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happymama RSS Feed (Arizona)

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Frugal Living: Powerful Frugal Living, Money Management, and Personal Finance Advice for A Debt Free Living (frugal living, Frugal living advice, frugal ... living, personal finances, budget planner)
Frugal Living: Powerful Frugal Living, Money Management, and Personal Finance Advice for A Debt Free Living (frugal living, Frugal living advice, frugal ... living, personal finances, budget planner)
Price: $2.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spend Less 101, January 18, 2014
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This was a very quick read. A very basic guide to spending less, but I wouldn't call it "frugal." If you already know that budgeting requires math, spend less than you make, and follow simple rules of people like Dave Ramsey, you really don't need to read this. I was looking for more creative ways to spend less, but this book only suggested things like making sure you turn the lights off when you leave a room and figure out how to change the oil in your car yourself (which, by the way, isn't always cheaper). Plus, the amount of typos in the kindle version made it difficult for me to take this book seriously.

No Title Available

64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are expecting "magic" don't get it. Otherwise, a really fun toy!, November 21, 2013
I purchased this at Target for $25, and it's certainly not worth a penny more than that. And considering all the sketchy reviews, I would recommend purchasing it somewhere local where you can easily return it if you have problems. My daughter begged and begged for this for her Fifth birthday and considering it was fairly small and reasonably priced, we obliged. We are quite pleased with this toy, but keep a few things in mind before purchasing.

First of all, you HAVE to read the instructions. It's not the most simple toy to operate, but as long as you follow the directions exactly you shouldn't have a problem getting her to work properly. If you are giving this as a gift you MUST get it out of the package first to charge the batteries and make sure you can maneuver it and show your child how to work it.

The recommended age for this toy is 5 or older. It is cheaply made and quite fragile, especially around the feet and the head. Plus, for every 15 - 20 minutes of playtime, she has to charge for at least 30 minutes. This is difficult for little ones.

I would only purchase this if you have a spacious room with fairly high ceilings. We have 12 - 14 foot ceilings in our home and she still crashes sometimes. This would be incredibly frustrating if we had small rooms and low ceilings. It is not recommended to play with this toy outside.

My daughter does not watch commercial t.v. so she has not seen the "magical" advertisements. If you, or your child, is expecting "magic" you will be disappointed. At first my daughter was a little upset that the fairy would sometimes crash and run out of batteries, but she got over it and can "control" the fairy as well as I can now. It definitely takes a little practice.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2013 6:15 PM PST

Savoring the Seasons With Our Best Bites
Savoring the Seasons With Our Best Bites
by Sara Wells
Edition: Hardcover-spiral
Price: $16.75
71 used & new from $3.38

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many ethnic foods... too many sweets... not enough family friendly dishes, June 22, 2013
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As previous reviewers have stated, this book is organized by season which is kind of a pain if you are just looking for a main dish, but I like it because I live in Arizona where our seasons don't change dramatically. I take matters into my own hands and love to cook and decorate seasonally - this book makes all of that easy. "Savoring the Seasons" feels more sturdy than the previous cookbook (that one fell apart after the first week. This one is still solid after a few months) and I like the flip-tabs. This book also has great photos and tutorials, just like their last one. Every recipe I've tried has been very good, requiring little to zero adaptations for my altitude and taste. Especially the orange rolls and all of the muffins.

So why just three stars? When I began following the blog, they had lots of tasty meals for the entire family. They were usually fairly simple or at least called for familiar ingredients. I was expecting more family-friendly, home-cooking type recipes. MOST of these recipes are either Brazilian or Thai-inspired, cooked on the grill, or a salad. Not to mention at least half of the recipes are quite fussy (in the kitchen a long time, can't be made ahead). Very disappointing for this busy mom. And the desserts. Kinda went the other way on this. Most of the desserts require a cake mix (yuck). As I mentioned before I love making "seasonal" things, so I was looking forward to the fun crafts and things for kids in each section. I was so disappointed to see they were all the same things listed on their blog.

The good news is I don't feel the need to follow their blog anymore because it seems as though their best bites are their two cookbooks combined.

by Ari Berk
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.29
75 used & new from $0.29

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute, September 29, 2012
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This review is from: Nightsong (Hardcover)
This is a cute little story about an adorable bat, Chiro, who's mother tells him it's time to go out by himself and find his own food. When Chiro expresses concern about being alone and not being able to see very well, his mother tells him, "Use your good sense... Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you." I like this. As you might suspect, Chiro was frightened at first, but remembered his mother's words and everything went very well. The illustrations (mostly of Chiro) are absolutely enchanting.

The part I take issue with is that Chiro's mother also told him to come home after eating breakfast and to not go past the pond "unless your song is sure." Well, after he gets full he sings his loudest and goes over the ocean for a bit and then decides to go home. My kids (5 and 4) were confused as to why he kept going past the pond when his mother told him to come home, and I had to explain about his "song being sure." That's fine... but there was no story development after that. The author has a very poetic style of writing and his description of the ocean song, so to speak, was lovely... but sort of anticlimactic. Chiro just wanted to explore, which is also just fine. Again, this spurred more questions from my kids, "Why didn't she want him to go past the pond? Is it dangerous out there?" Didn't seem to be. It was just his first time out by himself and she wanted him home soon. Kids are used to stories like "Peter Rabbit" where mothers have clear rules for clear reasons. But again... it's fine.

