Celebrating National Organic Month with Coors Organic (Review)

Did you know that September is National Organic Month? People all over Canada are encouraged to celebrate by supporting a growing organic sector, transparent food source and a source of food that is sustainable in the future. This can be done by farmers, retailers, schools, chefs and by you as well. 


Growers and advocates can open up their farm or garden to the community and offer guided tours. Retailers can invite an organic farmer for an education event so customers can meet and discuss organics with the person that grows their food. Schools can plan a school fieldtrip to an organic farm or organize a local organic school breakfast and even invite a local farmer to their school to talk to their students. Chefs can offer a chef tasting event and expose your customer to locally produced organic ingredients or source organic wines and beers. 


There are many ways to celebeate and participate. I've been cooking with local fresh fruit and veggies this last month, making soups and baking yummy treats for my family and we can absolutely taste the difference between eating local farmer's produce compared to buying them in the store. Not only are the fruits and veggies fresh, but nothing is added to them, which makes me feel a lot better when creating meals for my family and I to enjoy.





To help celebrate National Organic Month, we were sent a four pack of Coors Organic to taste and let me  tell you, if you're a fan of beer, but trying to integrate healthier alternatives into your day-to-day lifestyle, this would be the beer to try. With only 90 calories and 4 carbs per 355ml can, Coors Organic, taste delicious and is certified organic being made with only three ingredients, organic hops, organic barley and water. That's it! It's light and refreshing with a crisp and clean finish. 

My husband and I are both on a low carb diet, so getting to try Coors Organic was such a treat. We were able to have a delicious beer that not only taste great, but doesn't make us feel bloated or feel like we're consuming too many carbs. 

Coors Organic is available at your local LCBO, The Beer Store, or can easily be purchased online and delivered right to your door via ShipandSip.ca. Single cans retail for $3.05 or purchase a 12 pack for $27.50. For more information about Coors Organic, check them out on Instagram. 


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

Adventures of Pip on Nintendo Switch (Videogame Review & Giveaway)


 Welcome to the next evolution of the classic side-scrolling action platform game! Journey with Pip as he sets out to save Princess Adeline from the evil Queen DeRezzia. Pip’s quest begins when he learns he can absorb the Bitstream from his fallen foes to evolve and devolve between three different forms – single pixel, 8-bit, and 16-bit! Each transformation provides different powers that Pip can use to solve environmental puzzles and blast through enemies. Pip’s tale leads players through five different stylized worlds with up to 10 hours of epic adventuring gameplay.


Inspired by classic platformers, Adventures of Pip basks in a world where players can defeat a huge 32-bit boss as an 8-bit character or even as a single-pixel. Pip’s foes have weaknesses and strengths — pinpoint these, swap to the right form and take them out! 




MY REVIEW
Of course, my child was extremely excited to review a new video game for the Nintendo Switch, so into the game we went! The Adventures of Pip was a fun game that had a nostalgic feel to it, reminding me of childhood times playing Mario Bros trying to save the Princess. The 2D game which offers multiple levels per world, was enough of a challenge for both of us to enjoy and want to keep us coming back for more.  My son definitely loved the concept of the game and was intrigued by the ability for Pip to transform into a pixel and back again. The music and graphics were super fun and the controls were simple to navigate. 



When playing the game, you can locate treasure chests that contain bits or hearts that act as currency to purchase upgrades to Pip and his abilities. My son loved the concept of the bits and enjoyed locating them to see what was inside. The overall graphics and game design were super fun and offered lots of enjoyable game time on the Nintendo Switch. Although it had a similar feel to other 2d leveled games, we enjoyed it and would recommend it to other fellow gamers!

 Adventures of Pip is now available on Nintendo Switch as of September 10th and you can also find the game on other consoles, like, Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii and Apple iOS. For more information about Adventures of Pip and other videogames from TicToc Games, be sure to head to their website 


GIVEAWAY!
In honor of Adventures of Pip now being available on Nintendo Switch, we've teamed up with TicToc Games to offer two readers, US & Canada, a chance at winning a copy of the game on Nintendo Switch. To enter the giveaway, comment below sharing your favorite childhood videogame you loved playing. 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received  Adventures of Pip on Nintendo Switch at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.


Are You Afraid of the Dark DVD Review & Giveaway

 


Re-imagined for a new generation, Nickelodeon’s all-new version of ‘90’s kids’ cult classic Are You Afraid of the Dark? arrives on DVD. The three-part limited series follows members of an entirely new Midnight Society, who tell a terrifying tale of the Carnival of Doom and its evil ringmaster Mr. Top Hat, only to witness the shocking story come frightfully to life and prepare for an adventure beyond their wildest nightmares.


 


MY REVIEW

Fall is right around the corner and as the weather gets chilly and the leaves start to fall from the trees, that means one thing, spooky season is near! My family and I absolutley love Halloween and all that comes with it. Being a kid that was born in the 80's and raised in the 90's, there were lots of spooky shows that we would watch, from Tales from the Crypt to Goosebumps, one show that stuck out was Are You Afraid of the Dark. When the Midnight Society got together to share their spooky stories, we listened and watched and loved every bit of it. 


