Sunday, November 30, 2008

Queen of the Road: Book Review


When asked to review Queen Of The Road by Doreen Orion I was not too terribly excited, simply because a true life novel about life in a bus didn't really appeal to me. I truly figured reading Queen Of The Road was going to be a chore.

However, I quickly learned that I was VERY wrong. I started reading on a Friday at 10pm, figuring I would try to get a few pages in....I stayed up until 4am so I could finish. I could not put Queen Of The Road down. Not only is Queen Of The Road an interesting testimonial to a year in the life of two psychiatrists traveling the US in a bus it is HILARIOUS! Between the crazy bus mishaps and the interesting people they meet along the way, there were many times I laughed so much I started crying!

Doreen Orion captures the ups and downs of life with a witty humor I haven't enjoyed since Erma Bombeck. Doreen tells about how she "upends" her very material and career driven life to travel the states in a bus when her husband, Tim, has his "midlife crisis" As she journeys onward with Tim, she quickly comes to realize it is the journey and not the destination that makes a trip (and life) wonderful.


As a self proclaimed "princess" Doreen is very proud of her work from home job and her ability to multitask everything possible while not leaving her bed or even getting dressed. Yes, she is quite the indoor girl and obsessed with designer items, especially shoes.

But, as a complete surprise to Doreen, the bus trip turns into more than just a way for Tim to explore his inner "nerd" and get out into his beloved great outdoors; it becomes the key to opening Doreen's eyes to what is important in life.

In a witty, humorous and utterly lovable way, she gently reminds us of that lesson too. It is not the latest gadget, the greatest job or the hundreds of shoes that matter, it is the time spent with those we love, because that time passes all too quickly. An important lesson for us all during the Christmas season, when it is all too easy to feel pressure and stress to buy items for people instead of just enjoying the time together.

Doreen experiences changes in her worldview that are not earth shattering, but feel genuine and inspiring through her great connection with the reader. For anyone wanted to get away from the expectations of the world, reach outside the box of the "everyday" routine , Queen of the Road is a GREAT read with a lot of laughs along the way.

To get your own copy, go to Queen Of The Road; trust me, you won't be able to put it down.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Build A Bear Wii Giveaway

Oh here is something fun for us all this holiday season! Thanks to the Family Review network and The Game Factory, you can help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, a charity I have always loved since my days of taking orders in "the hole" at my hometown's Mickey D's.

How can you get involved? It's a win-win for everyone; you win on ebay by bidding on celebrity built Build A Bear Workshop bears and autographed copies of Build A Bear Wii games-your kids (young and old!) are going to love it.

The one of a kind bears were built by celebrities like Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott (yes, I was a 90210 fan; I LOVE Tori), the Jonas Brothers, James Gandolfini (whom my husband loves, Melissa Joan Hart, Bonnie Hunt, Mitchel Musso, Meaghan Jette Martin and others!

You guys get to score really cool gear and games made and autographed by celebrities while also sharing in the gift of giving to our most vulnerable, yet most important, of citizens: our children.

And you know what is even better? The Game Factory has a Build A Bear Wii game for me to give to one of my readers!! Whoo hoo!!! Here is some more about the new Wii game you could win:

An interactive family-friendly experience, Build-A-Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons allows families to share the interactive Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience using the Nintendo Wii™ system. Originally made for Nintendo DS, Build-A-Bear Workshop® entertainment experience allows up to four players to name, groom, feed and dress their bear using the revolutionary Wii™ remote. The game allows players to join their customized bear on adventures to explore islands, meet inhabitants and help furry friends.

Build-A-Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons allows full interaction between the player and her/his furry friend in a variety of 20 fun mini-games, from throwing Frisbees to ice-skating. Four islands season-themed wait to be explored and six treasure spots hold magical chests! Developed for children and families, Build-A-Bear Workshop® packs fun for the whole family and allows players to take full advantage of the unique features of the Nintendo Wii™ game system.

