Thursday, 8 August 2013

Family Friday #4: Strawberry Shortcake: Meet Cherry Jam

Wow! Has it ever been a long time since my last Family Friday post! I couldn't believe when I saw the last one was posted on May 31st. I'm glad to be back at it finally. Life just got the better of fact, I feel like I've been playing catch up pretty much all summer. Luckily I've seemed to get a better hold on this day by day thing :)

This weeks featured book is:

Strawberry Shortcake: Meet Cherry Jam by Amy Ackelsberg & Illustrated by Laura Thomas

Meet Cherry Jam! (Strawberry Shortcake)Age Range: 3 - 5 yearsGrade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (June 14, 2012)
Cherry Jam moves to Berry Bitty City in this installment of the Strawberry Shortcake books. Cherry Jam is a famous singer wanting to step down out of the spotlight and focus on making some real friend, instead of just being surrounded by her fans.
I was really surprised to see Strawberry Shortcake books after so many years! I remember playing with the figurines and watching the cartoon when I was a little girl. I'm so glad Emily liked this one! It's a quick read, just a few lines on each page. Just perfect for us! It was a cute story of true friendships and introduces you to the gang, a couple of which I hadn't read about before. I think kids everywhere love stickers, so an added bonus to this book was the full page of stickers! 
The illustrations are eye-catchingly bright, as you can see in the picture, and held us to the story. Sometimes Emily gets bored of the pictures in a book and will just get up and play while I continue to read. That wasn't the case with this one. I can't wait to read more of Strawberry and the gangs' adventures together. 
I would recommend the Strawberry Shortcake series as a good one to read with your kids. We will definitely be keeping our eyes out for some others.
Happy Reading!
Source: I received this book as a prize from a blog giveaway.  
To Buy: Website  *  Amazon B&N

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Review: 200 Best Ice Pop Recipes by Andrew Chase

Disclosure: I received the item mentioned in this post at no cost, in order to conduct my review. Review appeared first on my other blog, Living As We. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

My very first experience with Robert Rose books was with their book 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More. I have relied heavily on that book for the last few years for some flavourful additions to our family meals.

I knew I had to check out more Robert Rose cookbooks! In searching their website I came across a wide variety of books available. Books from pretty much every walk of life, and for almost any occasion you can think of.

I had the pleasure of reviewing 200 Best Ice Pops Recipes by Andrew Chase. It came just in time for a nice, hot week ahead of us too. Talk about perfect timing!

This book shows you how to create 200 delicious, nutritious and easy homemade ice pops! The author goes into great detail about the freezing process for a number of different styles of ice pops, and shares some invaluable tips.

I loved that most of these recipes are combinations, or flavours that I didn't even know could be used in ice pops. With spins on the classics and so many new flavour combinations I don't think we'll get bored of ice pops any time soon. The use of fresh ingredients is music to a mothers' ears. I have felt guilty in the past about feeding Emily store bought popsicles because of the lack of nutritional value and the high sugar content.

Ice pops are a great way to keep cool. They have pretty much been a vital part of every childs' summer, for decades. So now I'm happy to say that I can still provide Emily that same childhood memory, without all the guilt that came with the massive amounts of sugar in the storebought version.

Andrew Chase gives readers some important insiders tips on how to prepare a multitude of ice pops. One of my favourites is his section dedicated to Less-Drip Ice pops, specifically designed to be less messy. So helpful for kids!

I can't wait to try some more of these tasty sounding treats! Even if it takes us through the winter, I would love to eventually try making each flavour at least once. :)

Would you like to try making some for yourself? Here's the recipe for Carrot Orange Less-Drip Ice Pops! If you give it a try, come back and let me know what you thought!

Carrot Orange Less-Drip Ice Pops

Orange Carrot Less-Drip Ice Pops, page 204, Less-Drip for Kids
Makes about 3 cups (750 mL)
9 to 12 ice pops

Unless your kids are carrot lovers, just call these orange ice pops — they’ll never know the difference. The pops are bright orange, sweet and a good healthy treat, especially on a hot day. 

Tip: Freshly squeezed juice is always best, but you can also use juice in cartons or from concentrate. 

 * Blender
 * Fine-mesh sieve

1 1⁄2 tbsp unsweetened gelatin powder 22 mL
2 cups orange juice, divided 500 mL
3⁄4 cup chopped carrots 175 mL
1 cup water 250 mL
3 tbsp granulated sugar 45 mL
2 tbsp honey 30 mL

 1. In a large measuring cup, sprinkle gelatin over 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) orange juice. Set aside until gelatin is softened, about 3 minutes.

 2. In blender, purée carrots, 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) orange juice and water. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

3. Place sieve over gelatin mixture and strain carrot mixture into it, pressing out as much juice and pulp as possible. Discard solids. Whisk until gelatin is thoroughly dissolved, about 1 minute. Whisk in remaining 1 cup (250 mL) orange juice. Set aside to cool.