When I first heard they were remaking the show I was very excited. I watched this show faithfully when I was younger, so I had high expectations and I was not disappointed. My kids and I tuned in to watch the remake on Nickelodeon last year and we loved it. When we got the opportunity to receive the limited edition series, that was released on DVD August 25th, I gladly accepted so that we could add the show to our Halloween movie collection. What I loved about the remake was how great a job they did with introducing the newest members of The Midnight Society, keeping it updated to fit with this generation, while also honouring the original. Mr. Tophat was a great villian as we were being told the story of the Carnival of Doom. It leaves you wanting more and my kids and I are excited that there will be more episodes coming soon. 


What it also left me with is wanting to watch some of the original shows again and showing my kids,which I've found thanks to the official Are You Afraid of the Dark Youtube channel that includes full episodes of the show we loved to watch as kids. Are You Afraid of the Dark is now available on DVD in stores now!


GIVEAWAY
We've teamed up with our friends over at Paramount Home Entertainment to host a giveaway to our Canadian readers to win a copy of the DVD for you to enjoy at home. To enter, leave a comment sharing your favorite horror/thriller television show, that's it!


Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received  Are You Afraid of the Dark on DVD at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

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Pretty In Pink Blu-ray Review & Giveaway

Newly remastered from a 4K transfer supervised by Deutch, the Pretty In Pink Blu-ray includes a new Filmmaker Focus with the director and, for the first time, the film’s isolated score track from composer Michael Gore. Also included is the previously released featurette “THE LOST DANCE: The Original Ending.”
 
Teen sensations Molly Ringwald (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club) and Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo’s Fire) drew rave reviews for their starring performances in this timeless love story. Andie (Ringwald) is a high school girl from the other side of town. Blane (McCarthy) is the wealthy heartthrob who asks her to the prom. But as fast as their romance builds, it’s threatened by the painful reality of peer pressure. The film also stars Jon Cryer, James Spader, Harry Dean Stanton, and Annie Potts and features a phenomenal new wave soundtrack, including the title track by the Psychedelic Furs.


MY REVIEW

"I just wanna let them know that they didn't break me." -Andie  


One of my favorite quotes from the movie, Pretty in Pink. It's been 34 years since we first met Andie, Duckie and Blane on the big screen. Although technically I was a toddler 34 years ago, this movie is definitely a classic and part of my childhood. So when we got the opportunity to review the movie that's now available on blu-ray, I couldn't resist. 


I remember watching this at least a couple of times a year when I was growing up and every single time I was Team Blane. I guess that was the teen hopeless romantic in me because now as an adult rewatching the movie, I'd 100% be Team Duckie. He was the guy who was always there for Andie and always had her back whether she knew it or not. His style was unique and his dance moves were smooth and let's not forget his iconic lip sync performance of Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. A classic and unforgettable scene that made me love Duckie even more. 


Rewatching the movie after not seeing it in years just put a smile on my face and I even got my 15 year old interested in the movie. With the movie now available on blu-ray, the picture is more crisp and clear and the blu-ray also features the original trailer as well as the original ending of the movie that includes The Lost Dance. 


GIVEAWAY:

We've teamed up with our friends over at Paramount Home Entertainment to offer one of our Canadian readers a chance at winning a copy of Pretty in Pink on blu-ray. To enter the giveaway comment below sharing if you were or are Team Blane or Team Duckie! 


Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received  Pretty in Pink on blu-ray at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Blue’s Clues and You DVD Review & Giveaway

 


Nickelodeon’s hit interactive preschool series Blue’s Clues & You! will skidoo onto DVD, featuring four exciting episodes from the show’s debut season. The series follows beloved puppy Blue and live-action host Josh (Josh Dela Cruz) as they invite a new generation of preschoolers on clue-led adventures and solve a puzzle in each episode.

In the Blue’s Clues & You! DVD collection, fans can help Josh solve games of Blue’s Clues as he tries to figure out what Blue wants for a snack, what present she wants for her birthday, what she would like to do on her playdate and more. The DVD will also include special episodes from Josh & Blue’s VLOG and eight bonus American Sign Language flashcards. Blue’s Clues & You! is now available from Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment exclusively at Walmart.


MY REVIEW
If you are looking for an educational, colorful and musical TV show for your little one to watch, I highly recommend Blues Clues & You! This show always lights up my Braxton's face as soon as he hears the thems song he is dancing and ready to solve Blues questions! (Check out Instagram stories for my little guy's reaction to the theme song, super cute!)


Whether they're counting oranges on trees or mixing different colors, it's always something new with Blue and it really does leave the problem solving up to your little one, allowing them to start thinking outside the box and getting them excited for the answer.


We play the Spotify playlist songs to Blues Clues &You throughout the house and we have watched all the episodes... several times. My husband and I actually enjoy watching the show as well! We know all the songs and we get excited to see new episodes just like Braxton does. Sometimes it is on a little later on in the night on Treehouse and we’ll even let him stay up a little later to watch new episode. We don't get tired of the show like we do some other kid shows, its so fun, colorful and it makes Braxton dance and he gets so excited, we love that. We absolutley love Blues Clues & You and glad we have the DVD so Braxton can watch over and over again. 

A clue! A clue! You can enjoy these tasty cookies while joining beloved puppy Blue and her friend Josh on clue-led adventures! BLUE'S CLUES & YOU is available now on DVD!