It would be helpful for a child to have some understanding of bats and how they "see" prior to reading this story. National Geographic Kids has a great one about Bats. "Hello, Bumblebee Bat" by Darrin Lunde is also an excellent choice.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2015 8:49 AM PST

National Geographic Readers: Halloween
National Geographic Readers: Halloween
by Laura F. Marsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: $3.99
79 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for a kid who has never heard of Halloween, August 28, 2012
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We love National Geographic Kids, and have tons of these books. Even for a Level 1 book, this is way to basic. Have your kids heard of trick or treating? Costumes? Jack-o-lanterns? Yes? Then you don't need this book. A great one, however, is National Geographic Kids Halloween Book of Fun. It has games, interesting facts, crafts, etc.

Brave Read-Along Storybook and CD
Brave Read-Along Storybook and CD
by Kitty Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.07
103 used & new from $0.01

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great narration, great pictures, July 14, 2012
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We have several of the Disney Read-Along stories for the kids to listen to in the car. This one is probably done the best of any of them. All of the important parts of the story were included. The pictures are wonderfully detailed and colorful. There are many audio clips directly from the movie, including a frightening growl from the terrible bear that may be too scary for young children. The narrator has a great Scottish accent that helps capture the essence of the story.

The Muppets Read-Along Storybook and CD
The Muppets Read-Along Storybook and CD
by Calliope Glass
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars If your kids like the Muppets, they'll love it, July 14, 2012
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We like these Disney Read-Along books for running errands. They usually finish one by the time I get to the grocery store and it makes the trip more pleasant for all of us. This one is just okay compared to the others in this collection, but if your kids love the Muppets they will love this, also. Although, at the end of the movie Gonzo hits Tex Richman square in the chest with the bowling ball and in this book he gets hit in the head. I wish they had included a few clips of the songs the Muppets sang in the movie - that would've made the book so much better.

Tangled Ever After Read-Along Storybook and CD
Tangled Ever After Read-Along Storybook and CD
by Disney Book Group
Edition: Paperback
Price: $5.94
99 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Considering it's a book from a short movie with few words..., July 14, 2012
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It's really pretty good. Here's how I feel about children's audio books: I like to be the one reading to my kids. However, sometimes they get bored while I'm driving so I like to keep a stash of these in the car. Generally, movies made into books don't make good literary material, but my younger kids really enjoy it because they love the movie. We have a collection of these Disney Read-Along books and they are all pretty good. The woman who narrates this one also narrates several of the other Princess stories (and the background music is the same in many of them), but there are real audio clips from the film. This one doesn't have very many, obviously, because there wasn't very many in the movie.

Sesame Street: Abby & Friends - P Is for Princess
Sesame Street: Abby & Friends - P Is for Princess
DVD ~ Sesame Street
Price: $7.50
43 used & new from $0.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your typical Princess, June 5, 2012
This is a really cute video. Paul Rudd cracks me up every single time with his "Never fear your Prince is here!" stint. He keeps trying to rescue Abby and her friends every time they have a problem, but they are able to solve everything on their own. Natalie Portman's part also goes against the grain of Princess stories - she doesn't want to dress up as a Princess, she wants to be an elephant. Then an elephant comes along dressed as a Princess and they all have fun. My older kids noticed that the elephant has a boy voice, but he's dressed up as a Princess... Leave it Sesame Street to bend all the rules.

If your child likes Abby Cadabby, then s/he will like this, too. Every story in this is basically how you can dress up as a Princess and still play baseball and stuff like that.

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships
Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships
by Catherine Thimmesh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.59
145 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything felt forced, June 2, 2012
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The pictures in this book are very cute. In my opinion, the text was not edited well. Books for kids should have more direct sentences (not so many - and ;) and should NEVER start with "So" or "But". This is page 2 and it drove my 7-year-old crazy:

No matter if one walks of four legs or two- a friend provides comfort when one's feeling blue.
When the old orangutan at Zoo World in Florida lost her mate, she was listless and would barely eat. Workers worried that she might very well lose her will to live. So they brought a new companion - a stray tabby cat - to her enclosure; first just outside the fence, then in. The two became instant and inseparable friends. For nearly four years, Tonda the orangutan and TK the cat lived side by side - eating, playing, sleeping - until Tonda died of old age. But for four years, both were comforted and content.

In this book, all but two of these "friendships" happened in a controlled environment like a zoo or animal hospital, and the text, as above, describes when the caregivers had to separate the two for their own safety. There's nothing wrong with that, but a book full of mostly these kinds of friendships was a little disappointing. The two friendships that were not in a controlled environment (the basset hound and owl, and the frog letting the mouse hitch a ride to safety) were my kids favorites because they were truly unique.

I have a picture of my childhood dog curled up with a raccoon. My kids love to look at that picture and I tell them the story of Rocky, the baby raccoon I found curled up in a feed can one morning when I went out to feed the horses. His eye was badly infected, so my Dad and I drove to the local CO-OP and bought some formula, a bottle, and some antibiotics for Rocky and within a few days he looked healthy and strong. We left his cage open that night figuring he would want to go find his family. Much to our surprise, he chose to spend his summer tagging along with us like one of the dogs but as curious and mischievous as one of the cats. As fall came, Rocky started to wander off more and more at night and eventually he stopped coming home in the morning. Every spring and summer for years after we would see Rocky stealing cat food and an occasional egg, but he had grown wild and didn't want to cuddle up with the dog or be pet anymore. It was fun while it lasted. I have always enjoyed animals and the way they find companions in sometimes unlikely ways, but this collection was just okay.

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