 4. Give mixture a quick stir. Pour into molds and freeze until slushy, then insert sticks and freeze until solid, for at least 4 hours. If you are using an ice pop kit, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Excerpted from 150 Best Ice Pop Recipes by Andrew Chase © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Find Robert Rose Online:
Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Pinterest 

To Purchase this book:
Amazon  *  Barnes and Noble  

Friday, 21 June 2013

Blurb Blitz Tour: The Book of Phinn by Frank Anjakos

Welcome to my stop on the Blurb Blitz Tour! Author Frank Anjakos Will be awarding a $25 Starbucks gift card to a randomly drawn commenter, and a $25 Starbucks card to a randomly drawn host.  

You can follow the tour here. The more you comment, the better chances you have to win!!! :)


 Hey, Phinn here.

I'm an Angel.  A 16 year old immortal.  You don't know me.  You've never seen me.  Unless you're a dead teenager and you've been good and live in Southern California (narrows it down, huh?).  If that's the case, we've probably met.  See, I take the souls of good kids to Heaven, but I'm not allowed to interact with the living...which makes high school, being on the soccer team and writing for the school newspaper a little difficult.  As an angel, I play by the rules.

My "arch-frenemy" Iszn, the demon who takes the bad kids to Hell, breaks all the rules...which is why he's one of the most popular kids in school.  Iszn's hobbies are football, human girls, football, torturing me, football and evil....did I mention football?

Anyway, as an Angel I try not to have any direct contact with humans...well, that is until I met this girl.  Actually, until she met's kind of complicated.  That's one of the reasons I write my let you guys in on a world you probably didn't even know existed...until it's too late, anyway.

But this world does exist, and it's about to get complicated.  There are some deaths we can't explain and only Iszn and I seem to want to get to the bottom of them.  It's going to cost us...a lot, but we can't let it go.

So ya, enjoy the blog...comment if you want.  I read all the comments and try to respond.  And don't let Iszn freak you my knowledge, he's never actually eaten anyone's face.

Cya inside :)


Ok, let’s clear up a few things.

In most ways, Iszn and I aren’t the same. I mean we come from seriously different places and we have completely different jobs and ideas on what we’re supposed to be doing.

Iszn kisses humans. I don’t. There’s a reason I don’t, though. The breath of an Angel has an effect on people.

You know how in vampire movies sometimes a vampire will bite someone and they’ll be all “ooohhh…ahhh…” and they’ll get all squishy and stuff, instead of like screaming and slapping the guy and yelling “What are you doing? That hurts!”

Well, that’s what an Angel’s breath does to humans. It gives them the ‘swoon.’ That’s what we call it when a human gets squishy with Angel breath.

Now, Iszn, on the other hand…when he breathes on a human, they get the ‘charm.’ It’s darker and more serious than the swoon. When a human gets charmed, they’ll basically do anything the demon tells them to. They’re kind of owned. At least until it wears off.

Obviously, a swoon isn’t as bad as a charm. But I still think it’s wrong. It’s just not right to make someone feel something…anything…that they don’t, simply because you can.

Iszn doesn’t agree. Iszn is a big fan of “I can do it, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t.”

There’s another thing, too. Iszn is the most popular guy in school. He’s captain of the football team. He’s smart. He’s funny. He’s good looking, like only an Immortal can be. SOOOO, he has many many groupies…both guys and girls. They follow him around because he is impressive as…well…as Hell. There’s no other way to put it.

I suspect that he charms some of them, but I can’t prove it, and he won’t admit it to me. And quite honestly, I don’t even want to know.

But there it is.

So, I’m not rushing into kissing Ashley. I could never be sure she was kissing me because she likes me. I’d never swoon her. I think she does like me, though. And I know I like her.
If she couldn’t see me…if none of this was happening, then I’d eventually move on. As an Angel I’m master of my feelings, so I’d enjoy the falling in love, suffer over the fact that it could never be, and then let it go. I’ve done it before…I could do it again.

But for whatever reason, I don’t have to. She does see me, and for the first time since the dawn of time, someone that I like, likes me back.

Do you know how weird that is for me? 100% weird.

So you can understand why I don’t want to screw this up. You can understand how big a deal this is for me. You can understand why I lay in bed at night and wonder why all this is going on. And I think you can understand why I’m not taking Iszn’s advice.


Frank Anjakos lives in the Wild West, where he avoids writing about anything Western. Upon graduation from college in Michigan he was unwilling to get a real job, and so went to law school at the University of Arizona, where he studied listlessly, overcome by the desert heat, and obtained a law degree in the usual amount of time. After recovering from the stifling law school style of writing, he returned to his true passion, fiction…both writing and living it. Coerced by his son Finn, he turned away from adult science fiction and began writing children’s books. Now, if he could just get his son to actually read one.