Thursday, November 29, 2012


_225_350_Book_684_coverRudy – My Story
Written by Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger
Published at Thomas Nelson

About the book

The inspirational real-life story of the man behind the beloved movie Rudy, his continued determination to make his dreams come true, and how you can dream big too.

How does a lower middle class kid, who suffered through school with undiagnosed dyslexia, get into Notre Dame and become the inspiration for millions in a Hollywood film that has become one of the most inspiring sport movies ever made? He never gave up.

For the first time, read Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger's real life story and learn the behind-the-scenes details of the ten years it took to make the movie and how that tossed him into a new career of public speaking that continues on stages today alongside world-class leaders and speakers.

Divided into four parts, each include details of the failures and hard lessons he's learned along the way and how hitting the reset button was often the best thing that ever happened to him:

  • Growing up one of 14 kids in Joliet, a brief stint in the Navy opens a new world of opportunity and dreams
  • Rudy finds a side door into Notre Dame where in a legendary moment he becomes one of only a few players in school history to be carried off the field
  • The struggle to find a career after college leads him to his new impossible dream, to get a movie made about his life story
  • Launched into a new world, Rudy finds his true calling as an inspirational speaker and reveals how losing site of his own dreams nearly derails him, but how once again, in learning another of life's most important lessons, he finds a reason to hope again—through the eyes of the next generation of Rudys

Rudy doesn't represent some far-fetched Hollywood fantasy that most people can never attain—the power of his story comes from the fact that at heart he's just an “Average Joe.” The moral is that anyone with a dream can make that dream a reality—as long as they’re willing to put in the hard work, and heart, it takes to get there.

My Thoughts

I have seen the movie.  Actually, we own it and honestly I can’t wait to get my kids see it.   It is a very inspirational movie and I highly recommend it to anyone.   So when I had the opportunity to review the book, I couldn’t resist because I enjoyed the movie and also because I love auto-biographies.    I was also curious about it because my husband knows that he has dyslexia and we have one son who seems to be struggling with it.   Reading about the hardships and how Rudy was able to advance in life with his “disability”  is inspiring and thought provoking.

I want my son to be able to do what he wants to do.   I am very thankful for the opportunity of homeschooling him.   I have a sense that he has advanced more at home than he would have had at school.   At least here, he can advance at his own pace, revise when needed, have private lessons if needed.   He can fluently read in his Bible or a comic book.  Sometimes he will be interested in other type of literature like anything that is Star Wars or Lego.   My husband is in awe because he himself graduated without being able to read as good as our son is right now.     He sees the difference of homeschooling is making in his life.   Our son is passionate about drawing.   Just today we went to the library and he took out two books about learning how to draw.   I wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever if his future employment require drawing.

But let’s get back to the book.  Like mentioned above, the book is an autobiography of Rudy which is the inspiration behind the movie.    In this book, you will learn how Rudy grew up, how he struggled in school, how he became an icon at Notre Dame, and how he became an inspirational speaker in the end.   Whether for a parent trying to figure out how to deal with a child with dyslexia or something dealing with it, Rudy is a wonderful book to read. 

If you have someone in your life who love to read autobiographies, why not getting Rudy this year as a Christmas gift? 

Rudy is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Also available on Kindle

Also available as audiobook


Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Nelson for sending me the above mentioned product in the e-pub edition for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Scrabble Catch Phrase Game

B52C3C675056900B10F67A2FE67E258A Scrabble Catch Phrase Game
From Hasbro Canada

About the game

Think fast! The SCRABBLE Electronic CATCHPHRASE game challenges you to come up with words and then pass the game fast so you don’t get caught holding the bag! Give your teammates clues so they can guess the word or phrase on the game unit’s screen. But no rhyming, first letters or parts of the word, or the other team gets a point! Once your team has guessed it, pass the unit fast to the other team. When the buzzer goes off, whoever has the unit loses a point to the other side, so move fast! When your team gets to 7 points, you win!

Game unit comes with instructions.   4 or more players.  Requires 3 ""AAA"" batteries (not included).

My Thoughts

This game is perfect when you are going to parties this Christmas season.   Why not spice up the gathering by making team and having fun at the same time (No need to spice it with alcohol if you see what I mean.  Be wise and don’t drink and drive!).  This fun electronic game can easily be put in a bag or purse and taken out anytime during an evening of fun among family or friends.

Essentially the goal is to guess the word your teammate received while he/she gives clues.    You can make a physical gesture and/or give almost any verbal clue that you might think.   However, you cannot say a word that rhymes with the word to find, five the first letter of the word, or say a part of the word in the clue.  When your team have guessed the word, you pass the unit to a member of the other team and so on until the buzzer sounds.   When the bbuzzer goes on, the team that is not holding the game unit gets 1 point.     If you are caught doing something illegal, the game is stopped and the point goes to the other team.    The first team to reach 7 points win the match.

The categories are: Variety, Entertainment, Everyday Life, Fun & Games, and The World.   Let’s see some examples of words to guess.   I’ve selected the Fun & Games category and here’s some of the challenges: handstand, scuba dive, jump shot, tropical paradise, bike trail,….  You get the idea.    Without using words in the challenges, you have to get your teammates say it.    Let’s take Scuba Dive for example.  I would do the gesture of swimming, put on a mask, strapping oxygen bottle, pinching my nose and go under the water, looking everywhere, a fish face….    Hopefully they would yell Scuba Dive at some point.

I think it is a fun game that will help people to work together to find the word.    There are literally thousands of words and phrases in this game unit.  Part of me wish that the game unit would be bilingual so I can have the choice of playing either in English or in French.    I hope that one day Hasbro decides to do so.  It would be so fun to get a bilingual game unit I think.  