GIVEAWAY
Blues Clues and You is now available on DVD. We've teamed up with our friends over at Paramount Home Enertainment to give one copy of the DVD away to one Canadian reader. Comment below sharing your little ones favorite character from the show Blue's Clues, past and present characters! 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received  Blues Clue & You on DVD at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.


Gunsmoke Movie Collection DVD Review & Giveaway

 


GUNSMOKE: RETURN TO DODGE: James Arness returns in his most famous role as Marshal Matt Dillon in this exciting Western drama. Now retired, Dillon is stabbed in a fight with a band of thieves. When word reaches Miss Kitty in New Orleans, she returns to dodge to be by his side. However, danger strikes again as an old enemy from his past is released from prison and vows to settle the score.

GUNSMOKE: THE LAST APACHE: Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) is back, in a story of revenge, deceit and family conflict. Dillon, now retired, is summoned to the ranch of a long-lost love, only to find it in smoldering ruins after an apache raid. He is shocked to learn of a daughter he'd never known - and that she was kidnapped in the raid. Now he must save her from the fierce renegade apache warrior who stole her away!

GUNSMOKE: TO THE LAST MAN: Back like a bullet, ex-Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) finds himself in the middle of a bloody range war. With vigilante ranchers on his back and a headstrong daughter on his tail, Matt takes up the fight to restore peace with his won brand of law and order in this action-packed western thriller.


MY REVIEW

We were so excited to receive a copy of the movie collection of Gunsmoke. My husband is a huge fan of westerns, so I knew he would love to watch the entire collection and I wasn't wrong. He's now going to give his review for you all. So here's the hubby, Ken, reviewing Gunsmoke Movie Collection:

As a fan who grew up with westerns every weekend when my dad was relaxing, I was pretty excited to be able to review the Gunsmoke Movie Collection. Sitting down in the early morning with a cup of hot black coffee and watching how such a short time ago the world was wild and dangerous, yet simpler. The portrayal of the characters is done well, you can feel the grit of the old west. 


Return to Dodge:
With a released bad guy ‘Will Mannon’ holding a grudge against Retired Marshal Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty, he sets his sights on dodge, finding Miss Kitty with out the protection of ex-Marshall Dillon. Who is off searching for a way to free his friend ‘Jake’ of erroneous charges. When he makes it back to Dodge there is no hope for ill fated ne’er do-well.  


The Last Apache:
A Letter from an old friend leads Marshal Matt Dillon to a ranch where he finds the ranch raided and his friends daughter, Beth, has been taken. That alone would be enough for any western man to go on the hunt, however little did he know that Beth was his daughter, who was conceived while he had amnesia. His new found fatherhood left him desperate to find the Rouge apache “Wolf” who had his daughter. 


To The Last Man:
My favorite of this group; I mean a father daughter team chasing down cattle rustlers/ vigilante gang in the wild west, whats not to like? The bloody feud that ensues is captivating even for the younger audiences, my 15 year old son was captivated and intrigued throughout the movie. 


GIVEAWAY

GunSmoke Movie Collection is now available on DVD. We've teamed up with our friends over at Paramount Home Enertainment to give one copy of the movie collection away to one Canadian reader. Comment below sharing which movie you'd watch first to enter to win!


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

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Prepping For Back To School with Popular Book Company Canada (Review)

For some of you, this school year has already started and for some, school will be starting this week or like my kiddos, who are all participating in Virtual Learning this year, school will be starting full time next week. And like all of you parents out there, I'm nervous. This school year will be different than previous years. Those that are attending in person will have to take extra safety precautions due to Covid-19 and that alone for teachers, staff members, parents and kids is stress enough. While those of us keeping our kids home worry about what our kids will be missing out on not being with classmates and not having access to their teachers in person to answer questions or explain in detail subjects they don't understand. Whatever decision you made for your kids, just know that you're doing the right thing for you and your family. 


The last six months has changed all of us so much and in preparing for the school year to start up again, my kids were sent a huge package from our friends over at Popular Book Company (Canada), a company that offers quality workbooks and other learning materials for preschool, elementary and high school children up to grade twelve. Their workbooks include just about every subject, including the Canadian Curriculum that includes; Math, English, Social Studies and Science in both English and French. 



My kids are starting grade ten, grade eight and grade one this year, so we were sent the Complete MathSmart Grade Ten, FrenchSmart Tutor Grade Eight, Complete Canadian Curriculum Grade Eight, Complete EnglishSmart Grade Eight, Complete MathSmart Grade Eight, Complete ScienceSmart Grade Eight, Complete EnglishSmart Grade One, Complete ScienceSmart Grade One & Two and Complete Canadian Curriculum Grade One in both English and French. Our package came in perfect timing as we get ready to prepare for the upcoming school year. 



The Complete MathSmart Grade Ten covers quadratic equations, analytic geometry, primary trigonometric ratios, trigonometry of right triangles and more. Complete MathSmart is a comprehensive, curriculum-based workbook series which helps students develop a thorough understanding of mathematical concepts and master the essential skills. Concise explanations with examples are provided at the beginning of each chapter, followed by abundant exercises so that students will build a solid math foundation in preparation for their higher education. My oldest absolutely loves math, so when we got the package, he dived right into the book and started working on some of the math problems and was excited because it also refreshed his memory from math in grade nine. 



