Fun Activity To Help Kids Learn The Alphabet

Children spend years developing the skills they need to start reading, from learning to identify the letters of the alphabet and learning what sounds the letters make to memorizing sight words and being able to string letters together to make words. One thing that will help children on their journey to reading is memorizing the shapes of letters so they can learn to identify the alphabet. In this activity, from the book 100 FUN & EASY LEARNING GAMES FOR KIDS that I was sent for review, kids will create fun, hands-on letters using glue and string. Once ready, they make the perfect material to hang in alphabetical order for even more letter practice.


  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Wax paper
  • Glue
  • Container
  • Sturdy rope
  • 26 clothespins


1. Cut yarn into pieces of various lengths.

2. Lay out wax paper on a smooth surface for letters to dry on.

3. Have children dip yarn pieces into glue container and then shape wet yarn into letter formations on the wax paper.

4. Allow yarn to dry before playing the game

5. String a long and sturdy rope up in the room and attach clothespins onto it.

Directions to Play the Game

1. Players work together to place letters in alphabetic order by attaching them to the rope with the clothespins.

2. As they place the letters, encourage them to name the letters they are attaching to the rope.

Game Variations for Children that Know the Alphabet

  • Use letters to create a child’s name on the rope.
  • Use letters to create sight words.
  • Create a timed challenge to see how fast they can put letters up in alphabetical order.
You’ll find this activity (that was reprinted with permission from the publisher), along with 99 more, in the book 100 FUN & EASY LEARNING GAMES FOR KIDS by Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij. This book is full of activities that help parents and teachers teach children ages 3-7 years old reading, writing, math and more. They’ll have so much fun they won’t even realize that they are learning!

Raising Kids To Thrive {New Parenting Book}

This review is sponsored but thoughts are my own.

There is a saying that children don’t come with manuals. That is so true! Have you ever come across a parenting challenge and struggled to solve it yourself? I have had a few of those instances and am only six years in to my parenting journey with many more years (including those teen years!) to come.

While no parenting manual has been written, I turn to a variety of books to give me tips on how to be a successful parent. One new book I discovered gives lots of great tips for raising children and teens. It is called Raising Kids to Thrive by Kenneth R. Ginsburg, MD, and is all about a new method of parenting called the “lighthouse” parenting strategy. It focuses on balancing love with expectations and protection with trust.

Some of the things the book will help you do are:

-Raise kids who will succeed now and far into the future

-Understand why helicopter parenting undermines successful development

-Be a stable beacon your children will turn to for guidance and self-measurement

-Build the kind of relationship you hope to have with your child

-Reduce your children’s anxiety as they venture out on their own

While I think the book was written for those with children in their teens, I found that I could use a lot of what I learned with my younger children. It’s great to be able to work on my parenting skills now before my children hit the teenage years.

Some of the things I learned include:

-The importance of praising effort, not results (and being specific in that praise)

-My job as a parent is to set clear boundaries and then (mostly) get out of the way

-Teaching kids how to handle pressure from peers and the importance of “code words” that they can use when they are with their peers and they find themselves in an uncomfortable position

-How important it is to let my kids know that I have high expectations but that I also know they are human and will make mistakes

I highly recommend this book for all parents. You can find it on Amazon here.



Books For Boys {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a set of books to review but all thoughts are my own.)

If you have a little boy that is fascinated by all things that rumble, crumble and crash, a new series by Capstone Book for Young Readers is a SMASH-ingly great gift for this holiday season! The aptly named DESTRUCTION series features four very sturdy board books where readers can follow along as a building is imploded, a car goes into the crusher, a wrecking ball destroys a wall and tires are shredded to bits. Crush It!Knock It Down!Blow It Up!; and Shred It! all feature big, bright images and movable parts that allow the reader to blow it up, knock it down, crush and shred it — perfect for little ones mesmerized by destruction!