Scrabble Catch Phrase is the perfect game for get-together during the Christmas season.   It would also make a perfect gift to bring for a Chinese gift exchange at a party you are invited.

Scrabble Catch Phrase is available at your favourite toy store and on

Disclaimer: Thanks to Hasbro Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Game

imageDid you know that since November 8th, you can now purchase and download the new Angry Birds Star Wars game?   Yes it is true that a new Angry Birds game has arrived.  For the iPod and the iPad, you can play the highly addictive game with a Star Wars twist.   I am one of the numerous fans who purchased it on the first day.  And guess what – the game is FANTASTIC.

Now this post is not about the new game but more to highlight a new line of toys from Hasbro Canada based on this new video game.   We received the Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Game.

About the game64B9EF395056900B10BBCC1573574147

Get ready for an intergalactic battle with ANGRY BIRDS Star Wars when you and a friend take on DARTH VADER and his porky pals! Take turns trying to topple the Empire with this awesome JENGA DEATH STAR game. Load your X-WING FIGHTER launcher with your LUKE SKYWALKER, HAN SOLO or CHEWBACCA birds for an epic squawk attack against the DEATH STAR. Which one of you will knock the DARTH VADER and STORMTROOPER pigs’ block off and bring the DEATH STAR crashing down? There’s only one way to find out!

Includes DEATH STAR Frame, LUKE SKYWALKER Bird, HAN SOLO Bird, CHEWBACCA Bird, DARTH VADER Pig, 4 STORMTROOPER Pigs, X-WING FIGHTER Launcher, 31 plastic JENGA Blocks, 1 lock block, die, base, label sheet and game guide/setup card  For 1 to 2 players.

Our Thoughts

One day while at the Wal-Mart near our place, two of my kids saw this game on the middle of the aisle and were totally excited about it.   They took the box to check out the price in the hopes that I would buy it.   Unfortunately for them, we are not the type of parents who will purchase something right away.   So they left the box and were telling me that they would hope to get it for Christmas or  their birthday (one of which is in November and the other one in February!)   When they got back inside the truck, they quickly told their siblings and their dad about it. 

230E1C7B5056900B105291780A6BDBD7What they didn’t know is that I knew I would receive it to review…   And when I received it, I was quite excited about it.   I think I am worst than the kids when it comes to Angry Birds…   As soon as the new app – Angry Birds Star Wars – was out I purchased it for the iPad.    This particular app is my favourite so far as it is so out-of-the-ordinary.   So I was delighted to see that Hasbro Canada came out with numerous games based on this new app from Angry Birds!  

We received the Death Star Jenga Game which is a different way to play Jenga to be honest.   No pulling the block away to get the pigs stumbling down.    No this time, you have a launcher space ship and birds to throw at it in order to destroy it.   I applause the creativity of the design team of the game because it is well thought and will bring tons of pleasure and laughter in the kids.    Along side with the three birds (Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker bird’s version), you also get five pigs version of stromtroopers and Darth Vader.   

The game is well done and will be a big hit this Christmas if you decide to purchase it.  It is a fun variation of the regular Jenga Game and incorporates popular characters on fun app games that you can easily download on your iPhone, iPod or iPad.   

Also available are the Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Hoth Battle Game, the Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Tatooine Battle Game, the Angry Birds Star Wars AT-AT Attack Battle Game, the Angry Birds Star Wars Darth Vader’s Lightsaber Battle Game, the Angry Birds Star Wars Early Angry Birds Package and the Angry Birds Star Wars Jabba’s Palace Battle Game.

The Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Death Star Game is available at your favourite toy store, even on

You can also get the other games based on Angry Birds Star Wars on as well.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Hasbro Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Wondrous Works of God

Wondrous Works of God
Written by Starr Meade
Published at Crossway

About the book

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!”
PSALM 107:8

9781433531583We want our children to know the God we love and worship, but communicating abstract truths about God can sometimes be difficult. It's good for us and for our children that God wants to be known. So he doesn’t simply tell us what he’s like; he shows us in the stories of the Bible.

As the sequel to Mighty Acts of God, this volume tells 90 more stories from the Bible, beginning with the account of God creating Eve and ending with the epic visions in Revelation. Each story highlights an aspect of God’s character and includes a helpful discussion guide to help the whole family see and understand the wondrous works of God!

My Thoughts

In 2010, I had the opportunity to review the book Mighty Acts of God from Starr Meade.  So imagine my delight when I received her newest book from Crossway not too long ago.  It is a marvelous hardcover book which can be used as a family Bible story book.   

Over 90 stories are contained in the book.  Stories from the Old and New Testaments.  Each story is based on specific Scriptures from the Bible which are highlighted at the beginning.  You can decide whether or not read these Scriptures but I strongly suggest that you do as it will give your child the habit of digging into the Bible.    Then you can read the story.   A specific scripture is also highlighted and I would like to suggest to repeat this one numerous times during the day.  When your child is very young, repetition is the way to learn.  When the child is older, ask him/her to repeat herself the words in an effort to instill memorization of the Scriptures.  At the end of the story, you will see a section titled “AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE…” which will encourage you to discuss and do things based on the story read.  

I have found on my homeschool journey that the best way of learning is the following: reading, listening, repeating and doing.   It applies also in our spiritual life at any age.    The illustrations in the book will also help your children to visualize the stories.   These illustrations are fabulously made and are bright in colors.   

Wondrous Works of God is the perfect book to give for a baby shower, a child dedication or a baby baptism.    It will provide great teaching opportunities for new parents who want to raise their child in the ways of God.   It is a precious book that will help you build the cornerstone of faith in your child.

