Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Big Cat Little Kitty ~ Book Review

by Scotti Cohn
Pubished by: ArbordalePublishing
$16.95 (hardcover)
$8.95 (paperback)
$7.95 (ebook with auto-flip, auto-read, spanish/english)
Available in Spanish or English

Big cats are fierce predators that roam the world from the mountains to the deserts. How are these wild cats that hunt for their food the same as pet cats that might chase a mouse or ball of yarn? How are they different? 

The award-winning prequel to this book, One Wolf Howls, introduces children to counting and the months of the year as they watch the seasons changing. This sequel introduces children to the days of the week as they travel to seven different world habitats to meet the big cats, and then back home to compare and contrast the domestic cat’s behavior to that of its relative. Compare/contrast big cat predators to little kitty cats each day of the week.

The illustrations are beautiful!
My thoughts:
This book teaches how Big Cats & Little Kitties are different in their behavior and the sounds they make as well as the following: big cats, domestic cats, days of week, habitats, math, life science, maps, the senses, tiger, cheetah, lion, snow leopard, cougar, jaguar, bobcat and cat. It's one of Gianna's favorites and she really gets into listening to the sounds. 

At the end of the book there is a section called For Creative Minds that she can enjoy. Since she's only 3.5 most of the activities are over her head still but some can be tweaked and she surprised me by being able to talk about the cats shown on the world map and understanding which ones roar and which ones don't. There is also a Teachers Activity Guide available online at the books homepage. With 30 pages of worksheets, math, writing and science activities there is something for everyone to do (click on the title of the book above to see everything available to you). This book has won the Mom's Choice Awards Gold.

About the book:
Scotti Cohn is the award-winning author of One Wolf Howls, the prequel to Big Cat, Little Kitty, and is currently working on a third book in the series about migrating animals. She is the author of eight nonfiction books. Scotti’s short stories and poems have appeared in numerous magazines for young people. She has two grown children. Scotti and her husband, Ray, share their central Illinois home with five “little” cats. For more information, visit 

Disclaimer: I wasn't asked to review this book nor compensated for the review. We read it as part of the Summer Reading Program that Arbordale offers. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Arbordale Publishing's Summer Reading Program

This summer Gianna and I have been participating in Arbordale Publishing's Summer Reading Program featuring 25 of their ebooks which they have provided to families to read this summer FREE of charge. She is enjoying reading the stories and I will let her pick the book she wants to read next. Usually she will pick the same one over and over and then I will pick one or two that I want to read. We've been reading the books on my phone and always get an error message that my phone screen is not compatible - but I can click on the OK and still read it aloud to her myself. The books feature animals, habitats and other nature things found around the world and many of the pictures have clickable sound links. Gianna has had a lot of fun touching the animals and listening to the sounds of the animals roaring, making unusual sounds like the clicking of a beetle or the purring of a Big Cat who wasn't made to roar (?!?). I had no idea that a zebra doesn't sound like a horse! and a Giraffe DOES make noise - I always thought they were silent!

They provide you with a Passport and Stamps that the kids (or you) can cut out and then the kids can paste them into their passport.  When your child has read all 25 books you can mail in their passport and your child will be sent a book of their very own to keep. 

So far we have read:

I also own several of these myself and it's been fun to listen to the noises and read them again!

It's NOT to late to join the Summer Reading Program: 
You can read them online or via their Book App. (See the note below)

The Summer Reading Program takes a few clicks to find. You will click here and then you will click on the image that opens up. That will lead you to the Summer Reading Program.
Scroll down on the first page and you will find downloads for bingo, the passport and a link to crafts, etc on pinterest.

Who is Arbordale?
For those of you who aren't familiar with Arbordale - they publish fascinating storybooks (and ebooks) for kids 3+ that are based on the animal world and feature Math and Science concepts. Each book includes a 3-4 page bonus activity section at the end of the book and teachers, homeschoolers and parents with enquiring kids can find another 30 pages of FREE learning worksheets, activities and more online. I've worked with them for about 7-8 years and have we have loved all the books we've read. 

All of their books are completely vetted by teachers and all facts and information is accurate and up to date.

Linked up @:
Friendship Friday Friday Features Weekly Linky Party 

Disclaimer: I wasn't asked to review this book nor compensated for the review. We read it as part of the Summer Reading Program that Arbordale offers. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Summer in the City - Week 1

Lauritzen Gardens
Happy Summer y'all!

Summer has officially started. MrC is now FREE of school till August 17th I think and has made it through the 3rd grade and will be advancing thru to 4th grade this year. He is turning into a kind and thoughtful young man who is really really good with little kids and it's been interesting watching his interest in all kinds of building type things. MissG is on her last FREE year before she enters her school years. She starts preschool in August 2 mornings a week and her schooling will continue for 20+ years if she decides to be a doctor. She has been saying that since last Sept/October before she turned 3! She told my chiropractor she wants to be a doctor of bones.

