Win a Copy of SING Special Edition on DVD or Blu-ray, out now! #SingMovie #ad #SingSquad

This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Good news! SING Special Edition is now available on Blu-ray & DVD. If you haven’t seen it, now is the perfect time. Grab a copy and have a movie night with the family!

If you don’t know much about the movie yet, SING is a wonderful, funny, heartwarming film with great music and a fantastic cast. My son loved it, and is so excited to have his own copy. He has watched it about a zillion times now, and he said it’s one of his favorites.

Pick up a copy of the SING Special Edition Blu-ray in stores for your next family movie night, it’s the perfect movie for everyone. Do you watch “American Idol” or “The Voice” or any of those? If so, you will really enjoy it. We don’t watch a lot of singing shows, but we still thought this was a fun one.
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Winter Fun at Okemo

Is your family’s idea of the perfect holiday gift several feet of fresh powder beneath their feet? At a time of year when cabin fever attacks, the freedom and exhilaration in skiing is the perfect antidote. When you drive up with your folks or the kids, you want the rest of your vacation to be spent having fun – not more driving around. A resort with all the amenities to please everyone fits the bill: Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont.  We had a great time checking out all that the resort had to offer- and there was quite a bit to do.

ski vermont

Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, they offer 8 different styles of accommodations – many with ski in-out availability. Choices range from classic mountain lodge rooms to multiple options for larger families – perfect for those family reunions.

At Jackson Gore Inn, thoughtful amenities like deep soaking tubs to loosen up sore muscles after a run down the slopes. An indoor pool and game arcade keep the kids occupied during inclement weather or after skiing.
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Poochy And Yoshi’s Woolly World for 3DS

yoshi and poochy

Yarn Yoshi is back, and this time he has brought his woolly buddy Poochy, in Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World.  Kamek the magikoopa has changed everyone into wool, Yoshi and Poochy are here to save the day.  This game is a retelling of Yoshi Woolly World on the Wii U, which includes over 55 levels of fun and also adds some new Poochy levels.  Every level has a craft feel, where enemies are yarn-abes and each texture and item is also craft based.

There is also an ability to enter Mellow Mode, where Yoshi sports his signature wings and can float about, and adds Poochy’s 3 little puppies to help find secrets and hidden passages.  This game is great for players of all ages, where experienced players will try to collect all the items available while beginners will be happy to beat each level.  New to this version are collectable pencil stamps which add materials to use in craft mode.  Craft mode is where you can create your own Yoshi patterns using various colors and materials gathered during game play.  You can make any pattern you like from a favorite sports team to a super hero costume design.  These Yoshi can then be shared as well.  Another neat feature is Yoshi feature, where you can watch animated shorts based on Yoshi and Poochy’s adventures.
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Does Adventure Call Your Name? We hope so!

Guest Post by Janet Fogg and Dave Jackson

co/authors of Misfortune Annie and the Locomotive Reaper

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If adventure does call your name, pull up a horse for a wild ride with Misfortune Annie—the fastest draw in the 1880s west—at age 15!

What’s compelling to us is that a hero like Misfortune Annie truly could have existed. The real Annie Oakley fought amongst the toughest of wranglers and bested many a man in shooting contests. In fact, while still a teen, Annie Oakley earned enough money to pay off the mortgage on her mother’s farm.

To properly tell the origin of our Annie, we should travel back to the initial spark—George Lucas and the Indiana Jones series. It’s widely known by many Lucas fans that a rugged archaeologist character first showed up in old matinee serials, and George dusted him off for a new generation of movie lovers. When hoping to develop a story concept and character that could give Indy a run for his money, we found ourselves pondering the cowboy genre. Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, Gene Autry—they were huge! Perhaps our new star should have a catchy name and signature duds. He would wear a ten-gallon hat and Levi jacket. But fate threw in a wildcard.

On Christmas vacation several years ago, nearly asleep behind the wheel through flat old Kansas, Dave passed a sign that boasted, “Annie Oakley Museum.” Jolted awake, he realized he had our new hero, a tough and tenacious teen, a cowgirl known by a memorable moniker.