Wondrous Works of God is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Disclaimer: Thanks to Crossway for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Coming Home

1581347561Coming Home
Written by Max Lucado
Published at Crossway

About the book

Twin brothers Arion and Argo are scared. They have spent most of their lives shipwrecked on the lonely, gray island of Terrene with their ship's captain, and now he is leaving and they cannot imagine life on Terrene without him. He is going to Bluestone, a place where the birds always sing and the grass is ever green. He tells them he is going to prepare a place for them in Bluestone. Then he will come back for them, and they will all go to Bluestone together.

Though Bluestone sounds like a wonderful place, the boys find it difficult to wait for the captain on Terrene. The island is so gray that it is hard for them to imagine the vibrant colors of Bluestone. Soon they grow tired of watching and waiting for their captain, and it is hard for them to remember his voice. Can they really believe that he will come back for them? To do so they must have faith-they must see with their hearts, not their eyes.

Will the captain really come back for Arion and Argo like he promised? And will the boys be ready for his return?

My thoughts

This book is an allegorical tale about the second coming of Jesus Christ.   We all know that Jesus has went to prepare a place for us in Heaven.  But how long will it take?   He can come anytime and all we have to do is to be prepare.  

Waiting can be hard.   How do you react when you have to wait longer than planned at the doctor’s office.  Most of us can get annoyed, angry and even loose our temper.    Still waiting is part of our earthly life as well as our spiritual life.   How do you live your life?   Do you look at the world and think that it isn’t that bad after all?  Do you pursue God on your daily activities?   Do you stop and think before engaging in some activity?   Do you think “Just this once….” when you know deep down that it isn’t what God require of you.

Our Lord always follow through in His promises to us and He will come back someday.   It is important that our children realized that and that God forgives our bad decisions as well.  This book will tell you about this.   However, I also realized that not everyone will be able to get into Heaven and I guess I would have expected seeing this in a more realistic way in the book.   The notion is there subtle – the creatures in the forest.   Still the lesson is there – be careful not to believe what others might tell you.   Stick to your Christian worldview and be prepare to stand strong in the midst of being bombarded with other ideas.

The book is an interesting adaptation on how Christ will come back to us one day.   The illustrations are stunning and the story written by a great teacher.   It would make a great addition to your family library.

Coming Home is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Disclaimer: Thanks to Crossway for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

C is for Christmas

SampleC is for Christmas – The History, Personalities, and Meaning of Christ’s Birth
Written by David W Wiersbe and Warren W. Wiersbe
Published at Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

About the book

The real meaning of Christmas from A to Z

Throughout the centuries so many traditions have woven themselves into the celebration of Christmas that it can be difficult to understand just what the season of Christ's birth is all about.

In C Is for Christmas, David and Warren Wiersbe cut through the fancy wrapping paper and pretty bows to give the background of the events surrounding Jesus' birth. They also explain the reasons for our various Christmas symbols and beliefs. From angels and Bethlehem to yuletide and Zechariah, the authors shed light on a wide variety of Christmas-related topics.

If you feel like something has been missing from your celebration of Christmas, the information in this unique collection is sure to deepen your appreciation for this beautiful season.

My Thoughts

Since Advent is just around the corner (it will start on December 2nd this year), I would like to present you what I consider to be the Advent devotional for adults.   This book is a guide  that will decorticate all that is Christmas related and explain the reasons for all the symbols we see during this season.   I have discover a jewel of a book that explains in clear details the whys and hows some things happened to become some of our most cherished Christmas traditions or decorations.  

Take the word Christmas for example.  I already knew that Christmas meant Christ’s Mass which was meant to referred to a special worship service held on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ.  The word appeared during the twelfth century and originates from the words Christes maesse.   But there is one thing I learned while reading about the word Christmas.   And here’s what the authors have taught me:

That the first syllable of Christmas comes from the word “Christ” is indisputable.  In Greek the name Christ is Χρίστος (christos).  The first letter looks like the English letter X.  Every vocation has its shorthand, and those in the church used the letter chi (X) to represent Christ in words that began with “Christ-“.  So “Xmas” is an honorable abbreviation for Christmas.  It was not intended to take Christ out of Christmas (although in these politically correct days some want to do just that).

Reading this, I pondered and wondered if people who are promoting Xmas knows about the signification of the X.   I suspect that it is not and it gives me a new perspective in how to react when I see Xmas.    Now, instead of being offended I will chose to praise my Lord and Saviour.   Now I will pray a quick prayer to say thank you to God for sending His son for me.  Now I will reflect on the humble beginning of Jesus in our world so many years ago.

It was also interesting to learn more about Bethlehem.   I won’t go into details for this word but did you know that Bethlehem means “house of bread”?   Knowing that Jesus is the Bread of Life, that we will never hunger when we have Him in our lives, it makes perfectly sense.    This something I didn’t know.

I know many homeschooling families will do Advent devotions with their kids this Christmas.   We will too.   But I have also decided that my personal morning devotions in December during Advent will be coming from this book.    I am looking forward to discover a new aspect of the Christmas season this year. 

If you are interested in learning more about the history, the personalities, and meaning of Christ’s birth, I strongly suggest that you get the book C is for Christmas this week-end and start reading it on your way to work or early in the morning during Advent.    I think you will enjoy it and grow in your faith at the same time.

C is for Christmas is available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, even and


The book is also available on Kindle.

Disclaimer: The book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Real Life Real Miracles

9780764210747Real Life Real Miracles – True stories that will help you believe
Written by James L. Garlow & Keith Wall
Published at Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

About the book

Is God Still Doing Miracles Today? Absolutely!