Lucas, who is always on the go, is not a fan of typical books. He doesn’t enjoy looking at picture books but he loved these books because he could do things while he was looking at the pictures. He can move the wrecking ball back and forth, make a building crumble to the ground, crush old cars and more.

I also liked that these books were very sturdy. Having multiple kids, it is great when I know items will last for more than one child. The colors of these books were nice as well and the bright colors grabbed Luke’s attention along with my own.

For more information about the series and purchasing information please visit:


One reader will win all 4 books in the series and a yellow construction hat


{Do any 0r all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win this set for

2)  Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends January 5, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Animals Everywhere: A Pop-Up Adventure

My kids love pop-up books so as soon as we got Animals Everywhere: A Pop-Up Adventure to review they insisted on sitting down to read it.

This hardcover book features animals from the depths of the ocean to the heart of the jungle and kids can take a close-up look at more than 100 animals as they swim, slink, fly, run, and roam! Jonathan Woodward’s gorgeous cut-paper art, with four exploding pop-ups, thrillingly depicts the world’s most intriguing creatures, while Yvonne Deutch’s fun, poetic story takes young readers on an unforgettable journey.

The boys loved the shark pop-out the most because the shark’s jaw opened as the pages opened and you could see the fish in the shark’s mouth. The boys enjoyed asking me what each animal was if they didn’t know. This book is a great introduction to animals for preschoolers.

The book can be purchased here.

(Disclosure: As stated above I received a copy of this book for review but all thoughts are my own.)

50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book but all thoughts are my own.) 

Recent studies have shown that just saying “thank you” is proven to boost health and happiness —promoting a stronger immune system, lowering blood pressure, even helping you sleep. And besides being good for you, saying thanks just got easier with 50 Ways to Say You’re Awesome, a creative and fun way to tell the people in your life that you care.

The book is filled with cheeky mad-libs style notecards you can full in, pull out and give to your loved one, parent, BFF or friendly barista. It also includes 50 ways to put your thanks into action. How about:

·         Tucking a note into your sweetheart’s coat pocket as a romantic surprise?

·         Framing your favorite note and placing it in your workspace for everyday inspiration?

·         Rolling the note into miniature cones and filling them with candy for a favorite friend?

I love this book because it gives people a quick way to show their appreciation by using old-school communication methods: written and face-to-face! Too often those methods are forgotten and messages come via text message, Facebook and email. I found a variety of messages in there for many people in my life and loved how colorful the pages were. I also liked that the book contained pages with writing prompts.


One reader will win a copy of the book 50 Ways to Say You’re Awesome


{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me who in your life you think is awesome

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends October 15, 2013 at 11:59pm Central Time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to enter.

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book but all thoughts are my own.)

Dessert Designer Book & Baking Giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a copy of the book and a baking set but all thoughts are my own.)

One thing the boys and I love to do together is bake delicious treats {and then eat them of course}. A book came out in February called Dessert Designer that is perfect for families like ours. The Author, Dana Meachen Rau, shows children and parents how to go beyond just baking and focus on the really fun part- the decorating! I loved flipping through the book and seeing all of the creative designs and the best part is that most of them looked fairly easy to put together.

Look at this cute design from the book:

 Aren’t those so creative? I am so in love with how many cute ideas are in this book and I think the boys are going to love decorating cupcakes to actually look like something {as opposed to just dumping half a bottle of sprinkles on a frosted cupcake}!


One reader will win a copy of the book, a set of nesting bowls, and a spatula.


{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do.}

1) Tell me what animal you’d like to decorate on a cupcake

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Capstone Young Readers on Facebook

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

Giveaway ends April 14, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents ages 18 and older only. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.

Zoo 3D Awesome Animal Kingdom Book Review

Have an animal lover in your life? I think I have the perfect gift idea for them! The editors of TIME For Kids magazine have put together a fun book called Zoo 3D Awesome Animal Kingdom. This book is full of 3D photos of animals. The book comes with 2 pairs of 3D glasses so kids can look at the animals as the creatures seem to leap, crawl, fly, slither, swim, and stampede off the pages. The book is packed with close to 100 large-scale, state-of-the art photos taken by master 3D photographer, David Klutho.