Build A Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons information:
*Rated E for Everyone

*1-4 players

*retail price of $39.99

*Available now online and at retailers nationwide like Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and others.

*Explore the four season-themed islands in the Adventure mode and play lots of fun mini games in the Playground mode

*Enhanced interactive experience with 20 fun mini-games, including ice skating, build a snowman, a croquet party, a cool ride on a ladybug, throwing a Frisbee, and jumping on a jump stick. Some mini games even include surprises!

*Fun for the whole family in single or multiplayer party games with up to four players.

*Discover six secret treasure spots hidden around the islands and dig up a magic chest with a hidden surprise just for each player.

*Collect bear medals, rewards and exciting items to use in players very own Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience. Choose from more than 80 items available for your furry friend!

*Natural and innovative game play takes full advantage of the unique features of the revolutionary Nintendo Wii™.

Doesn't that sound like a fun game to play with your children? I wish I could win!! If you want to win, leave a comment here or on my main blog page: Coordinated Chaos to win your own copy of the game. To make it fun, let me know if you ever worked at McDonald's or not in your comment. I worked for the golden arches from the age of 15 to 19 and had a BLAST while saving money for college.

Be sure to go check out the Ebay Auction to get involved and help out children this Christmas. And if you don't have the money to bid on anything, don't worry, simply leave a comment to enter my giveaway for a copy of Build-A-Bear Workshop® A Friend Fur All Seasons!


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Secret Mountain Publishing Group


I am a bookworm and always have been. I remember reading Les Misérables in high school and crying when it was over. I wanted more.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant with both of my boys, I started reading out loud whatever I was reading at the time, just for the fun of it. Now I get to read to them everyday and both my boys are already showing a love for books.

My 5 month old has a love for eating books so far, but my Toddler has advanced to wanting me to read stories OVER and OVER...and nothing makes me happier than to oblige him. We will read the same book as much as he wants, and when I start to tire, I will simply start asking him questions about the story-what colors are the characters, what are they doing, where are they going, who are they helping, etc. Books are WONDERFUL teaching and learning tools.

There is so much magic in reading to your children too; new places explored, imaginations expanded. I am so glad my boys are enjoying the family reading time as much as Bill and I do.

A new couple of books we have added to our reading time are courtesy of The Secret Mountain Publishing Group. The books we received from them are so stunningly illustrated with fanciful paintings and drawings that my sons are in love with just staring at the pages.

Many of the children's books from The Secret Mountain have won literary awards, and after seeing my Little Dude's reaction to the books, it is easy to see why. These are the new books we now read over and over and over...but lucky for me, the pictures are so beautiful and the stories so wonderful that I enjoy them as much as my son does.

We have read these three stories, and they became instant classics in our home:

*Down at the Sea Hotel
*A Duck In New York City
*Dream Songs Night Songs From Belgium To Brazil

It is hard to pick a favorite of the three, but I have to say I LOVE the story of A Duck In New York City. The story is about a little duck that keeps getting told that his dream of dancing on Broadway is crazy and will never come true. But the little duck keeps trying, and keeps telling himself, YES I CAN-and in the end, his hard work pays off and he indeed achieves his dream.

How wonderful of a message for young children is that? It is so refreshing to read a story that encourages children to chase their dreams, be them to become a doctor OR a garbage man (yes, right now that is my son's dream). Because, you know, someone has to be a pro baseball player or ballet dancer...or garbage man. So why not? There is no better way to build a child's self esteem then to give them the power of feeling that they CAN do and achieve their goals. And that is just what you'll share when you read A Duck In New York City to your little one.

Another reason I love The Secret Mountain books? They come with CDs. OH AWESOME, because I also love music and LOVE exposing my children to music! It has been so fun to read the stories and listen to the accompanying CDs. The music that goes with Dream Songs Night Songs From Belgium To Brazil is my very favorite-it has lullabies from all around the world, sung in the native languages for your family to enjoy! The music is just beautiful and a fantastic way to introduce other cultures, stories and lullabies to your family.