These real-life, credible stories of miraculous experiences, gathered by the authors of Miracles Are for Real, reveal that God is still very active in the world. Each gripping story is sure to encourage and inspire, offering hope and a sense of wonder.

• When Steve rolled his car, he should have been killed. Why didn't he die that day?
• Caleb and Penny moved to a poor part of town to serve their community. But when one group of neighbors makes and sells drugs, will God's angels protect them?
• Bob's MS was getting progressively worse. Could God heal such a debilitating disease?

Whether you've experienced God's miracles or aren't sure if you believe in them, explore fascinating true stories like these and many more. You'll be in awe of God's power as you get a glimpse of how he personally cares for each of his children--including you.

My Thoughts

Do you believe in miracles?   Do you think it happens right now in the 21st century in the North American church?   If not, you really need to read the stories in this book because they are mind blowing.   It will definitively change your perspective in whether or not God is at work in our lives.   I have read some of the stories and will continue to read them to uplift me when I feel discourage.  Like it or not, God is always with us in good times and bad times.  These stories will show you how God showed up in the worse circumstances when you should have lost hope but stuck on His promises.

The book contains over 30 stories that will open your eyes to the fact that God is still performing miracles to this day.  And these stories are not from people  in Asia or Africa where out-of-the-ordinary miracles happens – things like legs growing back where there were none before for example.   These stories are from people like you and me and will touch your heart and make your cry.  God is there with us ALL the time!

I believe in miracles.   I know for certain that we might be here today if God had not taken control of our vehicle as we were driving back from Northern Ontario one day.   You see it was a nice day and we were heading back home after spending some time with my husband family.   We had our Venture van back then and somehow my husband lost control of it.   We were sliding toward the other lane where vehicles were coming quite rapidly and toward the lake on the side of that other lane.   Somehow, the van went back to our lane without my husband doing anything to it and we were still alive.   God was with us.  He protected us and brought us back to the right path.  He took control of our van and brought it back on the road.   My husband stopped the vehicle and was shaking afterward but we were praising God for his rapid response to a very quick prayer.  Yes God is with us no matter what we are going through.  I could expand even further with example of His presence and blessings in our lives.    But this was the most amazing miracle we experience while driving.

I would suggest to take the stories one at a time so that you can ponder on His presence and His interactions in our lives.   The book will definitively show you that miracles do exists in North America in the 21st century.  You just need to be open to it.  Are you willing to read life changing stories?  If so, don’t hesitate to pick up Real Life Real Miracles.    I think you will like it.

Real Life Real Miracles is available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, even and


It is also available for the Kindle .

Disclaimer: The book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

The Sewing Book

9780756642808HThe Sewing Book – Clothes, Home Accessories, Best Tools, Step-by-step Techniques, Creative Projects
By Allison Smith
Published at DK Canada

About the book

This is the only sewing book you'll ever need. Every tool and every technique you require for making your own home furnishings or clothing is closely and sharply photographed, carefully annotated, and clearly explained.
The Tools section begins with the basic toolkit, opening up into everything you could possibly need – every type of cutting tool and machine foot is shown. This section also includes information on patterns – how to measure, how to use, and how to adjust them. Gallery spreads appear throughout the substantial Techniques section and showcase darts, zips, pleats, etc., as well as showing key stitches. Plus, you can bring your acquired and refined skills to fruition as you make some of the 25 home decor and clothing projects at the back of the book. With The Sewing Book on your shelf, you've got every sewing question covered.

Written by a passionate stitcher and teacher, with her own sewing school, eager to produce a one-stop sewing bible for her students, this book leaves no hem unturned. You can dip in at any level – whether you're new to sewing or refining your art, whether you want to repair an old skirt or create a new one, whether you want to spruce up a curtain or design one from scratch. And with a Foreword by U.S. sewing teacher, Diana Rupp, this book has it all sewn up.

My Thoughts

One thing I want to do in 2013 is to discover all the possibilities I have in sewing with my Brother SQ9050.   Recently, I have stepped into the adventure with small projects intended for the Maplelea Girls Doll Léonie that my daughter will receive for her birthday.SQ9050_1_L  And I am impressed by what I have done so far with the machine but I want to be able to make much more with it – like dresses for Jasmine or placemats or PJ pants for my boys.    So to re-learn how to sew (because it has been numerous years since I did it….) I asked DK Canada if I could get The Sewing Book which seemed to be the book to have.  

Well after perusing in it, I think that whoever interesting in sewing should have a copy in their house.  Because like it or not, there is always something to learn when sewing – anyway that’s my opinion.  The book is packed with tips and tricks, techniques as well as projects to do with your sewing machine.    There are three sections in the book – Tools, Techniques, Projects.

In the Tools section, you will be introduced to the equipment needed to do your project, the fabrics and the patterns. I will read this introduction section very carefully to understand the various fabrics and how to work with patterns.    Then you have the possibility to learn various techniques in sewing – darts, tucks, pleats, gathers, facing, necklines, collars, waistlines, belts, tie-backs, sleeves, sleeve finishes, pockets, hems, edges, fasteners, lining, interfacing, mending and professional techniques.   This section probably covers everything you will need to know depending what you are doing as a project.  

Finally there is the Projects section which will provide your with a directory of fashion and home goods likes shirts, tops, blouses, cardigans, sweaters, vests, skirts, dresses, pants, shorts, jackets, coats, pillows, blinds, and curtains.    I would love to make more pillows for our living room as well as curtains for our basement windows.    I have plans to make skirts and dresses as well as pajama pants for the kids.     I only have to find a reasonable place to purchase fabrics.  Recently, someone directed me toward which I intend to explore more carefully in a near future.

