Saturday, December 17, 2016

Snowman Breakfast Classroom Party

”Living at the Whiteheads Zoo was provided with a sample free of charge from Oriental Trading.  We provided our honest opinion about our experience with the products below. Yours may be different.  No other compensation was received for this review.  "

This year we wanted  to try  something different for our classroom Christmas party  .  We decided to do a snowman breakfast the week before Christmas break.  The kids and I were so excited about the breakfast and all things snowman.  We made some cute snowman crafts to decorate around our classroom and hallway.   Shopping was so simple thanks to Oriental Trading.

Our students are to young for hot chocolate. We decided to do milk and orange juice for them instead.  Oriental Trading had some adorable snowman cups with straws that were perfect for our toddlers.  They LOVED them.  I loved that the cups had lids and straws making them easy to use, plus after our breakfast they got to take them home as an extra treat from their teacher.  AWESOME!

Oriental Trading even had cute plates, napkins , tablecloths they even have plastic silverware. Everything you need to set your table for breakfast , or another  meal.  They had a huge selection of holiday party supplies and even stocking stuffers for our kids.  This time of year is so busy I was thankful that I did not have to make a lot of different stops for our party.   Oriental Trading shipped all of our supplies right to my home. Then a stop by the grocery store and we were almost ready for the party.

Snowman Breakfast Class Party @OrientalTrading photo IMG_1959.jpg

For the breakfast we served mini pancakes. We set 3 mini's on the plate, a piece of a bacon across the neck for a scarf, mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons and topped it off with whip cream.  We also made snowman doughnuts white powdered doughnuts with chocolate chip eyes and a mini carrot nose. We added mini marshmallows and a sausage link.  The kids did so well. They all ate and ate several of them asking ofr more. SUCCESS!  They loved this class breakfast time.    photo IMG_1969.jpgWe had so much fun planning, preparing and sharing this party with our class and coworkers.   I would definitely do another fun snowman breakfast. Thank you Oriental Trading for having all of our party needs and craft needs for the holidays.  Shopping in just one of two stores keeps things so easy and stress free.  We love stress free.

 photo IMG_1970 1.jpgAt the end of the party we took photos with our class snowman Frosty.  He's been hanging out in the classroom this month waiting to make some memories with the class.  They made for some really cute photos. I can't wait to print them all up for us.  Oriental Trading had the snowman as part of their online holiday items.  As you can see Frosty was a great size he looked larger than life to those little two and three year old children.  I heard snowman a million times last week as they pointed him out, or ran to hug him or even smack him.   We like to have fun around there.

Snowman Breakfast Class Party @OrientalTrading photo snowman class party.jpgThe kids and teachers had a fabulous time doing a snowman breakfast this year.  Can't wait to pick an end of the year theme maybe a luau .

Friday, December 16, 2016

Escaping the Ashes by Olivia Hardin now available


Escaping the Ashes (Hotel Paranormal)

is available now.



escaping-the-ashes-3dThe Phoenix: I live to serve the gods. A servant, a protector, an assassin. I've given my life and my death to that duty, an on-going cycle that I can't escape. But then I never before had a reason to... The Angel: I once existed to serve my God. Until I fell into the arms of true love. When I found myself alone, I needed a new master, a new purpose for my life. I've excelled as an Enforcer, and my duty to the job has always been enough. That was, until she crossed my path...

Buy your copy today!



And after you buy your book, be sure to check out the Escaping the Ashes Playlist to get all of Olivia's Inspirational Music!

AND be sure to get A Bundle of Trouble, on sale for 99 cents for a VERY short time. In it you get four Lynlee Lincoln stories all in one collection.copy-of-afh-bb-ad-1


olivia hardin pic b&w.jpg When Olivia Hardin began having strange movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long the writing bug had her and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, and she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. Olivia’s attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term road scholar and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie. Get a free gift just for signing up for Olivia's Newsletter! Follow Tawdra: Newsletter/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Website Amazon/BookBub And if you love her books, join Team OH!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Captain Hawkins Book Blast & $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


This holiday season is flying by. Or it is at my house.  I can't believe that Christmas is already almost here.  Things are crazy busy we know how it goes.  Today I'm excited to bring you some information about the book Captain Hawkins.  Plus we get to share a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway.  Be sure to enter below and check it  all out.  

517reevqnflStrong vibrant characters with action packed battle drama Jamie Hawkins was living on an obscure planet in the twenty third-century when on one fateful night--his life changed forever. His heroic effort to save the lives of innocent women and children, caught in the cross-fire of war, placed him squarely in the cross-hairs of avenging soldiers. Hawkins was stunned when his rescue effort was seen as treachery. Unfairly convicted of treason by a corrupt judge, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor on an infamous penal colony. Once in prison, his courage and perseverance won him the admiration and trust of his fellow convicts. While he was plotting his escape, an enemy attacked the planet--giving this daring warrior his chance. Together with his fellow prisoners, he launched a bold assault and high-jacked an enemy warship. From then on, Captain Jamie Hawkins and his ship the Indefatigable fought against a corrupt government--only to discover a mysterious alien presence behind the war.