Want to know where you can get them? Go to The Secret Mountain and order them quickly and easily online! You can also get the books in English or French (easy lullabies are a great starting board for teaching a second language!) for $22.95; CD included with each book.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seal My SOUL



I love music, and I listen to all kinds (yes, even hip hop and rap; I know, you are surprised). Through middle school and college I was what you would call a "band geek". I played the flute and French horn. I have dated a clarinet player, a saxophone player and a trumpet player, all of which left me with a some knowledge of how to play each instrument. I fiddle with the piano, I have learned one song on guitar, and my lovely hubby even got me a French horn for Christmas the first year we were married. When ever school or community plays came around I tried out....for "the pit" (aka the play's orchestra).

Remember that horrible movie "Water World"? While others might cringe, I myself fall into past memories of marching band because that was a score we played for our contests one year. Even though the movie is pretty bad, I love getting lost in the music.

Yes, I love music. Let's just say, it is a huge part of my soul. You can time travel with music; nothing can reach into the depths of a person like good music either.

And that is just what Seal has done with his latest album, SOUL; he has reached into the depth of his soul and deeply touched mine with the foot taping, body swaying results. Click below to hear some samples his modern jazzy harmonies:



His new album, SOUL, is aptly named too, because you can feel his soul pouring through the lyrics and rhythms, while, as a listener, I too find myself swept away with his deep and rich as honey voice. My little boy loves rocking and grooving to the soulful music as well, giving me hope that even if he never picks up an instrument, he at least appreciates the beauty of music.

And you know what is even better than my little job of reviewing Seal's SOUL Album for the One 2 One Network? I get to share it with you!!!

For one of my readers, I have a copy of Seal's SOUL Album and an ipod retro mini speaker. Have you ever seen anything so cute in your life?


The ipod retro mini speaker is a gift to you from Delight.com, a unique boutique that stocks the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Delight features eco-friendly tote bags, gadgets for guys, kitchen gear that is smart and saves time, travel essentials, one-of-a-kind baby gifts, stocking stuffers for holiday gift shopping and unique jewelry and décor accessories with most under $50. You can even check out Delight.com's newsletter for recent sale items and deals! No taking the kids out to the crowded stores to shop? I can shop in my pj's listening to Seal? Oh be still my heart!

So, for your chance to win, simply leave a comment below telling me what music stirs your SOUL.

Mine? Ludacris' "Roll Out". My hubby and I back in our college and dating days, took a road trip to see our College's football team play in a Florida bowl game (I think it was the Orange Bowl? Not sure...). We piled a bunch of our friends into his parent's van and drove the whole 10 hours down listening to Luda's CD over and over. Mostly we talked and goofed off so much we just never changed the CD, but every time I hear that song, it takes me back to that super fun road trip!



Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Step Ahead-What's Inside? Toy Box

I love to play with my kids-to me that is the greatest thing in the world and I could do it all day long. But, as an ex-preschool teacher, I also look for toys that stimulate those "keywords" I learned while in school...gross motor skills, fine motor skills, sensory development, tactile learning, texture integration......who knew teaching preschooler involved covering so much in lesson plans? I digress.

Anyway, as you can imagine, and toy I come across that encourages these developmental lessons while being super fun for my babies and me to play with, I buy them up and tell all my friends. And you know what I love the best? Most of the time, the best toys for stimulating these activities are not high tech, expensive gadgets, but instead very budget friendly! Yippiee!

What I love about the What's Inside? toy box:
*it works on gross motor reaching and depth perception
*it works on fine motor grasping and inserting of objects
*it comes with 8 little toys to take in and out of the box, each with their own simulators like different textures, sounds, fabrics, and colors
*it develops hand and eye coordination skills,
*Great tactile development on the outside of box with sounds, crinkles, tags, and objects
*encourages exploration and imagination

And so, to all of my internet friends out there (yes, I know, doesn't sound good, but it is cause that includes you!)I have a video review of my latest baby toy find, the What's Inside Box by One Step Ahead.