If you plan to purchase a sewing machine for someone in your life and that person is a beginner, this book would be a great reference to have.   Also the book is perfect for a more advance sewer as it will give you more techniques to try out.  

The Sewing Book is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Tacos, Quesadillas, and Burritos

9781849752152Tacos, Quesadillas, & Burritos
Written by Laura Washburn
published at Ryland Peters & Small

About the book

If you think tacos are greasy, unhealthy fast food – think again. In her exciting new book, Laura Washburn will show you that tacos are so much more than minced beef and grated cheese in a crispy shell; they include fresh, tasty ingredients that are good for you. Tacos, burritos and quesadillas hail from Mexico and traditional recipes generally involve long- simmered meat or poultry, topped with crispy vegetables, wrapped or sealed in a soft flour or corn tortilla and served with a dollop of spicy salsa. It is street food par excellence and as the trend has grown, so have the options for fillings. This book offers a collection of recipes for taco, quesadilla and burrito fillings, with a good selection of contemporary twists to get you hooked on the taco-making and eating craze. Ideas for Tacos include Chipotle Chicken and Ancho Chilli- Roasted Butternut. More substantial Burritos include Chorizo, Bean and Pepper or Chicken Mole. Quesadillas are perfect for sharing – try a Ham and Egg Breakfast Quesadilla. Also included are ideas for Sides & Salsas as, often, a taco is only as good as the extra bits you add to it, such as Guacamole, Tomatillo Salsa and Baja Slaw.

My Thoughts

We love Mexican food.   Anytime we can make some we do.   But sometimes the problem is that we are always doing the same recipes.   So when I saw this title I didn’t hesitate one minute and requested it to review.  This book is small and sport a hardcover binding.  The book contains four sections appropriately titled Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Sides + Salsa.  

In it you will find recipes to help you create different types of tacos, burritos, quesadillas as well as salsa and side dishes for your Mexican meal.   Each recipe comes with detailed instructions and list of ingredients as well as a mouth watering picture of the dish completed.  Whether the recipe is for breakfast, lunch or supper time, you will have ideas to develop new flavours in your mouth and discover a new side of Mexican dishes. 

The book is a perfect idea for the cook in your life as a stocking surprise or to encourage your family to expand their taste buds in 2013.    I challenge you to try something new during the new year – why not new Mexican recipes with Tacos, Quesadillas, & Burritos?

Tacos, Quesadillas, & Burritos is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

The Hobbit

9780547928227The Hobbit
Written by J.R.R. Tolkien
Published at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

About the book

Now a major motion picture
A great modern classic and the prelude to THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

My Thoughts

In honor of the upcoming movie The Hobbit The Unexpected Journey (part 1) coming out in theaters on December 14th, I have requested to review the newest edition of The Hobbit from .

I have started reading the book with the kids after we have done all essential school work and they love it.   We sit down in the living room and proceed to get projected into the world of Bilbo and his friends.   The kids always want to know what will happen next when I completed on chapter.  Unfortunately for them, my throat is dry by that time and I think that keeping the suspense is perfect because they look forward about our time together to discover the adventures the characters are living.  

This book is definitively a classic.   I remember reading it in French when I was younger.   I enjoyed it and was looking forward to read it again.   However, this time I am reading it in English and with my kids. Deep down I hope and pray that this book will become a classic that they will re-read again in the future.    Knowing that the movie is coming up, my oldest son keeps telling me that he wants to see the movie.   I think we will start with the Lord of the Rings which we have already at home.   The Hobbit is the prequel of the series The Lord of the Rings.

I highly recommend this book to everyone.   If you have never read it, you have to discover this story.   It is  simply fabulous (though sometimes the names or English is written bizarrely) and it will keep you entertained from cover to cover.   This book would be a fabulous birthday or Christmas gift for a young person in your life.   Encourage someone to read and get this book.  

The Hobbit is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even and


It is also available on the Kindle.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Smithsonian Super Nature Encyclopedia

9780756697938HSmithsonian Super Nature Encyclopedia – The 100 most incredible creatures on the planet
From DK Canada

About the book

How can a cheetah accelerate from zero to forty miles per hour in three seconds? How do termites build cooling systems into their homes? What is that Alien-like set of jaws in a moray eel's mouth for? These questions and more are explored in Super Nature Encyclopedia, an interactive look at the "wow" factor of the natural world — spotlighting Great White Sharks, African Elephants, Emperor Moths, Howler Monkeys and more of the world's most fascinating and surprising animals in remarkable detail. Visualized with incredible 3D animal models with cross-sections and strip layers, readers can explore every essential detail of the animals' anatomical features and learn why their bodies work the way they do.

My Thoughts

Something they want

Something they need

Something to wear

Something to read

This is a wonderful way of covering Christmas don’t you think.  I saw it on Pinterest recently and trust me that I love the idea of reducing the quantities of things under the Christmas tree.    One thing I always done was to give books to the kids at any age they were.  This year, I am planning to give this marvelous book to my son who adores animals.   He has a special gift with all creatures and I think he will enjoy this book very much.  

The book will present to you a variety of animals from the various species existing on earth – mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. In each section you will discover the ones who will have the most amazing anatomy, the animal athletes, the life stories of some animals as well as the supernatural senses they might have.  Each section will also highlights the record-breakers that exist around the planet.


