defenses to counter each other.

“Bugs or Monkeys”
Synopsis – While arguing over their next adventure, Chris and Martin meet a group of spider monkeys! But when a miniaturized Martin is carried away by a baby monkey, the rest of the Tortuga crew must work to find him.
Learning Goal – Certain animals have unique anatomical features adapted to maneuver in particular environments.

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About Kratt Brothers Company
Kratt Brothers Company, founded in 1993, has created and produced over 225 episodes of television, including award-winning series: Kratts’ Creatures, Zoboomafoo, Kratt Brothers: Be The Creature and Wild Kratts. Through its full service animation studio, Kratt Brothers Company is currently in production on its fourth season of the twice Emmy-nominated hit, Wild Kratts.

About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of these programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners.

Street Date: June 10, 2014
Genre: Children’s
Run Time: Approximately 50 Minutes
SRP: $9.99
Format: DVD

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


PBS Distribution announces four stories from PBS KIDS’ popular WORDGIRL™ series on the new DVD “WORDGIRL: MONKEY BUSINESS.” WORDGIRL® is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning animated series from Scholastic Media, a division of Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. The show follows the life and superhero adventures of WordGirl as she fights crime and enriches vocabulary usage.

In this new DVD, WordGirl and her sidekick Captain Huggy Face fight the good fight against dastardly villains and bad vocabulary! The super duo faces everything from a meat portal to a peanut butter gun, saving the day and instilling a love of language in children all at the same time. Get ready to be filled with zeal (n., great energy and enthusiasm) when you catch a glimpse (n., a momentary view) of this new DVD!

WORDGIRL airs weekdays on PBS KIDS (check local listings).

“WORDGIRL: MONKEY BUSINESS” will be available on DVD June 10, 2014. The DVD run time is approximately 50 minutes and its SRP is $9.99. DVD special features include interactive games, video shorts, and coloring pages. Details about the adventures featured on this DVD are below.

“Monkey Business”
After a battle, WordGirl accidentally leaves Captain Huggy Face behind (again). So he spends the day doing all of his favorite things. When an overzealous Chuck strikes, it’s up to Captain Huggy Face to single-handedly save the day.

“The Meaty Dimension”
The Butcher discovers the portal where all of his meat is stored and concocts a plan to trap Huggy and WordGirl so that he can take over the city. Will WordGirl and Huggy be able to outsmart the butcher and get rid of his meat portal for good?

“Whammer Anniversary”
Mr. and Mrs. Botsford leave Becky to babysit TJ so they can celebrate their anniversary at a local ice cream parlor. When the Whammer can’t get the sundae he orders he starts whamming. Becky has to find a way to save her parents, babysit TJ, and keep her secret identity intact.

“Peanut Butter Battles”
Chuck adds a new condiment to his arsenal – peanut butter! The highly sticky substance envelops its victims into a giant ball. When WordGirl gets hit with a peanut-buttery blast and Huggy has to roll her around town, will she still be able to save the day?

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and related services and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality books and ebooks, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, magazines, multi-media and other products that help children learn both at school and at home. The Company distributes its products and services worldwide through a variety of channels, including school-based book clubs and book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, on-air, and online at

About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of these programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and our production partners.

PBS Distribution offers a diverse range of programming to our customers, including
Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programming. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution pursues wholesale/retail sales, consumer and educational sales through PBS-branded catalogs and online shops, and international broadcast and video sales. PBS Distribution is also a leader in offering programming through digital platforms including internet and mobile devices.

Street Date: June 10, 2014
Genre: Children’s
Run Time: Approximately 50 Minutes
SRP: $9.99
Format: DVD

Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

This weekend, the Lil' Diva performed in Peter Pan Jr. at school. The play was wonderful. I was totally floored by the level of acting on the part of these middle school students. I'm so glad we have a drama club where they can display their talents.

One of the ways I helped out was in baking for the bake sale table. Since Friday was National Doughnut Day, I decided some doughnuts were in order. Problem was that I didn't have time to make regular doughnuts with yeast and letting them rise then rolling out the dough and frying them. So, I opted for this baked option. The one thing I must say about this recipe is that while it makes very good doughnuts, the consistency is very different than your typical doughnut. The baked ones came out with a texture more like a cake or muffin.

I found a recipe on for Cinammon Baked Doughnuts. I am listing the recipe and instructions as they appeared on the website. I used a mini-doughnut pan instead of a full size pan, and I only had one. This meant I reduced the cooking time from the stated recipe.


Baking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a doughnut pan well.

Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full*. Bake for 17 minutes**, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.

For the topping, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both sides.

Four of these cooled doughnuts easily made it into a treat bag. I made 4 dozen mini-doughnuts with this recipe.

* Filling my pan 3/4 full led to the doughnut rising above the top of the mold and not creating a hole on the top side of the doughnut. After the first batch, I only filled the molds 2/3 of the way.
**I baked mine for 9 to 10 minutes.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mailbox Monday - June 9

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

I start my training at the real estate office today, so I might not reply to comments until later in the day.

My mailbox was kind of slow this past week, but since I'm hoping to do some catching up this summer, I'm not disappointed.

This book arrived late in the week:

Have you ever been through a hard time in life? Ever wondered why bad things happen? Amber Neben has you covered. The 2x Olympic cyclist for Team USA knows a thing or two about shmack- her word for describing adversity that comes our way in life. Follow Amber’s journey as she overcomes major obstacles both on and off the bike-and encourages you to join her in developing the perseverance, patience, perspective, and power than only Christ can give us. Very few people may know or understand what road cycling is, but everyone knows what it means to be an Olympian. The champion road cyclist chronicles her disappointments and failures, as well as amazing comebacks and victories-while thrilling audiences along the way with gripping stories of faith and hope. After reading When Shmack Happens, you’ll feel equipped and encouraged to face life’s tough moments, and find yourself cheering for Amber to get back on the bike…one more time. Learn what it means to be a spiritual champion in God’s eyes.

Amber is a client of mine who is touring with Pump Up Your Book in July.

The next two books are Kindle freebies I picked up.

Is this you?

  • You are unemployed and fed up with the dysfunctional job market.
  • You are underemployed and eager to use your skills to make more money in work of your choice.
  • You have been freelancing or consulting but you don’t have enough paying work.
  • You are working your buns off for bad clients and you’re underpaid to boot.

Diana Schneidman wrote Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less to help the unemployed, the underemployed, and current solopros who underearn to land more clients quickly. The book explains exactly what to do and say to start building your clientele in less than a month.

Put your real skills to work earning a real income from business clients (because businesses have the money to pay for services and they want your help).

How to Write a Book Without Going Crazy helps aspiring authors learn to avoid many of the hurdles that prevent them from realizing their dreams of publication. Reuther, a longtime author and journalist, makes it clear that writing fast and from one's heart is the key giving birth to a book. Inspirational and informative, this book provides sound advice for both the novice and experienced writer.

What did you receive in your mailbox this week?