What a great Christmas Present this toy box would make too!! It is meant for kids ages newborn to 12 months; however, my 2 year old loves it as well, so this is a toy that will last you a long time and give hours of enjoyment as he or she discovers "what's inside" again and again! You can buy it for $34.95 or try to win it here.

Watch my video, take a look around One Step Ahead's website and you could win a What's Inside Box for the apple of your eye! Just simply leave a comment here telling me what your favorite One Step Ahead toy is OR what you think of my video. Also, you can comment here OR you can email me at coordinatedchaos@yahoo.com. Oh yes, I make it easy for you. Winners will be contacted through email, so if you don't have it on your blog make sure you give it to me! The Contest Ends Nov. 21, 2008 at midnight. Good Luck!




Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Linda Eder Giveaway: The Other Side Of Me

Thanks to One2OneNetwork.com, I have been able to spend the past week surrounding myself and my boys with some beautiful music. We have danced, laughed, and tears even entered my eyes as I watched my oldest dance around to the lyrics that pulled on my heart.

Oh yes, Linda Eder is a musician I have fallen in love with. Her new CD, The Other Side Of Me, pulls on the tender heartstrings that all moms and dads (new and experienced) know so well.

And you know what is even more amazing? I love all the songs. Every. Single. One. And I am the queen of one hit wonders-I will buy a CD to get one song from it, even though I don't like, or even hate, the rest of the CD. So, I was not at all expecting to fall in love with all the tracks, let alone play them all over and over, but that is just what has happened. I am totally in love with the messages Linda Eder so beautifully belts out for the rest of us in her unique, happy and tear jerking style.

Linda Eder even speaks to me on a personal level, because she too is a working mom, working to keep that balance of being at home with your child and working to make money for your child (while still trying to get all the other things in life done, like the laundry...) You can tell that motherhood and the love for her child, Jake, greatly influenced her song writing on The Other Side Of Me.

A combination of country, jazz, pop and a huge sprinkle of Broadway thrown in, The Other Side Of Me brings to life the emotions that many of us parents can't put words to. Her song, If I Could, which you can hear in the background by watching my video below, puts the grooves and vocal harmonies of a country angel to a parent's deep love and fierce desire to protect, that moms and dads everywhere carry.

Both Sides Now has an upbeat and catchy rhythm that makes me want to sing along again and again. And Little Dude just loves to dance while the fun song is going. What I love best about Both Sides Now, is the beautiful way Linda Eder puts into words the reflections all of us stop and take now and then as we travel through life. Thinking back on how we felt and acted in younger years (or even just yesterday) and then revisiting those thoughts as we "wise up" or become enlightened through experience. Yes, that is the theme to the lyrics and rhythmic flow of Both Sides Now, and the light hearted way Linda Eder vocalizes the emotions and lyrics keeps my family and I listening, dancing and singing along as we too make this journey of life.

You can hear me "vlog" (and gush more) about the CD by clicking on the video below (and listen to songs from the CD play in the background!):

video

and you can hear my two very favorite songs If I Could and Both Sides Now on the CD here:
http://www.lindaeder.com/Music.aspx

You can buy The Other Side of Me at Barnes and Noble and if you would love to hear Linda Eder Live (and maybe run into me) you can check out her Tour Dates! I want to go to one of her Florida Tours, since it won't be too terribly far from where I live! Oh fun!

Ready for the giveaway part? Guess what you can get?

The Other Side of Me autographed CD and autographed T-shirt or hat!!!

To win all you have to do is listen to Linda Eder's songs, pick a favorite and tell me why! Super easy eh? You can also email me at coordinatedchaos@yahoo.com if you happen to not have a blog account or you can leave a comment on my main page. Just make sure you leave me a way to contact you, either through email or your blog, so that I can let you know if you won! If I don't hear from the first winner in a week's time then a second winner will be chosen. The Giveaway ends November 21st.