Buy on Amazon

Read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty pete2years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of ten books.

Follow Website / Facebook / Goodreads

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Fill out the form below to enter!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Snowman Crafts and Bulletin Board Ideas for the Classroom

”Living at the Whiteheads Zoo was provided with a sample free of charge from Oriental Trading.  We provided our honest opinion about our experience with the products below. Yours may be different.  No other compensation was received for this review.  "

Do you want to build a snowman? That is the question I've been asking the kids in my class this week. We are getting crafty and creative in the classroom just in time for Christmas break. We decided to decorate the room like a winter wonderland and of course every winter wonderland needs lots and lots of snowmen. Luckily , this crafty girl had just what she needed for help at home.  Thankfully, Oriental Trading helped us with our crafting needs and we had everything we needed for these fun snowmen. Thank you Oriental Trading.  

Our first snowman craft was these adorable accordion snowmen.  The kits came with everything that you needed including the extra long paper legs and arms. I fell in love with these right away because of the long legs and arms making them appear larger .  I knew my kids would love them.  Everything was super easy to stick on. Do keep in mind if you are like me and have smaller children it does take a bit of time to make say 23 of these cute little men.

Snowman Craft Kits @OrientalTrading photo IMG_1411.jpg
Accordion Snowman Craft for Kids @OrientalTrading 

Even with everything being easy stick on each snowman turned out different.  My kids are so funny some of them put buttons as ears and hats on bellies. Each snowman was definitely unique to the child's personality.  I love seeing how my class visualizes things. 

Snowman Crafts 4 Kids photo IMG_1409.jpg

After we finished the snowman Christmas Crafts we hung them around our classroom and we even added some to the hallway bulletin board for our classroom.  Oriental Trading makes crafting with kids so easy. I love when you can say SUCCESS at the end of a project.

Snowman Bulletin Board photo Snowman Bulletin Board.jpg In  addition to the accordion snowman we added some smaller snowmen using the children's photos.  We also added fake snow (batting) and the saying ,"  Do You WANT TO BUILD a SNOWMAN> " This bulletin board has gotten lots of fun comments. It's a hit with everyone the kids love their snowmen .

You might also like our post about nutcracker photo frames and we'll be sharing our Snowman Breakfast later this week. These fun Snowman Crafts were the perfect additions to our party decorations.  Don't you think?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Climb Aboard this Florida Christmas Train

If you are looking for a different way to catch a few Christmas Lights you might enjoy a trip to Williston, Florida. Get ready for some good times once you arrive at Kirby Family Farm. You'll find yourself in the middle of a hay field wondering just what you have gotten yourself into. Not to worry a trip on this favorite Florida Christmas train the Christmas Express is well worth a visit to the farm. 

You can order your tickets in advance or pay at the gate. All Ages Special of $10 donation per person in advance, ages 3 and up,  or $15 at the gate if available. Children 2 and under are FREE.  If you order online there is an additional service charge. 

What will you get? The best part of the evening will be a ride on the Christmas Express. This trip will take you through the woods and around the Kirby Family Farm property to see Christmas Lights. The ride is fun, people are in good spirits and even some caroling takes place as you chug along.

    Christmas Express Kirby Family Farms photo ChristmasExpressKirbyFarms.jpg

Other Activities:
  • Big Cinema
  • Off Road Tricycles
  • Monster Bus Ride
  • Crafter's Village
  • Carousel
  • Santa
  • LIVE SHOW (new this year)
  • Indoor Christmas Character Maze (new 2016)
There is a huge big screen cinema so you can take in a Christmas movie or two if you'd like. While we visited Charlie Brown's Christmas was playing . Other fun activities are off road tricycles and the Crafters Village where you'll find homemade gifts and jams to purchase. A favorite by the kids is the monster bus ride. It is very short but my kid really loved the big tires and look of that bus. The end of the ride light show is synchronized to Christmas music . Definitely a real treat! If you have a younger child or a train lover it is really great fun for the holidays.

We had a great ride on  The Christmas Express. Way to go Kirby Farms!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Nutcracker Ornaments for Kids

”Living at the Whiteheads Zoo was provided with a sample free of charge from Oriental Trading.  We provided our honest opinion about our experience with the products below. Yours may be different.  No other compensation was received for this review.  "

Oriental Trading helped me get in the spirit this holiday season and share some fun with my classroom.  I have been so excited for all of our fun Christmas crafts and holiday activities this month. When I thought about our crafts for this holiday season I knew that I wanted to do something different from the other classes, and different from what I've done in years past.  I wanted the activity to be one that was original for this years toddler class.