I put some glasses on and checked out the book myself. The animals and insects all look so real! The tarantula was all hairy and it looked like if I touched it I would feel the little hairs prickling my fingers. I also liked that the book had information about the different workers that the children might find at the Zoo working with the animals.

After I was done looking at it I gave it to Jacob. It was funny watching him try to reach out and touch the animals. He normally doesn’t like anything on his face or head due to his sensory issues but he left the glasses on the whole time he was looking at the pictures.

You can find more details about the book here.

This book can be bought from Amazon among other stores. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can get it for $13.57 which is a great deal for this book. With free two day shipping it should be at your doorstep before Christmas!

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review but all thoughts are my own.)

Spark & Hustle Book Review

As a small business owner, I was happy to receive a copy of Spark & Hustle: Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now. This book that came out in June was written by New York Times bestselling author, Tory Johnson, a well-known entrepreneur who helps women turn their passions into profits. I have not read her two previous books but so far I am loving this one.

The book is split into eleven chapters and covers everything from overcoming obstacles {including your own negative thoughts!} to creating a budget to marketing. I like that she features women-owned businesses throughout the book. The stories are encouraging because they show real women succeeding and provide examples of Tory’s advice in action.

I am still working through this book but as I am reading through it I am discovering a renewed passion for my business. I’m also asking myself questions that I never thought about before. This is definitely not a sit down and read it all in a day type book. Throughout the book Tory gives mini-assignments and then each chapter ends with an “act now” list that goes over key points of the chapter and how you can expand upon what you have just read.

I’ll end with a quote from Tory: “If there is a common trait among the women I meet who make it, it’s this: they believe in themselves and what they are doing. That’s the most potent fuel for an entrepreneur. Follow their lead and believe unflinchingly in yourself.”

Want to learn more? Check out Tory’s Spark & Hustle events or purchase the book on Amazon.

(Disclosure: I received a book to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Personalized Big Brother & Big Sister Books {Giveaway}

Jacob became a big brother in 2009 but I still jumped at the chance to review one of these big brother books from I See Me! {They also have a big sister book.} I thought it would be a cute book to read to the boys and they would really like hearing their names as I read it.

I liked having this dedication page so as he grows up he will remember who gave it to him. I put 2009 since that’s when Lucas was born.

The words on the pages are uplifting and encouraging to a child who may not know how they will fit in to the family when they aren’t the only child anymore.

I knew the book would be personalized but wasn’t expecting their names to be added in to an illustration. It was a nice touch.

Along with the book we were sent a “big brother” award that Jacob can wear. I think it would be perfect for a big brother or big sister to wear to the hospital when they are meeting their sibling for the first time.


One person will win a personalized big brother or big sister book


{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you want to win this book for

2) Like I See Me! on Facebook

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Follow I See Me! on Twitter

5) Follow me on Twitter

6) Follow I See Me! on Pinterest

7) Follow me on Pinterest

8) Share this giveaway on a social network

9) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

Giveaway ends July 17, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US only.

(Disclosure: I received a book from I See Me! but all thoughts are my own. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook in any way.)

The God Box {Book Review & Giveaway}

I received a copy of The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan to review. This book came out on Tuesday, just in time for Mother’s Day!

About The Book:

After her mother Mary Finlayson dies, her daughter uncovers 10 of her God boxes spanning over 20 years of her life.  The boxes are stuffed with tiny notes written by Mary, asking and praying for everything from the right flooring for her daughter’s new home to a cure for her own blood cancer. Mary’s petitions are presented with love and without expectation. Note by note, author Mary Lou Quinlan unearths insights into her mother’s compassion, faith, and perseverance, and revelations of her innermost thoughts—nostalgic, surprising, and even a bit shocking. And through the journey, the author discovers her own more empathetic, more engaged self—the woman her mother had believed in all along.