Each animal has a stats and facts that will give you interesting information about is, an at a glance section which will highlights the size,habitat, location and diet of the animal as well as close up photos of it.  Depending of the animal presented, you could also get some 3D animal models or drawing that will help you understand a specific aspect of the creature.   For example,  take the woodpecker – a bird that is commonly seen everywhere during the summer.   Even when you don’t see it, you can hear his tock-tock-tock as he is looking for food in the tree.    Did you know that a woodpecker’s skull is made of spongy bone that absorbs the vibrations has he makes holes?   The brain sits very tightly inside the skull to stop it from bouncing off the bone when the bill strikes.    And to protect it even more, there are dense muscles in the neck that will divert the impact away from the brain.  

While going through the book, I also learned that the basilisk lizard – also known as the Jesus Christ lizard – can run on water because the bubbles under its feet help to keep it afloat.     This lizard is apparently the heaviest water-walking animal on earth.   I love animals too and I have discovered fascinating information while reading this book.  I would highly recommend it to all homeschoolers as well as every one else.   This book is a great addition to your personal library and will keep your kids busy in learning fun things about the animals found on the planet.

So this Christmas season, why not provide an educational book to kids in your life.  The Smithsonian Super Nature Encyclopedia is a fabulous book that would make a great gift.

The Smithsonian Super Nature Encyclopedia is also available in the ebook version on iTunes for the price of 4.99$.

The Smithsonian Super Nature Encyclopedia is available at your favourite bookstore, even and

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Stocking Ideas from Hasbro Canada


Do you wonder what you could put in the stocking of your kids on Christmas?   I know that sometimes it is hard to do… putting a CD, DVD, or a Wii game seems too much even though they fit perfectly in there.   Oh sure you can put chocolate and candies but what about a cute surprise?  Well you are in luck this year because Hasbro Canada is offering numerous ideas for the Christmas stocking this year.

Here are some ideas that Hasbro has sent me.



Team up with your favourite neighborhood Super Hero for countless adventures! No matter what mischievous villains he meets, your hero is always ready to save the day!

It’s an incredible matchup of power and wit! With these 2-packs, the power to decide who shall emerge victorious is in the palm of your hand!

2-pack of figures comes with tear-away character card.   Each pack sold separately. Styles may vary.


TONKA CHUCK & FRIENDS Die-Cast Metal Figures Assortment

Chuck and his friends are ready for any adventure you can imagine. There’s no challenge they can’t tackle!

These chunky little die cast metal figures are sized just right for little hands and look like the adorable characters from THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK & FRIENDS! They're tough and speedy and they're ready for big jobs and big races - and you’re just the buddy they need succeed!

Each sold separately. Styles may vary.

imageBEYBLADE Basic Battle Top Assortment

Collect, customize and compete with BEYBLADE PERFORMANCE TOP SYSTEM spinning battle tops!

Each top is sold separately and includes 5-piece top, left-spin RIPCORD LAUNCHER, instructions, collector card and assembly tool. Styles may vary.

imageANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS Mystery Bagsimage

The ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS app comes to life! This line of Hasbro toys captures all the launching and destroying fun of the app in physical form and features your favorite STAR WARS characters re-imagined as high-flying ANGRY BIRDS and villainous pigs! For a surprise, pick up the Mystery Bags (each sold separately), which offer two figures - the perfect way to build up your collection of ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS characters! Look for these exclusive figures found only in Mystery Bags: HAN SOLO Bird (in Carbonite) and WEDGE ANTILLES Bird.

Pack includes 2 figures.

imageKRE-O TRA KREON MICRO-CHANGERS Assortment (Blind Bags)

When KREON figures meet the TRANSFORMERS brand, the result is MICRO-CHANGERS! These amazing KREON figures have 2 modes, just like the mighty TRANSFORMERS robots – but their identities are a secret! Which one of the 6 possible MICRO-CHANGERS figures will you get? There's only one way to find out!

Each figure sold separately. Styles may vary.


ATTACK AND DEFEND TO SINK THE ENEMY FLEET! It’s all of the fun of the classic BATTLESHIP game, with exciting card play action! Play peg cards to hunt down hidden enemy ships, while your opponent does the same. Boost your attack and defense with special cards and ship powers. Be first to sink the enemy fleet, and you win the game!

Contents: 76 playing cards, 4 reference cards and rules.

For 2 players.


LITTLEST PET SHOP Get The Pets Singles A Assortment

Adorable, wide-eyed pet comes ready to play with a special accessory for hours and hours of pet-lovin' fun! WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. Ages 4 and up.

imageMONOPOLY Millionaire Deal Game

It’s a brand new way to play the classic property trading game! Be the first in this card game to get a million dollars in your bank pile and win MONOPOLY Millionaire Deal! Pick up cards when it’s your turn and play any combination of Money, Action and Property cards. Don’t hesitate to steal a property or set of properties from another player if you get the right action cards, but hang on to the Just Say No card in case someone tries to do the same to you! Build up property sets, gather piles of money and keep wheeling and dealing to make that million!

Includes 106 cards, 4 Quick Start cards and instructions.

For 2 to 5 players.

MY LITTLE PONY Mystery Pony Figure Assortmentimage

Which beautiful pony figure is in this bag? There’s only one way to find out! You could get any one of 24 different ponies, and you won’t know which one it is until you open it. Will it be PINKIE PIE®? SUGAR GRAPE™? FIZZYPOP™? Each pony figure comes with a collector card, and you can collect all 24!   Includes pony figure and collector card.