Nutcracker Craft for Kids photo nutcrackercraft4kids.jpg
Nutcrackers Put Together but not decorated
Oriental Trading had tons of great crafts easy enough for our kids to do on their own.  I love the craft kits from Oriental Trading because they have everything you need to do the activity, they have easy to follow directions and keep things simple.  When I saw the jointed nutcracker photo frames I knew I had found the perfect Christmas ornament for our kids to do.  Our parents love anything with their children's pictures in them (and this teacher does too.)

Jointed Nutcracker Frames Christmas Craft photo nutcrackerphtoframes.jpg
Nutcracker Photo Frame Christmas Crafts for Kids 
The DIY nutcracker frames came with uncolored pieces as a Christmas Craft for kids. You assemble the pieces and use brads to make the pieces movable.  Everything you need is included in individually wrapped packs.  We decided the easiest way for them to decorate the frames would be to use paint so I broke out some cups of red paint and we set to work.  Our class loves to paint so it was definitely a winner with them.  When they finished painting the frames I hung them up on our class clothes line to dry.  Then later we added some touches of black with a black sharpie marker and of course a cute photo of their sweet faces.  The nutcracker frames are $3.97 for 12 so very affordable. The paper is 6"X10" with a 1 3/4" space for the photo.

Nutcracker Photo Frame Christmas Ornament #OrientalTrading photo Nutcracker Christmas Craft 4 Kids.jpg
Christmas Nutcracker Ornaments for Kids 
Our center has a tree that they put in the entrance and each class adds a decoration .  Our photo frame nutcrackers were a big hit with the staff , parents and kids.  Yay!

Nutcracker Photo Frame Crafts #OrientalTrading photo NutcrackerFrame.jpg
Nutcracker Photo Frames make great ornaments! 

If you like this post be sure to stay tuned as we share some fun snowman crafts and activities for the classroom. Can't wait!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review #TheSecretLifeOfPets

"I received a complimentary copy of The Secret Life of Pets for review. All opinions shared about the movie here are my own."

The Secret Life Of Pets  is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Have you ever wondered what your pets do when you are not at home?  I know I have at times specially when I come home to find they've gotten themselves into some sort of mischief.  My son LOVES our dog to the moon and back. They are definitely best pals and he is always talking about that dog.  I knew that he would probably get a kick out of this movie if I could just get him to sit and watch it.  Mr. Picky Pants has a mind of his own when it comes to these things and there have been many times when he will just refuse to try  a movie for this or that.  Fortunately, as soon as he saw the front of the DVD box he was ready for movie night.

#TheSecretLifeOfPets photo unnamed_1.jpg

So, what did we think?  We thought it was funny. My seven year old requested to watch it again as soon as it went off.  This gives it a thumbs up from me.  He liked the witty hyper active animals. Max being my seven year old sons favorite character of the movie.

What do I think?   I mostly liked hearing him belly laugh at them.  Laughter is contagious after all . I thought the character voices were great (A+ job on the cast).





“You’ll never look at your pets the same way again.”
– Erik Davis, Fandango

Universal City, California, October 4, 2016 – This holiday season, the answer to the question “Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not home?” is answered when The Secret Life of Pets comes to Digital HD November 22, 2016 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ 3D, Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand December 6, 2016 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The humans behind the Despicable Me franchise present America’s top-grossing original film of the year, the animated comedy is a worldwide hit with over $834 million in global ticket sales. The Secret Life of Pets is “non-stop action and laughs,” says Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD versions feature nearly an hour of bonus content, including three hilarious mini-movies: the all-new Norman Television and Weenie PLUS Mower Minions which debuted in theaters and is now available to own.

In their fifth fully animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead when we leave for work or school. Max, voiced by Louis C.K., is a loyal terrier living a perfectly happy existence until his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper) brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet) a big, boisterous mutt she finds at the shelter. When Max and his unruly new “roommate” slip away from their dog-walker, they find themselves lost in the urban jungle of New York City. In an attempt to stay ahead of animal control and a rebel band of abandoned pets led by an unhinged bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), they put aside their differences to survive the epic journey back home.

With an all-star voice cast including Louis C.K. (TV’s Louie), Eric Stonestreet (TV’s Modern Family), Kevin Hart (Ride Along Series), Jenny Slate (Zootopia), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Lake Bell (TV’s Children’s Hospital), Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors series), Bobby Moynihan (TV’s “Saturday Night Live), Steve Coogan (Minions) and Albert Brooks (Finding Dory). The film is directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me franchise, Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax) and co-directed by Yarrow Cheney (Despicable Me franchise).