I thought I'd take a page from The Seasoned Mom and share some of the FUN activities we are doing this summer. Heck this might become a series! Hope she doesn't mind! There is so much that is shared online that is FREE and The Omaha Public Library is the very first place I check starting in April as I plan our summers.Everything else we do is planned around their activities!

So here we go:
Monday I had no kids since it was a holiday. 

Tuesday we began our day at the YMCA. MissG still had 3 days of swimming lessons to go. She was so excited about going to lessons and swimming and playing with MrC and then she would get stiff as a board and fight the teacher. It's a simple introduction to water and swimming so it was to help them get comfortable getting their face wet, moving in the water, lying on their back and crawling in the water. She does ok until the teacher asks her to lie back and put her head on the teachers shoulder and then she stiffens up. She did make it through the lesson though. Afterwards I had a chiropractor appointment. We were early about 40 minutes so we stopped at the park to play for a while. 
Wednesday ~ MrC got a cool surprise when a former daycare mom stopped by during naptime with a HUGE drawer thing filled with Knex, the motors and even a solar panel to make the motors run. After nap we went to our first library activity & both kids had a blast! M.E.S.S. stands for math, engineering & science stations. This weeks activity involved racing balloons, creating a gas with baking soda and vinegar to blow up a balloon, etc… The kids loved it & I loved that it worked for both kiddos.

Thursday my bathroom was getting painted in the morning. YAY! This has been a 6 year battle with my landlord. His mother was dying and all his time and resources were tied up in her care till about a year ago. My bathroom floor was falling apart and the wall behind the toilet was having issues. My landlord is 70 now and he told me he didn't expect it to be such a HUGE job (It's been over a month and my litter box is still in the living room till the baseboard is finished - hopefully in the next week or so). I love my new padded flooring and the ADA toilet which is higher than most. I have a bad hip and it has helped me with my pain so much! YAY

Anyway, the kids and I went to Lauritzen Gardens on Thursday morning to get out of the house. We wanted to go see The Amazing Stinko which is supposed to be a rare plant that rarely blooms. It's supposed to be the stinkiest too & I wanted a picture of them holding their noses.... Entrance to the gardens was supposed to be free until it bloomed - you guessed it - it bloomed 3 days before we went. I decided to go ahead and pay to get in so the kids could see the trains, childrens gardens, the new observatory which is a huge rainforest. There are bananas and a huge trumpet shaped carniverous plants in there! (It eats bugs!!)
(I will be posting all my pictures of Lauritzen gardens as well as review in another post. )

Friday ~ MrC wasn’t feeling very well in the morning. He seemed very tired and Ms G was doing great (no swimming lessons!). I put her down for a nap because we were going to the farmers market to listen to music that night and so she could dance. You guessed it – the music was over by the time we got there, we went home and her Dora book wouldn’t work even with new batteries…. Friday was a very difficult day & it didn't help that no one got to play with the knex because they were left out the night before. You see we have a little rule - if I have to put them away they are MINE for 3 days.... They'll get them back on Monday.

Saturday night: Mr C and his mom took me to see Peter Pan at The Rose Theater. That was fun and it was nice to actually do something non work related for a change.  Review

What did you do last week?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer in the City ~ Starts NOW!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.... This month I've been working on Summer Plans for the kids. For those of you don't know I have a very very small "daycare". OK, it's more of a shared nanny between 2 families. I have a 3.5 year old girl who is FINALLY getting past her tantrum stage and getting better in control of her behavior and will start prek 2 mornings a week this fall. Then I have a 9.5 year old boy who I love as though he's my own. He is a super neat kid (ok, both of them are). This year for the first time in 3 years I have kids who are both old enough to have fun doing the many busy activities I have planned & we don't have to work around a strict nap schedule (I hope!!!).
I thought I'd share some of the activities on the calendar in June/July & you all are welcome to steal some of them for your own family.... Basically what I do is list everything I think they will be interested in and then let them take turns choosing which activity they want to do.
1) Both families are providing YOUTH memberships to the YMCA this summer. Youth memberships are $15/month and right now until 5/31 I believe the $49 registration fee is being waived. Check with your local YMCA to make sure it's still available and take advantage of the opportunity for summer swimming. Otherwise, they have open swimming for $5 most days. We are planning to swim 2 times a week so the Youth Membership is the best option for us. (search by zipcode to see where a Y is in your area)
2) The library here in Omaha offers an amazing summer program - be sure to check in your area. This years theme is Build a Better World. There are all kinds of STEM related activities - science, math, reading, mazes, robots, building, etc and most of it's for 4 but I think Gianna (3.5) will get to do quite a bit. We also get to go to Shakespeare on the Green and the Planetarium for Storytime & there's stuff for the grown ups too! Activity Guide:
Also, the Public Schools here have the Sherwood Public Library Program. The kids get to do crafts, electronic learning, storytime, and receive a free book each week. We've done this for the last 5 years and I will call the schools directly if I can't find info on it. The kids love it!
3) Kid's Stewardship has a great Summer Vacation Survival Kit available for $6.99. It's designed by 2 teachers and provides 20 activities for the kids to work on without an adult telling them what to do all the time. I think this is something we'll use on rainy days and those few days I don't have anything on the calendar. Learn more at: (Affiliate Link)
New Playground at Hanscom Park, Omaha, NE
4) Lastly: we always take bikes to the playground to ride, find new playgrounds (Omaha has hundreds of them), there's Hummel Park, Zorinsky Lake, Fontenelle Forest, the NEW Hanscom Park playground (above), etc... picnics, free movies at Regal Theatres, both Kids Bowl FREE and Kids Skate FREE programs, and there is so much more!
June Calendar - amazing huh? This just shows the library schedule nothing else!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy May Ya'All! A little Update.....