I really like the variety that is available from Hasbro Canada when it comes to ideas for the kids stocking.   You can also find special Play-Doh packages as well as Barrel of Monkeys games at your favourite toy store.  I do have some favourites though.   I will admit that I really like Littlest Pet Shop items (always hoped to have a girl to get some of these!  *grin*) and dream of one day to get the ladybug one…  what can I say after all I am the Canadianladybug…   The Kre-O Trasnformers would be nice for the boys to play with the Kre-O blocks that they already own.   The Super-Hero figurines would be nice for our comic collection.   The Battleship card game would be a nice way of playing an older game in a different way.    The Angry Birds package will be a HUGE hit in my house as my kids really enjoy the Angry Birds apps and are delighted that mom had gotten the Star Wars one…   And finally, the other day my oldest son mentioned that he would love to get another Beyblade because one of his as lost a piece.   So he will be surprised with a new Beyblade this year.

If you are like me and always wonder what you could put in the stocking of your kids I would strongly suggest that you check out what Hasbro Canada has to offer to you.  You will be pleasantly surprised and find quite a bit for every boy or girl on your list.

Happy Christmas Shopping!


Marvel The Amazing Spider-Man R/C Speed Climbing Spider-Man

4C17B9FD5056900B104AE87881C6167CMarvel The Amazing Spider-Man R/C Speed Climbing Spider-Man
From Hasbro Canada

About the toy

Send your Spidey up the wall after villains with this fast-climbing figure! When you point the controller at him and press the buttons, he climbs up, down, left and right, even upside down! Put him on smooth, clean, dry surfaces like windows and his mini-vacuums help him stick to the surface. Then guide the wall-crawling action with the controller! Watch how fast he scales the walls in pursuit of the bad guys. The power to make him go is right in the palm of your hand!   Controller requires 4 "AA" batteries (not included).

Our Thoughts

I have boys who love anything and everything comic character related.   They particularly love Spider-Man so when I saw this remote-control toy on the Hasbro Holiday Flyer, I thought it would be nice to get one to review.   The first thing that struck me when I opened the box was the lightness of the toy.  It is almost a bit fragile if not handle carefully by a child.   But the lightness of the character is necessary for it to climb on walls.

The controller needed batteries in order to work.  So I inserted the four required batteries and decided to charge the Spider-Man right away.  The Spider-Man itself has a switch button to put it on.  Right away the vacuum starts and you can place the toy on the wall.  It really stays there without any help about from the vacuum which is a bit noisy.   So I took the controller and proceeded to “walk” the Spider-Man up and down the wall.   It was fun and definitively out-of-the-ordinary.    The charge works for about 15 minutes then you will need to recharge the Spider-Man to the controller in order to play with it again. 


Seeing the Spider-Man crawling on the wall of my bedroom, I got reminded of my oldest son who decided one day to climb the walls when he was 8 1/2 years old.  He thought it was hilarious…. 


The Amazing Spider-Man R/C Speed Climbing Spider-Man is a out-of-the-ordinary gift to give to the boy in your life.  Like I mentioned the charge time is about 15 minutes but I suspect that your son will find new territories to explore with Spider-Man once it is fully recharged…  

The Amazing Spider-Man R/C Speed Climbing Spider-Man is available for purchase at your favourite toy store, even at

Disclaimer: Thanks to Hasbro Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Rubik Race

board-gameRubik’s Race

About the game

A fast paced game for two players to get your brain and fingers racing. Shake the scrambler and go head to head with your opponent to shift and slide the tiles to be the first to make the 3x3 centre match the pattern.

Our Thoughts

One frisky Sunday evening, my husband and I opened this game to play with.   The game is quite easy to set up.  However, I find that the base will unhook itself every once in a while. 

Once you have set up the game – base and tiles,  you can now shake the mini cube in order to determine what colors you will have to place in the middle of your play area.  So our challenge were the following colors…


So the challenge was on.   As fast as you can, you need to reproduce the same colors in the middle of your play area.  The sides around it do not count…   So with rapid fingers and quick thinking, you need to be the first one to complete the challenge.


Once you have completed it, you need to bring the Rubik’s Race window down to indicate that you have finished.


The Rubik’s Race game is quite fast and will challenge you to be quick both in your thinking and your fingers.    We played five games that night and my husband won four of them.   I need to practice more often to be faster than him.    Once we had both completed the challenge but he was quicker to bring the windows down. 

This game is quite entertaining even though it is rapid.   You can easily play numerous games in a row.  Though I suspect that players would be tired of it after 20 minutes or so.   However, I find this game perfect to develop rapidity, quick thinking, and friendly competition.  

I would recommend this game for everyone.   It is a great game for kids and adults.   You can adapt this game to homeschool as well as it is great for 5 years old and up.  

The game is also available on iTunes for 0.99$.

Available on the Rubik’s official website or on

Disclaimer: Thanks to Orca Communications for sending the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

AppDrive AppFinity

From AppToyz
Available through SpinMaster

About the product

Get behind the wheel of the ultimate driving simulator! Using patented touch pad technology, the AppDrive puts you right in the race! Your iOS device’s gyroscope delivers 100% authentic steering control as you tilt, twist and turn your way through every race! 4 console buttons deliver shifting, breaking, drifting and more! Customize each one while your race through popular licensed and non-licensed games. Whether it’s stock cars, planes or motocross, AppDrive puts you behind the wheel!

My Thoughts

After the AppBlaster and the AppFishing, here comes the AppDrive.  Last year, when we reviewed the AppBlaster, my husband was quite impressed with the possibilities of the blaster and the games.  Since then we have discovered new products from AppToys which are distributed through SpinMaster.    I tried the AppDrive, while everyone else were busy with other things in the house on Sunday afternoon.    I must admit that I always was challenged with driving games and I think I will always be challenged with them.  Somehow, it looks as though I prefer the off the road trips…   Nevertheless, I have a good understanding on how the game works and how the AppDrive will help the player to enjoy his ride.

