Read and Grow with DK Canada (Review & Giveaway)






As we're nearing the end of May and beginning of June, summer is getting closer and closer and I'm so excited for it. One of the things I love about living in Canada, we get all four seasons and get to appreciate and enjoy each one.

With the warmer weather, my youngest is excited to explore all the things outside in our backyard, especially butterflies and flowers thanks to our friends over at DK Canada. We were sent I Can Grow A Flower and How Does A Butterfly Grow. Both books are filled with colorful vibrant pictures that captured my daughter's attention immediately and had her wanting to learn more about growing flowers and had her wanting to go outside to look for butterflies.



A first garden story board book that reveals how plants grow.

Teach your child how a tiny seed grows into a flower in this fascinating garden story. Through illustrations and photography, sixteen delightful board book pages reveal the wonder of how plants grow as you follow the story of a mystery seed. How was it planted? What does it need? What will it become? As days go by, it's hard to imagine the tiny shoot will ever grow into a big, strong plant. Could it magically become the tallest of all the garden flowers? The book includes very simple gardening projects and facts about garden creatures (which ones are good for plants, and which ones are bad), and children will find out what a pollinator is, and how to attract pollinators to the garden. The perfect gift for aspiring gardeners.



My little girl absolutely loved the book I Can Grow A Flower. All of the pretty colorful pictures showing her step by step how to plant and grow a flower. She is excited to plant a few flowers of her own and take care of them. I absolutely love how excited she got while I read the book to her. The book is 18 pages and is such a quick read, the colorful pictures keep your little kiddos interested and excited to see how to take care of flowers and to see how they grow.


From egg to hungry caterpillar, to beautiful, fluttery butterfly, this picture book with flaps follows the complete life cycle of a butterfly. With sturdy board book pages and exciting flaps to lift, it's the perfect life cycle book for young children.

This captivating nature book will entertain and educate preschoolers. They'll love finding out about each life cycle stage, as they follow the fascinating pictures and listen to the fun and friendly text.

Beautifully illustrated, the book starts by showing all sorts of colorful butterflies. Then through the story of the swallowtail, children learn how a butterfly grows. Close-up photos show the mommy swallowtail laying her eggs, the tiny caterpillar hatching and growing, and the pretty butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. The fully grown swallowtail's scaly, brightly patterned wings lift up from the page as fluttery flaps, and more flaps reveal three other caterpillars transforming into incredible butterflies and an amazing moth. As well as the butterfly life cycle, the book includes other butterfly facts, such as how they feed, how they spread pollen, and how they are similar and different to moths.

Perfect for reading aloud, and with stage by stage pictures that tell the butterfly story, every page is easy to follow, and the combination of exciting, crystal-clear photos and charming artwork will hold the interest of the very young.
With a friendly approach to life cycle science for young learners, How Does a Butterfly Grow? is an informative picture book to share and enjoy. It makes a great educational gift.


How Does A Butterfly Grow was such a great read. Again this book is about 18 pages filled with colorful pictures that show from beginning to end the process of a caterpillar growing from an egg all the way to a beautiful majestic butterfly. My daughter absolutely loved learning about butterflies and loved that the book had fun flaps that she could lift up and had more information about how a butterfly grows. 

If you are looking for books for your kiddos, be sure to check out both I Can Grow A Flower and How Does A Butterfly Grow, both are filled with colorful pages that will keep you child intrigued to learn more. 

I'm excited to be partnering up with DK Canada and will be offering both these books to one Canadian reader of Just Us Girls! Comment below sharing which book you think your child would love to read!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above books at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie Blu-ray (Review & Giveaway)


Power up with six incredible teens who out-maneuver and defeat evil everywhere as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers! But this time, the Power Rangers may have met their match when they face off with the most sinister monster the galaxy has ever seen – Ivan Ooze. Unleashed upon the good citizens of Angel Grove after six thousand years of imprisonment, Ivan Ooze strips the Power Rangers of their powers! Now they must journey to a distant planet to learn the secrets of the ancient Ninjetti. Only then will they become empowered with strength enough to restore their Morphin ability and defeat the evil Ivan Ooze. Join the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and their new Ninja Megazord as they fight to save Angel Grove and the world from evil!




MY REVIEW

We're a household that has loved the original Power Rangers since before my hubby and I even knew one another. We both loved the show and the movie as kids (my hubby still has a couple of the original action figures his aunt saved and sent to him about ten years ago) and once we started a family of our own, we introduced our kids to Power Rangers and my oldest is still fan-girling over them, lol.

With the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie on blu-ray, you can enjoy your childhood movie again as it's restored and looks great on our smart tv. Filled with all the cheesy 90's sayings, you can re-watch this movie with your entire family like we did. With the movie on blu-ray it not only has a better picture quality, but it also features the original featurette, the theatrical trailer and a look back at the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and also has interviews with some of the cast and crew sharing their experience and how before the movie even was thought of there was so much hype for one and so much talk about one.