Not only could we hopefully create a memorable hero, one to delight the young and the young at heart, we intended to focus on a somewhat lacking niche in middle-grade/YA fiction—an action hero for girls.

As storyboarding for the first book progressed, we carefully considered our villain. The era of the Wild West merges well with and complements Steampunk, so our villain evolved into a mad scientist, a mechanical engineer bent on revenge. Research into the technology of the 1880s—blimps and electricity—sealed the Locomotive Reaper’s powers.

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Q&A with John Martin and Scott Seegert Creators of SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH #SciFiJuniorHigh

A look at the authors who wrote the book Sci -Fi Junior High- you can also enter to win a copy HERE.

1. Collaboration between two artists, especially a successful one, is a rare partnership. How did the two of you meet? What inspired you to collaborate?

Scott: We met the same way all great literary duos throughout history have—through our daughters playing travel softball together. When I discovered that John had all the same childhood influences I did, and could actually draw, working together on children’s books seemed like a no-brainer. Which is perfect for us.

2. What is the inspiration behind Kelvin and SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH? Did one or both of you always dream of going to school in outer space?

John: I had no dream of going to school in outer space. However, when I was a kid, I created a comic strip of a martian borrowing sugar from his astronaut neighbor in space. Scott and I wanted to collaborate with a middle school concept. For SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH, I suggested the story title and a basic premise that involved many types of creature students. Then Scott went to town developing the story alongside some of my character sketches. I do believe that our inspiration for Kelvin and his family is based slightly on the Robinson family in Lost in Space. Throw a bit of Charlie Brown and Looney Tunes into the mix, and voilà: SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH.

Scott: We like creating stories filled with as many bizarre creatures, strange locations, wacky gizmos, and oddball characters as possible, because that’s what we couldn’t get enough of when we were kids. Our first book series, VORDAK THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE, dealt with the superhero/supervillain world, which fit the bill perfectly. SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH takes that up another notch, what with the entire universe and its contents at our disposal.

3. What are your writing and drawing routines like? Do you work together, separately, or a combination of both?

Scott: John’s studio and my office are located right next to each other in an eclectic old former electric trolley power station. We even have a “secret” door between our two spaces, allowing for top-secret middle grade book concepts to be passed back and forth away from the scrutiny of prying eyes. The close proximity really allows us to work as a team, more so than a lot of other duos, I would assume. We’ll brainstorm the main points of emphasis, and then I’ll begin the writing process and

John will work on character concepts and creating the feel of the world. Sometimes, I’ll have a specific look for a character or device in mind and John will sketch it up.

Other times he’ll show me some crazy thing he came up with and I’ll work it into the story. It’s a pretty loose system. There was one character I particularly liked—a bunny wearing goggles and a jetpack. We turned him into a plushy and made him the book’s villain.

John: Scott has named most of the characters, with a few exceptions, such as our main villain, Erik Failenheimer, who is based on a suggestion of mine. I changed our bully’s character design look based on Scott’s name. We even have a few co-named characters in the book.

4. What do you hope children will take away from this story?

Scott: Two things: first, don’t worry about trying to impress everybody. It’s okay to just be yourself. People (or, in this case, six-eyed aliens and giant talking slugs) will still like you—at least the ones worth having as friends. Secondly, we hope kids just have a blast reading it. We try our best to have something exciting or ridiculous or weird to read or look at on pretty much every page. We want even the most reluctant reader to keep turning the page to see what absurdness comes next.

John: We also feel that James Patterson is a perfect partner for us. He is “dedicated to making kids readers for life.” Hopefully this crazy-zany story will be a big part in making that happen!

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Five Family Friendly Destinations for 2017

It always takes a little extra thought to plan a holiday when you have kids. Long gone are the days when you could jet off at nary a day’s notice. As parents, we need to make sure any destination is child-friendly and suitable for the whole family. But taking some extra time doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best destinations that the world has to offer. In fact, why not make a point this year to take the family on an adventure somewhere new? To help offer some inspiration here are five super places you should consider for a holiday in 2017.