The film will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack which includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and Digital HD with UltraViolet. The 4K Ultra HD will include all bonus features on the Blu-ray disc.
  • 4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HDTMfeatures the combination of 4K resolution for four times sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.
  • Blu-ray unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES (Available on Blu-ray editions)
  • How to Make an Animated Film – A behind-the-scenes look at how to make an animated film from the various departments that make up Illumination. 
  • Anatomy of a Scene – Filmmakers and animators take us through the multi-step process it takes to create a specific scene in the Secret Life of Pets 
  • Mini-Movies:
    • Norman Television
    • Weenie
    • Mower Minions
  • All About The Pets – Kevin Hart and Eric Stonestreet, with the help of animal trainer Molly Mignon O’Neill take you on an educational journey to learn more about your average and not-so average, household pets.
  • Animals Can Talk: Meet The Actors – The comedy superstars who give voice to the film’s menagerie of characters talk about their roles and the process of bringing them to life.  
  • Hairstylist To The Dogs – Inspired by “Hairspray Live!,” Eric Stonestreet, with the help of a professional dog groomer Jess Rona, will take you through the basic steps to help your pups look as awesome as possible when they’re hanging out with their pet pals.
  • The Best Of Snowball – A rapid-fire, fun and oddly musical mash-up of all the best Snowball one-liners
  • Hot Dog Sing-Along – Join Max and Duke as they perform for their dinner in the sausage factory. This straightforward sing along is fun for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Sing Trailer
  • “Lovely Day” Lyric Video
  • The Humans that Brought You Pets – Producers Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, and writer Brian Lynch discuss what went into creating The Secret Life of Pet’s compelling characters and non-stop action.
  • GoPro®: The Secret Life of Pets
  • The Making of the Mini-Movies – A fun and interesting take on the Making of the Mini-Movies – we’ll explore the themes of each of the mini-movies through the eyes of the artists who made them.  
For artwork, please log onto our website at
Hashtag: #SecretLifeofPets

Cast: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan and Albert Brooks
Directed By: Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney
Written By: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch
Produced By: Christopher Meledandri and Janet Healy
Associate Produced By: Robert Taylor and Brett Hoffman
Production Designer: Eric Guillon
Edited By: Gilad Carmel and Eric Osmond
Composer: Alexandre Desplat

The Secret Life of Pets Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD will feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

Street Date: December 6, 2016
Copyright: 2016 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Selection Number: 61183933 (US) / 61183934 (CDN)
Layers: BD-66
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1
Rating: PG for action and some rude humor
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles 
Sound: English Dolby Atmos True HD, Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, French (Canadian) Dolby Digital 5.1
Run Time:  1 hour 27 minutes

Street Date: December 6, 2016
Copyright: 2016 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Selection Number: 61181890 (US) / 61181889 (CDN)
Layers:  BD-50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1
Rating: PG for action and some rude humor
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles 
Sound: English Dolby Atmos True HD/Dolby Digital 2.0 DVS, Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Run Time:  1 hour 27 minutes

Street Date: December 6, 2016
Copyright: 2016 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Selection Number: 61172750 (US) / 61172756 (CDN)
Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1
Rating: PG for action and some rude humor
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles 
Sound: English Dolby Atmos True HD/Dolby Digital 2.0 DVS, Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Run Time:  1 hour 27 minutes

Street Date: December 6, 2016
Copyright: 2016 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Selection Number: 61172747 (US)/ 61172755 (CDN)
Layers: Dual
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Rating: PG for action and some rude humor
Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1/DVS Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes

About Illumination Entertainment
Illumination Entertainment, founded by Chris Meledandri in 2007, is one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of event animated films.  Illumination, which has an exclusive financing and distribution partnership with Universal Pictures, is the creator of the hugely successful Despicable Me franchise, which includes Minions—the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time—as well as Despicable Me 2, an Academy Award® nominee for Best Animated Feature of 2013.  In all, Illumination’s films, which also include 2016’s record-breaking The Secret Life of Pets, 2011’s Hop and 2012’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, have grossed close to $4 billion in worldwide box-office revenues and feature some of the world’s most renowned talent.

Upcoming films include Despicable Me 3, starring Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Trey Parker, which is set for 2017; The Secret Life of Pets 2, written by Brian Lynch and directed by Chris Renaud, which arrives in theaters in 2018; and a newly imagined version of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of The Grinch, which is set for release in 2018.  In addition, “Despicable Me: Minion Rush” (more than 750 million downloads) has become one of the world’s most popular apps, and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attracts huge crowds at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

About Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment ( is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios. Universal Studios is a part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.