My middle child is starting grade eight. He was sent five different workbooks to help him get prepared for the school year. The first, Complete Canadian Curriculum Grade Eight, this workbook has been revised and updated to cover the five key subject areas: Math, English, History, Geography, and Science. The curriculum-based units are designed to ensure that your child understands the concepts and masters the necessary skills. With the vivid illustrations and interesting activities, your child would find working through Complete Canadian Curriculum both fun and rewarding. 


Next is the Complete EnglishSmart Grade Eight is a curriculum-based workbook series that provides lots of practice for developing and improving English skills. This workbook is a new edition and includes online audio clips (Go to Download Centre for the audio clips.) to help children learn phonics. Concise explanations with examples are provided before practice to guide children along. This workbook covers listening comprehension, grammar, reading and writing. 


Complete MathSmart Grade Eight workbook provides plenty of interesting and systematic practice for developing and improving your child’s math skills. Throughout this workbook, your child not only understands the concepts better and master the necessary skills, but they will also be able to apply them in solving math problems in real-life situations. This newly updated edition includes QR codes that bring students to educational videos online to help support their learning process. Complete MathSmart covers all five strands of the Math curriculum: Number Sense and Numeration, Measurement, Geometry and Spatial Sense, Patterning and Algebra, and Data Management and Probability. It also includes math tips and hints to help your child better understand math skills that are required for grade eight. 


Complete ScienceSmart Grade Eight  is a workbook series covering the essentials of elementary science. It provides students with succinct information and engaging activities to help them master the basic concepts of science and technology, relate science and technology to society and the environment, and develop the skills needed for scientific inquiry. The fun and manageable exercises and activities not only reinforce what children have learned at school but they also help stimulate children’s interest in learning science. The workbook includes fun experiments you can do with your kids, cool science facts and trivia questions as well. Science is my middle kiddo's favorite subject, so that was the first book he opened and started working on when our package arrived.


The last book for my grade eight child was FrenchSmart Tutor Grade Eight. I absolutely love that my kids are learning French and that it's taught in schools out here in Canada. I've even picked up a few sentences here and there and I hope to continue learning as my kids learn. FrenchSmart Tutor is a user-friendly curriculum-based workbook series for children who want to learn or improve their French skills. It covers all three strands of the French curriculum: Oral Communication, Reading, and Writing. Children are guided along by the Smart Tutor in the workbook, who provides explanations, definitions, and examples throughout the activities. Each unit begins with a brief tutor session followed by four pages of exercise. The workbook includes a comprehensive review section as well as accompanying audio clips that help children develop their oral and listening skills.



For my youngest attending grade one, this year will not only be different for her staying home, but also because she's no longer in kindergarten and so that's more learning and less playtime. We were sent four books, the first one being Complete Canadian Curriculum in both the English and French version. The Complete Canadian Curriculum covers the four key subject areas: Math, English, Social Studies, and Science. The curriculum-based units are designed to ensure that your child understands the concepts and masters the necessary skills. With tons of vivid illustrations and interesting activities, your child will find working through Complete Canadian Curriculum both fun and rewarding. 


Next is the Complete EnglishSmart Grade One workbook. This new edition workbook is a curriculum-based series that provides ample practice for developing and improving English skills. Accompanying online audio clips (Go to Download Centre for the audio clips.) are included to help children learn phonics. The workbook includes consice explanations with examples before practice to guide children along. The systematically-designed activities cover the key areas of learning – phonics, grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. 


Lastly we have the Complete ScienceSmart Grades 1-2, a workbook series that covers the essentials of elementary science. It provides students with succinct information and engaging activities to help them master the basic concepts of science and technology, relate science and technology to society and the environment, and develop the skills needed for the scientific inquiry. The fun and manageable exercises and activities not only reinforce what children have learned at school but they also help stimulate children’s interest in learning science.


I'm very impressed with all of the workbooks we were sent. Not only will this come in handy for my kids that are all participating in virtual learning, but my three nieces who are the same age as all three of my kids, will love these workbooks too. They'll be doing virtual learning this school year too and we plan on getting the kids together a couple times a week so that they can have a classmate their age to do classwork and projects with. 


What I love most about all of the workbooks is that each one has an answer key at the back of each book. Not only will this help my kiddos out when checking their work, but it will also help me as well. All of the books from Popular Book Company (Canada) are affordable and just in time for back to school, you can save 15% on their books and if your order is over $50, the shipping is free. Fore more information about Popular Book Company (Canada), check them out on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received  the above mentioned workbooks from Popular Book Company (Canada) at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Mighty Oak DVD Giveaway #MightyOakMovie


 

In celebration of the release of the movie Mighty Oak being available on DVD today, we've teamed up with our friends over at Paramount Pictures to offer our Canadian readers a chance at winning a copy of the movie! 


Mighty Oak tells the story of Gina (Janel Parrish, “Pretty Little Liars,” To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), a band manager who struggles after losing her brother/lead singer (Levi Dylan, 12 Mighty Orphans) in a fatal car accident while traveling to a gig. A decade later, Gina meets a 10-year-old music prodigy named Oak, played by newcomer Tommy Ragen, a real-life prodigy whose music inspired the screenplay. Oak seems to possess the same qualities as Gina’s late brother, inspiring her to pull her life back together and try to reunite the band with Oak as its new front man. 



GIVEAWAY!

To enter the giveaway, be sure to comment below sharing with us your favorite band. That's it!