This movie brought back so many memories and I love that it's now on blu-ray, so we can enjoy a piece of childhood anytime we want.

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will be available for purchase on blu-ray Tuesday, June 4th, but until then we are excited to team up with The Shout Factory to offer one reader a chance to win their very own copy! Just comment below and share with us who was or still is your favorite Power Ranger!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie on blu-ray at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.


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Birthday by Meredith Russo (Book Review & Blog Tour)



Title: Birthday
By: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: May 21 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-12983-3
Pages: 336

Two kids, Morgan and Eric, are bonded for life after being born on the same day at the same time. We meet them once a year on their shared birthday as they grow and change: as Eric figures out who he is and how he fits into the world, and as Morgan makes the difficult choice to live as her true self. Over the years, they will drift apart, come together, fight, make up, and break up—and ultimately, realize how inextricably they are a part of each other.



MY REVIEW

This book was written beautifully. From the first page to the last, I was hooked. This is spot on when the cover says this is a love story 18 years in the making.

We open the story celebrating both Morgan and Eric’s 13th Birthday. They’re at a water park celebrating with their family and one another. They've been sharing their birthdays together since they were born in the hospital. They're best friends.

From the beginning we’re hooked with Morgan letting us know that he feels like he’s trapped in the wrong gender’s body. Afraid to come out to not only his father, but his best friend Eric, we read immediately that Morgan is hurting. He’s had so much happen to him at a young age and to have to go through figuring out who his true self is, is a lot for someone, especially at his age and feeling like he has no one he can talk to. They're from a small town. The town and the townsfolk in this story reminds me of the town from the movie, Varsity Blues. If you’ve watched the movie before, you’ll know what I’m talking about, Where football is life and if you’re lucky enough to get a scholarship to make it out of the town, you’re golden.

Eric can tell that his best friend is hurting. He can tell that something is wrong and Morgan hasn’t been himself for a while. He wants to be there for him because he truly loves Morgan. 
What Morgan doesn't know is that although it may appear that Eric is living the perfect life, he has problems going on in his household as well. His parents are fighting, he's living in the shadow of one brother who's made it out of their small town playing football and another brother who couldn't handle their dad anymore, so he took off. With all of this going on, trying to live up to expectations and also trying to be there for Morgan, Eric is overwhelmed. 

Both going through difficult times, but still wanting to be there for one another, they end up playing their "parts" in their small town with Eric being in a relationship, trying to be the perfect son for his dad and Morgan rejoining the football team again and pushing down his true self until it just becomes too much and one ends up in the hospital.

I absolutely loved how the book was written, each chapter being in both main character’s point of view, taking turns per chapter, celebrating another birthday. You can tell how much they truly care for one another and how much has changed between them throughout the years. One thing that hasn't is their love for one another. 

This book gave me all the feels. Being a parent of a child that is part of the LGBTQ community, it broke my heart to read how much pain and hurt Morgan was going through, how alone he felt and how much he struggled to try to be something he wasn't. This book has already been recommended to my friends and family and my husband is currently reading it as I think everyone should. It will give you a young person's point of view when they feel like they aren't in the right body. How it's not a choice and how much pain and hurt they're going through until they can finally be their true self. Again, I loved every single page of this book and give it five stars, if you get a chance head to wherever you buy your books from and grab a copy of Birthday. 


 

I'm so excited to be apart of the Birthday Book Tour hosted by Raincoast. I am one of two of the last stops for this tour, once you're done reading this review, please be sure to head over to Fab Books Reviews to check out their review and thoughts on Birthday. For more information on Meredith Russo, you can check her out on her website, Twitter and Instagram

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Birthday at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.


Family Game Night with Mattel #ReconnectWithGames (Review&Giveaway)




Spending quality time with family and friends and spending less time on my phone has been a goal of mine over the last couple of years. It's been a challenge, but I've noticed a big difference with my family when we put our screens down and make time for one another face to face. Whether it's our weekly movie nights or our family game nights, we try to make sure that when we are all together, we're actually all present as there is a big difference.



I was super excited to get the opportunity to work with Mattel and their #ReconnectWithGames movement, bringing family and friends together with their iconic board games. We were sent Pictionary, Balderdash and Mad Gab a few weeks ago, right before Easter and I have to say it was so much fun having the family over for Easter dinner and playing some awesome board games afterwards. Besides taking video and pictures, all phones were down and we got to really hangout and play with one another and it was wonderful.



Balderdash game features interesting, unbelievably true content and categories about people, words, initials and movies. Once a category is chosen and the question is read, each player writes down what they think the definition or answer to the question is. The real fun begins when the phony definitions are read along with the legitimate ones! You will be sure to laugh out loud as you hear the hilarious and creative definitions! Balderdash is retailed for $24.99.