My Thoughts:

Though this book is based on a mom’s faith in God, I think that anyone, regardless of their beliefs, would benefit from reading this book. It was an easy read and was split into chapters that could be read in short periods of time. I loved that she tells the story of her mom’s life, and of her own life, using the notes that her mom had written throughout the years. I also enjoyed trying to decipher the handwriting on the assortment of notes that Mary Lou had included in the pages of the book and reading the mom’s heartfelt prayers about everything from small, seemingly “silly” things to life-threatening illnesses.

Reading this book has inspired me to make a God Box of my own. Writing down my day to day prayers would serve as not only a way for me to communicate with God throughout the day but would also help me let go of negative thoughts and worries. Too often I hold on to things without fully giving them over to God and I think that the simple act of putting my concerns into written prayers would let me move past them and not focus on them.

The book also made me think about the memories that I am leaving my children. I’m still in my 20’s but I already have a hard time remembering things that happened only months ago. Leaving bits and pieces of my life behind on scraps of paper would give them an insight into who I was other than “mom” and would share moments of my life that they otherwise might never know.

The God Box Online:


One reader will win their own copy of The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan


Tell me why you want to read this book {or why you want to win it for a loved one if it’s going to be a gift}


For one extra entry you can share this review and giveaway post on the social network of your choosing

{Make sure you leave a separate comment telling me you did so.}

Giveaway ends May 10, 2012 at 11:59pm Central Time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review but all thoughts are my own.)

Fearless Young Adult Book Tour and Kindle Giveaway

Fearless Young Adult Book Fearless by Tawdra Kandle

Tasmyn Vaughn didn’t expect much when her dad’s job moved them to a small town in Florida; it was just another new school. But there is more to King than meets the eye, and soon Tasmyn’s ability to hear other’s thoughts is the least of her worries. Entangled in a web of first love, quirky and secretive townsfolk, magic and blood rituals, she discovers the town’s secrets aren’t just bizarre, they’re deadly.

Buy it HERE

What People are Saying about Fearless

“Tawdra’s debut novel enthralled me from the start. She captures the struggles and fears of the high school journey perfectly- with a paranormal twist. Tasmyn and Michael will have you adding them to your “favorite couples” list! I was sad to see this book end, and look forward to reading more by Tawdra soon!” Sarah M. Ross Young Adult Writer

“Fearless is a fantastic read. It is appropriate for both young adult and older readers with its charming storyline of a young lady learning to use her supernatural gift for the greater good. The characters are relatable, something that every reader can appreciate. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes Tasmyn, Michael and their friends.” Marcie Bridges, reviewer

“Fearless is a great read for young and old alike. It perfectly intertwines the magic of first love with the twists and turns of a thrilling plot that pulls the reader in. When I finished the final chapter, I could not wait until my next “trip” to King to visit with Tasmyn and Michael!” —Devyn Prado, Reviewer Taking Time for Mommy

Not ONLY is Author Tawdra T. Kandle having a Giveaway for a KINDLE but everyone that signs up for her newsletter will get her 2nd book BREATHLESS as soon as it comes out in March & 25 entries for the Kindle Giveaway!

Now for the Kindle Giveaway!!

Head on over to Taking Time For Mommy and fill out the form!

The Best Family Destinations (Book Review and Giveaway)

I was sent a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Best Family Destinations to review. This book covers the top 150 destinations in the US, Canada, and Mexico. I saw my favorites in the book including Chicago, San Francisco, Wisconsin Dells, and Hershey, PA. I also found a few places I’d love to travel with my family like Santa Claus, Indiana and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Each location in this book has information on the area, tourist attractions, and a website and phone number. There are fun facts, vacation planning tips, and notes from fellow travelers sprinkled throughout the book. The book also includes an appendix in the back with a list of the “best of the best” towns. This makes it easy to find a location based on what you are looking for (best beach, best cultural and historical attractions, best amusement park, etc.)