Mighty Oak is also available on digital platforms | Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, FandangoNOW, and more. For more information on where to purchase the DVD or how to purchase a digital copy, be sure to head to Mighty Oak's official website.


Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star on PC (Videogame Review)

 

One day, while following the trail of a shooting star, Nuki happens upon Sune, a brooding young man who closely resembles the hero from his favorite childhood storybook. The meet-cute soon develops into an intense and passionate affair. However, it is one marred by dysfunction.

Each encounter between Nuki and Sune provides new insight into the pair’s histories and will ultimately determine the fate of their tumultuous relationship. Explore Nuki’s five senses during the couple’s intimate moments, focusing in on sensations that will open up new dialogue options and guide the story down branching paths toward a multitude of possible outcomes.

As Nuki learns more about Sune and the psychological demons that draw a stark contrast between his boyfriend and the man of his dreams, he must contend with his own issues, such as idealization, boundaries, submission, and his sense of self-worth. A semi-autobiographical story inspired by the life of sole creator Lorenzo Redaelli, Milky Way Prince -- The Vampire Star aims to deliver a realistic portrayal of romance complicated by mental illness.


MY REVIEW

 As a fan of storyline games, this is by far one of the most interesting I’ve seen. The game mechanics work very smoothly, and the different details that hint towards later outcomes (the life of a star poster for example) leaves room for theorizing which is what I love in a game. The ratio of 3D-2D is good, although the 3D backgrounds do look a bit bland and empty. Hopefully a later update can fix that.

The character designs are very creative and very well done, as well as the music choice for each scene. Each background track fits perfectly with the situation at hand. I will say, at first when the first task/puzzle came up, I was a little confused on what to do, but after a while it got more clear as I continued. 




I also love the fact that this was a game that had the same sex couple as our main characters. For a parent of a kid that is in the LGBTQ+ community and who also absolutely loves anime, this game was a hit for my oldest. Overall Milky Way Prince: The Vampire Star is a well made game with a good storyline and interesting details. I would recommend this to those who like anime games, storylines and secrets as well as plot twists.

Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star is now available for $9.99 (US) on Windows PC and Mac via Steam, the Epic Games Store, itch.io, and the Humble Store. The game features English, French, Italian, German, Russian, and Spanish language support.

To learn more about Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star, please visit the official website

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received  Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star on PC at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Back To School with Raincoast Books (Book Review)

 Summer is slowly coming to an end and with the uncertainty with the upcoming school year, I'm sure all of you parents are pretty stressed out right now, as am I. I'm chosing to keep my kids home to participate in distance learning and I'm fortunate enough to be able to be home to help them adjust. I know all of us are in different situations, so whatever decision you are making, there is no judgement as this is a stressful time for everyone right now. 



As I'm getting ready to prep for distance learning, I received another amazing package in the mail from our friends over at Raincoast Books to help get my six year old, Bailey, excited about the upcoming school year. One of the things we've done in our household with all of our children is have them read for 20 minutes before bedtime. It's a tradition we all love as we're all advid book readers in my home. We were sent two newly released children's books and one upcoming book to add to my six year old daughter's bookshelf. She's getting quite the collection and she absolutely loves to read. She's still learning, but gets better every day.




By: Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrasted by Frank Morrison
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing 
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
ISBN: 9781547602612
Pages: 32

Summer is over, and this little girl has got the school spirit! She hears the school spirit in the bus driving up the street - VROOM, VROOM! - and in the bell sounding in the halls - RING-A-DING! She sings the school spirit in class with her friends - ABC, 123!

The school spirit helps us all strive and grow. What will you learn today?



By: Zetta Elliot, illustrated by Noa Denmon
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
ISBN: 9780374307417
Pages: 32

Summertime is filled with joy--skateboarding and playing basketball--until his community is deeply wounded by a police shooting. As fall turns to winter and then spring, fear grows into anger, then pride and peace.

In her stunning debut, illustrator Noa Denmon articulates the depth and nuances of a child's experiences following a police shooting--through grief and protests, healing and community--with washes of color as vibrant as his words.

Here is a groundbreaking narrative that can help all readers--children and adults alike--talk about the feelings hiding deep inside each of us.


By: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
ISBN: 9781452137797
Pages: 80

If You Came to Earth is a glorious guide to our home planet, and a call for us to take care of both Earth and each other.

This stunning book is inspired by the thousands of childrenSophie Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children.

MY REVIEW
I had a blast reading along with Bailey as we read and explored each book and loved them all for many different reasons. Not only is each book beautifully illustrated by talented artists, each story was beautifully told as well. In the book, I Got the School Spirit, we see the main character excited about her first day of school. This was emotional for my six year old since we are doing distance learning this year, but she still loved the book and loved seeing the main character go through her first day of school and she can't wait until she is able to attend school in person again. 

Next we read A Place Inside of Me. This was another beautiful written story focusing on a young black boy dealing with all of his emotions that comes as a young black kid in America. Now more than ever, I really hope that schools worldwide have this book in their library available for all kids to read. This hit so close to home for us, as many of you know, we have family in the United States right now fighting for equality. This book teaches young kids everywhere to love themselves, to treat others as they would want to be treated because at the end of the day, we are all human beings. 