Cape Verde

If you’ve ever fanciest taking the family to see the natural beauty of the Canary Islands, but were put off by the high-rise hotels and throngs of tourists, then Cape Verde is for you. With all the beauty and more of the nearby Spanish archipelago, Cape Verde makes a fantastic alternative to Tenerife and Lanzarote. The laid-back African island nation offers some of the finest unspoilt beauty you’ll find anywhere. Across its ten islands you’ll discover stunning beaches like Mindelo beach on São Vicente, ordramatic mountains like as Pico do Fogo on Fogo island. The island’s beguiling culture blends Portuguese and African influences and is worth visiting for in its own right.

Ibiza

Don’t doubt this Balearic Island’s family-friendly credentials. Ibiza may conjure up images of super-clubs and party beaches, but this multi-faceted Mediterranean gem has plenty to offer children. The island’s beaches are worth the plane ticket on their own, and there are enough of them that it can feel like you have one each! Visit Cala Llentrisca to enjoy some seafront seclusion, or take the wee ones to Cala Tarida for a more activity filled day by the beach. If lounging in the sun gets to much, then why not take the kids zorbing, or on a trip to one of the island’s waterparks? After that take a trip to the colorful Hippy Market in El Cana to pick up some mementos of the trip.
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Radiators: An Exciting Prospect?

In today’s fast paced world of interior design, radiators are now (maybe surprisingly) the must-have essential in any home. Gone are the days of standard, run-of-the-mill items which were meant purely for practical purposes, as in their place are stunning centerpieces which not only provide warmth and heat, but look absolutely beautiful too.

These previously innocuous, rather cumbersome objects have been given a complete overhaul, and do not need to be hidden from view by unattractive radiator coverings. The era of the traditional radiator-typically an underperforming, clunky piece of metal, is now over. Designs have naturally advanced into more stylish, modern creations, and this began initially with the introduction of towel warmers in the bathroom.

Once homeowners start upgrading one room, they then think of ways in which to improve other areas of their property. And this is why there are so many different styles and shades to choose from when it comes to contemporary radiators. Plain, uninspiring single panels have been substituted by slim, lightweight multi-panels. Finishes such as brushed chrome, mirror and matt colored metals introduced consumer interest, and radiators experienced a massive resurgence.

Perhaps the most notable of all are mock-Victorian style radiators, as they contrast particularly well in all types of settings. From industrial-inspired rooms to minimalist town center apartments, any kind of property will benefit from the inclusion of these highly desirable household items. The radiators of today come in such a variety of shapes and colors, so there is plenty to choose from if you are searching for something which perfectly complements the décor of your living quarters.

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Win 6 months of Hulu to celebrate The Powerpuff Girls #PowerpuffOnHulu #ad #RealLifePowerpuff

This post is in partnership with Hulu. All opinions are my own.

Hulu is celebrating the launch of The Powerpuff Girls by highlighting amazing girls across the country!

These #RealLifePowerpuff girls are doing rad things and inspiring others along the way, whether working in the fields of science or sports, or doing great things for their families and community. Do you have an awesome, inspiring young girl in your life? Share your #RealLifePowerpuff girl by posting a photo or video of them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag it with #RealLifePowerpuff and #Contest. Don’t forget to include what makes her awesome and they might get shared and enter you to win a special PPG prize! Visit the official website for more information.

The #RealLifePowerpuff contest is currently running as of this post, read all Terms & Conditions here.

Rad, amazing, inspiring young women come from all walks of life and one of the most exciting are in the field of physics.  There is one young woman who built a working airplane at the age of 14, her name is Sabrina Pasterski and she is one to watch for.  She has already graduated MIT with a 5.0 GPA and is working on her doctorate as well as written multiple scientific papers.  Sabrina has given talks at Princeton, Harvard (including the Faculty Conference), MIT, and Forbes Summit Philadelphia. Apart from NASA showing interest in Sabrina, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and aerospace developer and manufacturer of Blue Origin, has also offered her a job.  She is currently researching black holes, gravity and space-time, areas of study tackled by Einstein and Hawking before her.  She is one to keep an eye out for because she will be making some huge discoveries and answering some very big questions in the coming years.
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