THREE people will win copies of the book.


(Do any or all of the following)

1) Tell me where you’d go on your dream vacation

2) Follow me on Twitter

3) Like my page on Facebook

4) Tweet or update your Facebook status with: “Enter to win 1 of 3 copies of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Best Family Destinations from @aliciamarie112 at”

Giveaway ends July 9, 2011 at 11:59pm Central time.

(Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All thoughts are my own.)

Delivering Happiness Book Review and Giveaway

Ten great quotes from the book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos):

  1. “Together, we had built a business that combined profits, passion, and purpose. And we knew that it wasn’t just about building a business. It was about building a lifestyle…” (page 2)
  2. “There will never be another 1999. What are you going to do about it?” (page 53)
  3. “I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion.” (page 54)
  4. “So my advice is to stop trying to “network” in the traditional business sense, and instead just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is the reward.” (page 82)
  5. “If your culture stays true to its values and/or mission statement, the words and images speak for themselves. Why? Because they’re real.” (page 141)
  6. “Make customer service a priority for the whole company, not just a department. A customer service attitude needs to come from the top.” (page 147)
  7. “With the internet connecting everyone together, companies are becoming more and more transparent whether they like it or not.” (page 151)
  8. “At the end of the day, just remember that if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff– including building a great brand– will fall into place on it’s own.” (page 154)
  9. “We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it. We must always plan for and be prepared for constant change.” (page 163)
  10. “We must never lose our sense of urgency in making improvements. We must never settle for “good enough,” because good is the enemy of great…” (page 179)

These are just 10 great quotes that I found in this book which is over 240 pages long. I have to admit that I didn’t know how much I would get out of this book since I’m not a “business person” but I really enjoyed Hsieh’s conversational style of writing. I found myself starting to read and then before I knew it half an hour had gone by.

If you would like to learn more about this book check out the website: To get a copy for yourself you can find the book on Amazon or you can win one here!


One copy of the book: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (softcover)

How to enter:

Tell me why you want to read this book.

Additional Entry (leave another comment):

Subscribe to this blog

This giveaway ends July 15, 2010 at 11:59pm.

(Disclosure: I was given two copies of this book by the Delivering Happiness team- one to review and one to giveaway.)

This post is linked up to Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday meme.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

The Wild Soccer Bunch Book Review (& Giveaway)

Today I would like to share a new series of children’s books with you called The Wild Soccer Bunch. If you have children ages 8-14 who enjoy soccer this is the perfect series for them.

Landon Donovan, captain of the Los Angeles Galaxy and the 2009 Major League Soccer’s MVP, had this to say about the books: “From the very first page I became a fan of the Wild Soccer Bunch. The stories unfold like an epic soccer game: mesmerizing, nail-biting, and fun.”

This international best-selling series of children’s book launched here in the United Stats on May 26th with the release of the first book called Kevin the Star Striker. Here is the summary from the back cover:

“When the last of the snow has finally melted, soccer season starts! Kevin the Star Striker and The Wild Bunch rush to their field. They have found that Mickey the Bulldozer and his gang, The Unbeatables, have taken over. Kevin and his friends challenge the Unbeatables to the biggest game of their lives. Can the Wild Bunch defeat The Unbeatables, or lose their field of dreams forever? Can they do what no team has done before?”

The Wild Soccer Bunch, Book 1: Kevin the Star Striker can be purchased at the Wild Soccer Bunch website or at other online retailers, such as Amazon. You can also win a copy of the book here!


There will be TWO winners in this giveaway.


Leave a comment telling me what sport your child enjoys playing the most.

Giveaway will end on July 13, 2010 at 11:59pm.

(Disclosure: I received copies of this book in return for sharing the series with my readers.)