Lastly, If You Come To Earth. This book is set to be released in September and is inspired by children worldwide. This book is beautiful. Each page is filled with beautiful illustrations of people of every race, homes around the world, animals, the many different types of transportations and more. This book was a great book for Bailey to read. It not only helped her improve her reading, but this also helped with counting, finding the difference and similarities in different animals, people, places, things. Another great book that I know your littles will enjoy. 

Big thanks to our friends over at Raincoast Books for sending these amazing books our way to add to our library. For more infromation on where to purchase, be sure to head over to Raincoast Books.

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

Q&A with Patrick Canning & Book Giveaway

The book is called Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning a suburban thriller sent in the late 1980's that should appeal to fans of Stranger Things and Big Little Lies. I'm a fan of both television series, so I'm pretty excited about reading this story.


Hawthorn Woods centers on Francine, who is reeling from a catastrophic divorce she just can’t seem to leave behind. She retreats for a two-week stay at her sister’s house in the picturesque town of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place to sort through her pain and finally move on with her life—but the tranquility doesn’t last long.

Beginning with a complete stranger throwing a drink in her face at her own welcome party, Francine soon discovers the supposedly idyllic suburb is hiding a disturbing number of mysteries. She quickly changes her vacation prescription from one of relaxation, to one of investigation, as she tries to figure out which of the smiling neighbors has a secret they’d kill to keep?

A perfect page turner to escape into during the summer months, Hawthorn Woods is sure to keep readers guessing at what’s happening behind closed doors.

I'm excited to share with you lovely readers of Just Us Girls, a Q&A with Patrick Canning, the author of Hawthorn Woods. Following the Q&A we're also hosting a giveaway for both our USA and Canada followers. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment sharing your favorite thriller book!




Q&A WITH PATRICK CANNING, AUTHOR OF THE NEW DOMESTIC THRILLER HAWTHORN WOODS


Question: Tell us what Hawthorn Woods is all about.

Patrick Canning:
The book is set in the summer of 1989 in a small, seemingly peaceful suburb of Chicago. It centers on Francine, who is recovering from a messy divorce. She decides to stay at her sister’s house in the suburb of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois for a change of scenery. What she thinks will be a peaceful two weeks to unwind and heal quickly turns into anything but. It all begins when a total stranger angrily throws a drink in Francine’s face at her welcome party. She soon uncovers even more mysterious people around the neighborhood and a lot of sinister stuff happening behind closed doors. The deeper she digs, the darker the secrets get.


Q: What inspired you to write Hawthorn Woods?

Canning:
Hawthorn Woods is a real neighborhood where I grew up in Illinois during the 1980s. I wanted to revisit the magic of summer during that era, and also give readers a mysterious page-turner where they can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next. While a lot of the setting is based off the actual neighborhood, all of the more horrifying mysteries are pure fiction. At least, that I know of…


Q: Who will Hawthorn Woods appeal to?

Canning: I think anyone who appreciated the mystery and drama of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and the 80’s nostalgia of Stranger Things will enjoy losing themselves in the quaint, creepy town of Hawthorn Woods. Readers who look for a twisty plot and dynamic characters in an interesting setting, will find plenty to like in Hawthorn Woods.

Q: Hawthorn Woods is a domestic thriller, but your other two novels, Crytopfauna and The Colonel and the Bee were both different genres. What made you want to write a thriller this time around?

Canning: The genres I write in are definitely eclectic. I basically choose whatever story I think I can write best at the moment. But whether it’s a thriller or a historical adventure, what’s important with fiction is creating a book that people can use to escape, explore, and grow.


PATRICK CANNING is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee (2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his dog Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.

Hawthorn Woodsis now available through all major booksellers and online via Amazon.
For more information, visit www.patrickcanningbooks.com and connect with Patrick Canning on Instagram.

SheaMoisture Body Self-care Kit

Self care, something we as adults sometimes forget to do in the chaos of life. Although this pandemic has been scary, stressful and uncertain, it has allowed us to slow down a bit and not take life for granted, as you never know what tomorrow may bring. Most of us right now, who are parents, are deciding whether or not to send our kids back to school. I'm fortunate enough to be able to work from home and have chosen to keep my kids home to attend distance learning. If you chose to send your kids back to school, no judgement here. Everyone's family situation is different and you have to do what's best for you. 

Between worrying about the upcoming school year and Covid-19 in general, I have to say all of my time these last few months have been focused on my kids, making sure that they're doing okay mentally as they watch the world they knew, change around them. To say its been stressful is an understatement, as I'm sure all of you know. So I was very excited to receive a SheaMoisture Body Self-care Kit package in the mail last week to keep my spirits high and brighten up my day and it did just that. Included in the kit were a few SheaMoisuture products from their new collection:



If you follow us on Instagram, you'll remember us posting in our stories sharing what was all inside the kit as well as our last post talking about the products we received. I took the weekend to pamper myself and enjoy a little me time by using each product. What I love about SheaMoisture is that each of their products are aimed for certain skin types, which is located towards the end of their label. 


SheaMoisture African Black Soap Soothing Body Lotion is a soothing blend of African Black Soap and organic Shea Butter helps calm and hydrate dry skin. Oats and Aloe Vera help soothe. The oats help sooth skin while obsorbing excess oil, the aloe moisturizes dry sensitive skin and Vitamin E helps protect the skin. Aimed for people with troubled skin, apply to damp skin for moisture retention for best results. I absolutely loved this lotion. Not only is the smell divine, but I loved that although the lotion is thick, it's not heavy on your skin and it's not greasy. I use this lotion on my feet after I shower, to help with my dry/cracked skin and so far I am loving how it hydrates my feet. 