Essentially, the AppDrive is a device that looks like a wheel and your challenge is to drive whatever vehicle the game you have selected will offer.  You can insert an iPhone, iPod or an android device inside the wheel to play the game.    Check the box to make sure that your device is supported with it.


Once you start the game,you are in for a ride!   The game I tried was 2XL MX Offroad which is a game with a four-wheeler that you need to control.  As I mentioned before, I am not gifted with this type of games on the iPod.   However, I enjoyed the graphics and the fact that I could control the four-wheeler myself.  You also have the possibility of choosing the vehicle and the driver.   You can go backward or forward as well as control the direction of the vehicle.   If you hit a tree your drive will be ejected and thrown in the air.   Sometimes,my drive also got squished under the vehicle itself.   But there was no blood whatsoever in the game which is great if you ask me.   I would have no hesitation whatsoever to let my kids play with it.


Even though I am more challenge than my kids would be for this sort of game, I have enjoyed driving my four-wheeler and explore the surroundings.   Did I made any jump?  No as I quickly got lost in the woods…   Did I hit some trees?  You bet.   But I am willing to persevere and become better – though I suspect that I am better an puzzle games and quest types of games…

 Asphalt 7 and 2XL MX Offroad are free apps that can be downloaded anytime via iTunes.   Other apps that will work with the AppDrive are 2XL Supercross HD, Ricky Carmichael’s Motocross Matchup Pro, and the 2XL Trophylite Rally HD.

The AppDrive will provide tons of fun for anyone who love driving games.  The fact that it simulates a wheel makes it even more interesting.  It would be a great birthday or Christmas gift for someone who likes this sort of games and owns a device that is supported.

AppDrive is available at your favourite toy store, even on

Disclaimer: Thanks to SpinMaster for sending the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Atari Arcade

Atari Arcadeimage
From Discovery Bay Games

About the product

Atari Arcade - Duo Powered lets you relive the fast-action excitement of all your Atari favorites—such as Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command—on your iPad. With its joystick and buttons, Atari Arcade lets you experience arcade games exactly the way they were meant to be played.

My Thoughts

While our kids go to Awana on Thursday nights, we try to find things to do together.  Often, we will go visit my in-laws this year but other times we take the hour and a half to do some grocery shopping.  One Thursday night about a month ago, we were at Wal-Mart to get a few things as well as check out a few things.    Near the toy section, there was part of the aisle dedicated to games based on the iPad and my husband saw the Atari Arcade.   He immediately thought it was  super cool and jockingly said to me “You should try to review this…” 

The next day, I emailed the company to see if it could be possible to review it as well as the Duo Pinball.  They agreed and sent me both of them.    I was very excited about this opportunity and waiting patiently (as much as I could…) to get the package.   He never asked me if I emailed them or not.    And I want to keep this a surprise.  

The packaging of the box has been thought so that the device doesn’t move around it.    Check out the Atari Arcade and its design below.


What I particularly like is the there are two switches on the side of the device that will help you secure the iPad when it is inserted in the Atari Arcade.    The control as well as the button are easy to handle and perfect for little and big hands.  Once you have inserted your iPad in it, you are ready to play.


I had downloaded the Atari’s Greatest Hits before unpacking the game and immediately loaded the game to try it out.  IMG_5986

Ataris’s Greatest Hits is the game that you can download for free on iTunes.   Be aware though that it’s free for the first game and if you want to unlock all the other ones (99 of them to be exact), you will have to pay 9.99$.  These 99 games are part of the classics from Atari 2600 and arcade games that you might have played in your youth.   Games like Asteroids which I excelled back in the days.   When I met my husband more than 15 years ago, I discovered that he still had the original Atari platform with numerous games including Asteroids.   I told him I was pretty good at it but he didn’t really believe me.   However, he recognized my skills when we played one day together.  He was impressed…   So I can tell you one thing.  When I give him this Atari Arcade at Christmas, I will also include an iTunes card so we can purchase the 99 games to play and have fun.  

Through the Atari Arcade device for the iPad and the Atari’s Greatest Hits app, you will relive the Golden Age of Gaming with a collection of the most popular retro games from the 70s and 80s.   This extensive catalog pays homage to each of the originals, with controls designed to mimic what Atari fans remember from 30 years ago!   Literally!   I never really played Missile Command when we had an Atari at home when I was younger but the graphics on the game I tried with the Atari Arcade were just like the game I used to play.   The Atari Arcade is easy to use and will bring tons of fun in your family.   If you want your kids to experience classic gaming experience, this device and its app are fabulous for this.   My kids are used to play with the Wii and I am quite impressed to see how Nintendo has improved their games since I had one in my 20s.   But this fun little arcade which fits the iPad in is a gem in disguise as it will bring my husband and I on a trip through time.   I look forward to see his face when he unwraps it on Christmas morning.  This Atari Arcade will also help my kids to develop a keep sense of strategy based on old games.   It will also work as a trip in history when playing with old games.   I could even ask my oldest to write a report on how gaming has evolved since the 70s.    (Yes I am sneaky sometimes…)  

If you have experience the Atari games back in the 70s or 80s and you have enjoyed it, this Atari Arcade will bring back memories to you.   If you have a love one who still has his old Atari device in the basement but also plays with games on his iPad, this would be a great gift for him this Christmas.    Whether for Christmas or a birthday celebration, the Atari Arcade will make a great gift to someone passionate about the old ways of playing games.

The Atari Arcade is available at your favourite toy store near you.   It is also available through the Apple Store or on

Disclaimer: Thanks to Discovery Bay for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.