We've played Balderdash a few times before over the last few years and it is always a good time. It was awesome to see the game revamped with a new look. It's so much fun to play and to see what everyone comes up with and if they're bluffing or not about their definitions. 

It’s not what you say, it’s what you hear. In Mad Gab, teams work to decipher groups of unrelated words into real phrases before time runs out. It’s a game sure to spur laughter as friends speak this strange language and then say the answer without even knowing it! Mad Gab is retailed for $14.99.

Mad Gab was an awesome game to play as well, kind of reminding us of the childhood game, telephone, Mad Gab is all about what you hear. It's so much fun to play together, we couldn't stop laughing at one another.




The last game we received was Pictionary. Pictionary has always been a favorite of mine, but I haven't played in years, so seeing how the game was revamped and how updated it was for the whole family to play was pretty awesome. Be sure to head to our Instagram stories to see how we had everyone from kids to adults playing together.

In this quick-draw classic, the guesses can be just as hilarious as the sketches, making it the perfect way to get the party started. Pictionary now includes two erasable markers, boards for drawing and an updated Pop Culture category of clues. Year after year, since 1985, Pictionary has proven itself to be the ultimate party game! Pictionary is retailed for $29.99.

There's nothing like hanging out with your family and friends and being in the moment. Life is short, enjoy one another's company and take a break from that screen every once in a while, everything will still be there when you decide to pick up your phone and check out what's new on social media.

We're really excited to team up with Mattel again to offer one of our Canadian readers a chance to win Mad Gab and Balderdash. Comment below and share with us what board game you love playing with your family and friends.

Balderdash, Mad Gab and Pictionary can all be purchased at Indigo, Toys R Us, Walmart and Amazon and for more information about these games, be sure to head over to MATTEL!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned card games at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.


Mattel Games For Your Next Road-Trip! (Review & Giveaway)




Around this time of year, the husband and I usually already have a plan on what we want to do with the kiddos for our summer trip. We try to go somewhere together at least once during the summer to spend some fun quality family time with each other. We try to go somewhere that's affordable and not too expensive as all of our kiddos are summer babies. This year we're looking for something that's not too long of a drive because last year we did a road trip to Alabama for a family reunion and that took about 3 days to get there with stopping at night to sleep. This year we want to go somewhere that's a little bit closer to home and not as expensive as our oldest is graduating from grade eight and we're having family from out of the country come visit.

As a mom of three, I try to pack everything we need during road trips to make sure our drive and hotel stay is as comfortable as possible when we're away from home. This includes bringing lots of snacks to munch on, a few toys for my youngest to keep busy, electronics to entertain all three kiddos with movies and music they can watch and listen to while we're on the road and also games to play while we're staying in the hotel. This gives us something to do at night before falling asleep instead of just watching the hotel TV or being on our phones the entire time.

We love bringing card games with us as they don't take up much room and can easily fit in my purse to play just about anywhere.

If you follow us on Instagram, I shared a few weeks ago in our stories that we were sent some card games and board games from Mattel. They sent us Skip-Bo, Uno and the newest game, Dos. Uno and Skip-Bo has been a family favorite for years and we play it at least once a month with the kids when we have a family game night.



Skip-Bo is the ultimate sequencing card game from the makers of UNO! The Ski—Bo “wild” cards break up static situations and may be played as any number. Use these cards wisely, the first player to deplete all of his or her Skip-Bo stockpile cards is the winner. Skip-Bo is retailed for $12.99.

UNO is the classic card game that’s easy to pick up and impossible to put down! When you’re down to one card, don’t forget to shout “UNO”! The first player to rid themselves of all the cards in their hand before their opponents wins. It’s fast fun for everyone and retailed for $8.99.

UNO has a new best friend, DOS! In this fun game, two is more important than one and numbers are king! Just like UNO, DOS is a race to get rid of your cards before your competitors do. The first person to 200 points is the winner! In a fun twist, now when you’re down to two cards, don’t forget to yell “DOS!”. DOS is retailed for $8.99.

All three games have been played a number of times with the family and the newest game DOS is pretty fun to play. We had a blast learning the rules and playing the sister game to UNO with the kids. It's a bit different than UNO, but just as fun and entertaining.  It's become one of our favorite card games to play with the kids and I can't wait to take it with us during our trip this summer. 



We're excited and have teamed up with Mattel to offer one of our Canadian readers a chance to win all three card games to enjoy and take with your family on your next road trip. Comment below and share with us your go to essentials to pack when going on a road trip.

UNO, DOS and Skip-Bo can all be purchased at Indigo, Toys R Us, Walmart and Amazon and for more information about these games, be sure to head over to MATTEL!



Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received the above mentioned card games at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Deponia Doomsday PS4 Game Review




The flying city of Elysium has fallen, hideous Fewlocks inhabit the junk planet Deponia and Rufus is apparently the sole (human) survivor. He sees only one way out: Deponia must be blown up.

Terrified, Rufus awakes in his bed. Was that a dream or a vision? Fortunately, Rufus can check this right away as the oddball Professor McChronicle has detected several time anomalies. It's rather handy that Rufus finds a time machine and immediately sets out to duly muddle up the past, present and future.

Features:
  • Dystopia vs. Utopia mixed with Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar – Welcome to Deponia Doomsday!
  • Fan service: Some players called for an alternate ending and another part to the Deponia saga
  • Goal, Lonzo, Lotti and even Wenzel – Reunions with familiar and over 70 new oddball characters
  • The player discovers the floating city of Elysium for the first time
  • With around 20 hours of gameplay and over 100 game backgrounds, Deponia Doomsday is the largest and most elaborate Deponia game so far




MY REVIEW
We had the opportunity to try out the last game in the Deponia trilogy series, Doomsday on Playstation 4. Being that my family and I absolutely love playing video games, I thought it would be great to give this one a try as it seemed pretty cool and looked interesting.



When first starting the game, we are starting off in a dream scene that also doubles as a tutorial on how to move around the game. I thought this was really helpful as I had never played any of the other Deponia games before, so having that dream scene in the beginning was helpful. Once this is completed the next scene we see the main character, Rufus, as he is waking up from the dream and confused as to what just happened.



As we started to play this game, I loved how it was easy to pick up items to add to your inventory and use them throughout your adventure to help you along the way. Not only that, but some items you pick up to add to your inventory will work together to help you move along.

Not only was the game fun to play, it was easy to figure out and play being that it was a lot of point and clicks and I loved the look of the animation throughout the game. The dialogue throughout the game was pretty entertaining as well as Rufus is pretty funny and a bit sarcastic as are the other characters we run into during the game.

We took our time playing this game and enjoyed every bit of it. There were definitely times where we had to repeat some of the chapters as some of the puzzles were kind of tricky to get through and I have to admit I got stuck a few times, but we managed to get through it.  Doomsday definitely made me want to start from the beginning of the Deponia series so that I could get to know the full story line and characters a little better.

Deponia, Goodbye Deponia and Deponia Doomsday will be available for $19.99 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam. As a celebration of the completion of the series the Deponia Collection will be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with all four installments for $39.99.

Deponia on Nintendo Switch will cost $39.99. The other adventures of Rufus and Goal will be available soon on Nintendo Switch as well and we will keep you posted once the other games are available on Nintendo Switch.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Deponia Doomsday on PS4 at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.


Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection DVD (Review & Giveaway)




Awesome Alphabet Collection is being released during Sesame Street’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The anniversary will celebrate the timeless lesson that Sesame Street has always taught: everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, is equally deserving of respect, opportunity, and joy. Throughout 2019, families everywhere can join their favorite furry friends in celebrating Sesame Street’s past, present, and future with a nationwide road trip, celebrity- and fan-fueled social media campaigns, new social impact initiatives, and a star-studded primetime special that will kick off the show’s 50th season.

The spectacular A-Z compilation has a runtime of two hours, including Elmo’s Amazing Alphabet Race as a bonus feature. ABC-themed printable activities round out this one-of-a-kind collection. 




MY REVIEW
I've been a fan of Sesame Street since I was a little girl. My first memories of watching the show was eating breakfast and watching the show at my grandparent's house. These are memories that I treasure as they are no longer with us, but are thought of every single day and the fact that Sesame Street reminds me of my time as a little girl hanging out with my grandparents will forever hold a place in my heart.

Not only does it remind me of my childhood, but I also made sure that it has been a staple in our household with our kids. From my teens to my toddler, all three of my kiddos have watched and loved Sesame Street and if it's on TV, you can bet the older two still sit down and watch and enjoy it, even when they don't mean too because they're too cool, lol. 

The Awesome Alphabet Collection is filled with two hours of Sesame Street fun with our favorite characters we've grown to love. I love that they still have celebrity guests on the show and it's fun to watch my four year old sing along with Elmo and friends as they go through the alphabet. 

Below is a Sesame Street printable pack which includes alphabet cards, bookmarks, coloring pages, drawing activities, letter tracing activities and an alphabet search. Each printable supports Sesame Street lessons encouraging children's learning about the alphabet and language. Click on the image below to download your free printables. 



This title is available on DVD on May 7, but can be purchased for pre-order at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and other e-retailers.

I'm excited to offer our Just Us Girls readers (US & Canada only) a chance to win your own copy of  Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection. Comment below sharing your favourite character from the show! To double your chances, we're also giving a copy of this DVD away on our INSTAGRAM page. Be sure to head over there to enter as well.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection on DVD at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

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