SheaMoisture Hemp Seed Oil Calm & Comfort Body Lotion takes your body care routine to new heights with this indulgent, creamy moisturizer. Specially blended with Hemp Seed Oil, Aloe, and Chamomile, this lotion will envelop your skin in soothing moisture. Hemp Seed Oil helps, all skin types, by moisturizing your skin without clogging your pores. Aloe, can help treat burns, acne and dry skin and Chamomile helps relieve itching by skin iritations.  When opening up this lotion and smelling it, you automatically get a calming sensation. The lotion is aimed for all skin types and is best used after a bath or shower, smooth lotion all over skin. For a calming ritual, use as a massage cream. 

SheaMoisture African Black Soap with Shea Butter Bar Soap is a soothing body bar soap made from palm and plantain peel ash and a combination of various oils which have been used in Africa for centuries to balance oily skin. SheaMoisture's African Black Soap combines Cocoa Pod Potash, Coconut Oil, and Shea Butter and should be used daily to help balance dry skin. African Black Soap, an honored beauty secret from traditional and age-old recipes in West Africa, is considered natural soap and designed to help calm dry-irritated skin. It is an ideal soap bar for skincare and a favorite of the house of SheaMoisture. The soap leaves skin soft and refreshed. A bar soap that leaves you feeling invigorated, cleansed and soothed is an ideal daily companion. I've used this African Black Soap over the last few days and it not only smells heavenly, but I love how it lathers up and how my skin feels clean and refresh. A soap I think I'll be buying for myself from now on as I'm loving how it makes my skin feel. 

Lastly we got to try SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Skin Renewal Recipe Body Scrub. This body scrub is aimed for dry, stressed skin. Renew your skin with this gentle, illuminating and exfoliating body scrub that buffs away dead skin and dirt while keeping skin conditioned. Its luxurious texture, infused with Manuka Honey, Yogurt and Vitamin C, leaves skin soft, smooth and new. By applying a small amount to palm, massage gently into skin using a circular motion, concentrating on rough and dry areas. Let the scrub sit on your skin for one minute to help condition and then rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry. I absolutely love the smell of this body scrub and love how it makes my skin feel refreshed after using it. 

Each of these products can be found over on SheaMoisture's website and can also be found in retail stores where SheaMoisture products are sold. This was such a great kit to receive to help me carve out some me time and rejuvenate before summer is over. 

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

BOOMERANG Fu For Xbox One (Videogame Review)

 


Slice and dice your friends with boomerangs in this action-packed party game. Join a crew of your favorite foods as you grill, chill and spill your enemies. Discover ridiculous power-ups and stack them together in deadly combinations to become the ultimate Boomerang Fu master.



Local Multiplayer Chaos
Roast and toast your friends in lightning-fast rounds of cute physics combat for up to 6 players. Perfect for parties!

Simple Controls
It only takes one stick and three buttons to pulverize your pals. Deflect attacks, recall dropped boomerangs, and curve your throws around corners to become a powerful boomerang assassin.

Stack Power-ups Together
Get the upper hand with a ridiculous range of powerups like explosive boomerangs, disguises and telekinesis. Then stack your power-ups together to form outrageous combinations!


MY REVIEW
We loved this game! My oldest child downloaded this game and instantly enjoyed the graphics and the background music. We thought the character choices were very creative and fun! This game has a 10+ rating due to the killing that is involved. Of course my child, took interest in the different killing graphics that varied with each character including many options to eliminate the opponent. 

The controls were simple to navigate and easy to learn as a beginner and there are different modes to switch up the gameplay including free for all, teams, and golden boomerang. The multiplayer option gives opportunity for a lot of fun for family and friends to enjoy together.



One suggestion my child had was different skins for each character to allow the player to customize their character. It would also be even more fun if the game included more goals or items to achieve as well as other challenges to complete to move up levels in the game.

Overall, this is a great game that offers fun and entertainment! It put us in a good mood and we enjoyed laughing at the characters and graphics. We would definitely recommend this game to fellow gamers!

BOOMERANG Fu is out today, August 13th on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I received Boomerang Fu on Xbox One at no cost for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.
 

Atomicrops for Xbox One (Videogame Review)

 

Modern city life got you down? Well, you've just inherited your late uncle's farm, time to pack your bags and start fresh in the peaceful countryside. What could possibly go wrong? A nuclear apocalypse, that's what. Now you're in a hellscape wasteland defending the last surviving source of sustenance - your crops. And every mutant wants a piece. Do as any self-respecting farmer would: Farm. Marry. Kill.
Atomicrops is an action roguelite farming simulator. Armed with your hoe, a watering pail, and a simple peashooter, you must grow mutated crops - atomicrops - to feed the local town… and make a hefty profit. Defend your land from the mutant pests and bandits that invade nightly to ravage your fields. Court and wed townsfolk to fight and farm by your side. Gather upgrades and rescue captured farm animals to increase productivity, profits and power. Develop your farmhouse for persistent bonuses across playthroughs to help secure your place on the leaderboards.