I'm sure some of you have noticed that I'm not blogging regularly anymore. I'm sure some of you are thinking - "Really?"lol. My life has gotten busy as can be & I thought I'd take a few minutes, say Hi and catch you all up on what I'm doing.

- Still doing the daycare thing. Yeah, only 2 kiddos for now and always open to taking another. Gianna is now 3 1/2 (where has the time gone?) she's like my own - only I get to hand her off and sleep all night without a foot in the face or listen to all the arguments old and new on why she doesn't want to go to bed.
- Still have Connor who is now 9 1/2. What a neat kid he is! He loves math, science and this summer the Omaha Public Library is hosting the Summer Reading Program and focusing on STEM projects and activities for the kids. He will be in his element!

- School Ends 5/26 and my NaturalTherapyPacks selling season so far hasn't shown signs of slowing down (usually it ends the beginning of April) so I will be continuing to sell on base and at the Gifford Park Neighborhood Market as well as on Etsy. Just go ahead and click the link (you know you want to!)
- This year I've added a new product to NaturalTherapyPacks - Migraine/Sinus Pillows are for those who suffer from Migraines, Sinus Pain and Congestion, Colds, Flu, Sleeplessness and or just like the smell of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Rosemary all combined into Herby Goodness. These have been selling like hotcakes as have the lapsized rice packs which are unscented and can be used HOT or COLD to help you cool down this summer!
- Kids and I have joined the YMCA. They have this wonderful thing called a Youth Membership for $15 a month! Swim lessons for members are $56 and I can't wait to see Gianna swimming like a fish and Connor jumping off the diving platform. Think he's finally going to do it? We'll see!

You can find me regularly posting on (I'd love to see you more regularly that the few times I make it to my blog):


 Stay in touch! Cheers!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Book Review: The Joyful Business Planner

A little background:
The 4th quarter of 2016 my business took off. A few of you may know that I have a small business called NaturalTherapyPacks.  I create hot/cold therapy packs, sinus pillows, migraine pillows and kids heat packs loaded with lavender buds. I have a small shop on etsy and also sell locally on the air force base,  craft shows, thru 2 chiropractors offices, several shops and also via Facebook. I spent all of last fall sewing like crazy as I kept running out of product at my local shows. This happened 4 times between September and December!

I've come to the conclusion that I need to get more organized and I also need to start considering and praying about the future of my little business. I have for the first time started hearing back from customers that I've helped the last 3 years regarding how much my therapy packs have helped them with their chronic pain, migraines, allergies, etc.

A Guesstimating Tool for Organizing your Small Business
by Kate Martin, CPO
ISBN: 978-1539141815
Paperback: $16.95

Recently I was asked to review The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin and while it's a small book I'm finding this book is exactly what I'm needing. I am not a organized person at all but the format of this book is carefully laid out with worksheets, calendars, tips and to-do suggestions. 

The book is set up in 5 sections:
Part One is your business overview
- Your business plan, yearly goals, business at a glance and policies/procedures
Part Two is Marketing
- How are you going to tell everyone about the services and products you have available?
Part Three is Yearly Tracking
- What is your actual budget for the year?
Part Four is Monthly Calendars. 
- Quarterly Reviews, see what went well and what you need to work on.
Part Five is Wishlists & Aspirations
- Worksheets showing customer wish list, my wishlist, website changes, etc... 

I loved that I didn't feel overwhelmed and that the information is presented in small chunks that are easy to read and understand even when I'm tired, my mind isn't functioning so well and/or I'm so busy I'm being pulled in 6 different directions. Another thing I liked about the book is that I can see how it would be helpful for tax time since everything will ideally be done at the end of each quarter and organized in a easy to find format. 

This book could easily be used for more than the Creative Entrepreneur. It will be helpful for anyone considering starting a business or already in business (and struggling like I am) & it will be useful for a variety of businesses.

Find Kate at: Organized Joy (her website) and on Facebook

Disclaimer: GivingNSharing was asked to review The Joyful Business Planner and provided a copy of the book. I did not receive any monetary rewards or other items. Thanks for reading GivingNSharing!