MY REVIEW
If you're looking for a cute indie game to play, Atomicrops would definitely be on my top ten. It gives me a sense of nostalgia because of Terraria's similar style of NPCs, bosses, and mobs. But, some sort of Stardew Valley vibe with the farming aspect as your main goal. I absolutely love the currency in this game! As well as the options to 'haggle' or flirt with the shopkeepers. As a grinding based game, it hits all the right spots to keep you intrigued and for the player to keep playing. Will definitely continue to grind out this game.

KEY FEATURES:
FARM. Grow mutant crops and reap a bountiful harvest to sustain humanity… and make a huge profit.

MARRY. Woo and marry a kindred spirit from the local town to fight and farm alongside you.

KILL. Fight bizarre post-nuclear pests starving for a piece of your crops at night. Hunt and forage in dangerous surrounding biomes for seeds and loot during the day. Turn your enemies into fertilizer to increase your crops quality.

UPGRADE. Explore the far reaches of the biomes to find useful relics of farms long past. Discover rusty farm equipment, antique gardening tools, and tomes of how-to garden guides to increase your farming power. Spend your money in town to upgrade your gun and abilities. Permanently upgrade your farm house for bonuses that persist across playthroughs.

BEFRIEND. Recruit an entourage of pig pals, chicken chums and cow colleagues to automate farming tasks. Cultivating atomicrops is a tough job, you'll need all the help you can get.

I had such a fun time playing this game from start to finish and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new game to play. Now available, you can find Atomicrops available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC! 

For more information on Atomicrops, be sure to head over to their website.

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

The Secret Garden Review & Giveaway

 


When Mary Lennox's parents suddenly die, she is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, on his remote country estate deep in the Yorkshire moors. While exploring, she discovers a hidden magical garden. 

MY REVIEW
Imagination, the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful. That's exactly what you get when you enter the world of The Secret Garden. I was very excited when I got the opportunity to watch this with my family recently. Based off the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it's a remake from the 1993 movie that I remember watching as a kid.

Mary is a young girl who's sent to live with her Uncle Archibald Craven in England after her parents died. Her uncle is the husband of her mother's deceased sister. When she gets to her new home she's expecting to be treated like royalty, having servants do as she says, but gets a rude awakening that she is no longer the one in charge and there are rules to follow, one being to stay out of her uncles way unless he asks to see her. She's shown her room by the housekeeper, Mrs. Medlock, and her first night in her new home, she hears screams and noises that she's not use to. When she is awaken she meets Martha, a worker in the home that is helping get Mary set for the day.


As she explores the property of her new home, she meets a dog and names it Gemima. One day while walking around the property and playing with her new friend, we see that Gemima gets stuck in a trap and hurts its paw. Mary helps Gemima out of the trap and as Gemima tries to head back home, Mary follows, climbing over a wall and finding The Secret Garden. I'ts a beautiful place that her aunt use to spend time in. 


Along the way she meets Martha's brother, Dickon, and the two become friends exploring the garden together. Dickon tells Mary that Gemima is a boy dog and also helps with the dog's hurt paw. They leave the dog in the secret garden for the day to see if she will better the next day.


One night she decides to follow the screams and noises she hears at night and is suprised to find a young boy in a room, named Colin. He is her cousin. She learns that he can't walk and the two talk about their mothers and about how Colin's dad has become a bit lost since the death of his wife and they blame the house for both her death and for Colin being in the condition that he's in.


Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of Mary's parents and their relationship with her. It seems as though Mary's mom was not well and soon we find out that she was depressed, grieving the loss of her sister, as they were close and best friends. 


When Mary and Dickon head back to the secret garden, they see that the dog is feeling a lot better and Mary has a plan to bring her cousin Colin to the garden as well. There the three decide to rename Gemima after Dickon's dad and name him, Hector. The three kids share stories and when talking about his mother, Colin is upset and wants to go home. 


We see Mary try to help her cousin use his imagination throughout the movie and have him talk about his mother, reliving both their mother's memories of their time together in the garden, even when he doesn't want to. She finds the room where all her late aunt's clothes, jewlery, pictures and letters are and brings Colin in there, but it's too much for him and he gets upset.


On the way back from the garden one day Mrs. Medlock shows her one of her aunts pearl necklaces and she is caught and gets in trouble for going into that room. She tells her she will be going to boarding school the next day and that night Mary runs away to the garden where Dickon and Colin find her and try to convince her that she can't just hideout in the garden forever when they notice smoke coming from the house. Running towards the house she runs in to get her uncle and she tells him that Colin is safe in the secret garden. After exiting the house the two, along with Dickon and Mrs. Medlock head to the secret garden where Colin is.


This was such an amazing movie that just warmed my heart, just as it did when I saw the 1993 version of the movie. I remember imagining that I had a secret garden to go to when I wanted to to escape the world and to be honest, I wish I had a secret garden to go to with the way the last few months have been. Since I don't I've made our backyard a place to go and enjoy the sun and relax. I love spending time outside, listening to some good music or reading a nice book. 


You can now enjoy The Secret Garden at home on digital and on-demand as it was released, Friday, August 7th and I'm excited to share that we've teamed up with Elevation Pictures to offer one of our readers (Canada only) a chance to win a digital Itunes/Apple TV copy of the film to enjoy. To enter all you need to do is comment what's been your secret garden these last few months with us all living in a worldwide pandemic.

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

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