Friday, September 22, 2017

Sweepstakes: Chemical-Free Cleaning Kit

 Fresh Tech Maid, an award-winning Chicago-based home cleaning service, is offering a custom, chemical-free cleaning kit to three lucky winners!

This kit is designed to reduce cleaning chemicals by at least 95% for regular maintenance cleanings, so your home is cleaner, healthier, and safer for adults, kids, pet, and the Earth. This cleaning kit includes three varieties of microfiber cleaning cloths (green for the bathroom, red for the kitchen, and blue for general surfaces) to prevent cross-contamination, along with special agitation tools for an extra deep clean (scraper, whisk broom, sponges, microfiber mop cover, and a cleaning “toothbrush”). These cleaning implements can be used on any surface in the home. 

The healthy home cleaning kit also includes one bottle of Fresh Tech Maids’ personal brand of de-ionized water to promote safe, chemical-free cleaning. De-ionized water is H2O in its purest form, making it an eco-friendly yet powerful solvent suited to all cleaning needs. It is the most effective, chemical-free general cleaner you will ever find!

The giveaway ends on Sunday, October 22.

Website Spotlight: Diet Spotlight offers 10,500 well researched, all-original reviews of weight loss products, diets and fitness equipment. It also has over 15,000 user reviews and comments of these products.


Lego Ninjago Scavenger Hunt Target stores 9/30 10-1
Enlightened Ice Cream

Music Minute: The Laurie Berkner Band - the Dance Remixes

Is your family a Laurie Berkner fan - or do you have kids who used to like her songs but want something that sounds a little older? She just released an album I got to listen to called The Dance Remixes that has a little more sophisticated sound for those who like the EDM sound.

My younger daughter really loved it. It was songs she knew from other Laurie Berkner CDs, but in a high-energy remix. Even if your kid doesn't already know her songs, they'll quickly become familiar with the tunes and the words.

Visit for more about The Laurie Berkher Band, including press photos and tour dates.  Media assets and press photos are also available on the website of Laurie's distributor, Razor & Tie, at

Laurie Berkner: The Dance Remixes will be available for download at all digital retailers, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and more. Physical CDs will be available at all Laurie Berkner concerts and at

She has an app too - so you can take her music on the go!

Laurie Berkner Performance Highlights - Fall/Winter 2017

Oct. 7 - Stanford University, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Palo Alto, CA

Oct. 28 - The Concert Hall at the Society for Ethical Culture, NYC

Nov. 19 - Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ

Dec. 3 - iPlay America, Freehold, NJ

Dec. 9 - Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord, NH

Dec. 17 - Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY

Jan. 21 - Gordon Center for the Performing Arts, Owings Mills, MD

# # #

 Laurie Berkner's website HERE.

Laurie Berkner on Facebook.

  Laurie Berkner on Twitter.

  Laurie Berkner on YouTube.

Fun Freetime: Skylanders Academy

Skylanders Unite! The Skylanders are back in action protecting the realm in a new trailer for season two! In the animated series from Activision Blizzard Studios, SkylandersTM Academy follows the heroic adventures of Spyro (Justin Long), Eruptor (Jonathan Banks), Stealth Elf (Ashley Tisdale), Jet-Vac (Jonny Rees), Pop Fizz (Bobcat Goldthwait) and their team of young warriors as they travel the vast Skylands universe protecting it from evil-doers. Created by Eric Rogers (Futurama) and based on the popular Skylanders® videogame franchise, the action-comedy centers on the band of heroes as they train under the watchful eye of Master Eon (Chris Diamantopoulos) learning how to keep peace and protect their homeland from the constant threat of villainous forces.  

Along with a new class of cadets, and newcomers Cynder (Felicia Day) and Sprocket (Grey Griffin), the heroic team returns to Netflix on October 6. Spyro begins a search for information about his ancestors in order to harness and understand his special powers. Meanwhile, Kaos’ quest to bring evil rule to the Skylands realms accidentally unleashes a villain more powerful than anything Kaos or the Skylander warriors have ever faced. The Skylanders unite once more for the greatest showdown against evil yet – putting them all to the ultimate test!
The series also features the voice talents of Norm Macdonald as Glumshanks, Catherine O’Hara as Kaossandra, Parker Posey as Dreamcatcher and Susan Sarandon as Golden Queen.

Catch up on Season One now, streaming on Netflix.  For more information about Skylanders Academy, visit

Sweepstakes: just laumched a contest that celebrates the 15th Anniversary of a leading online gourmet gifting company -- offering more than $2,000 in prizes and a 15% off discount for anyone entering. To enter, people can follow the instructions here

Their newest items include some great gifts for guys -- and we all know how hard it is to find gift for men. Here are some new options that should satisfy most men:

1. NFL Popcorn Tins -- $59.99: How great are these, especially for couch-bound quarterbacks and other football game lovers? Tailgate in your family room with these attractive, branded tins reflecting the passion behind several top teams. Currently, has very colorful, three-gallon tins for fans of nine different teams: New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. Some of our all-time most popular flavors for men are included in each tin -- Kettle Corn, Cheesy Cheddar and Caramel Popcorn. 

2. MLB Popcorn Tins -- $59.99: Now, if the men in your life would prefer playing or watching baseball, we've got you covered there, too. Sports-team ensconced tins are available for fans of the following teams: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, LA Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and the St. Louis Cardinals. Kettle Corn, Cheesy Cheddar and Caramel Popcorn are the featured flavors in these tins, as well.

3. Fall Seasonal Beer Bucket -- $69.99, SKU 4521: Our seasonal beer buckets have been very popular and this one with its autumnal flavors promises to delight microbrew beer lovers as much, if not more, than its predecessors. This bucket includes Oktoberfest by Otter Creek, Pumpkin Head by Shipyard, and Harvest Barn Ale by Long Trail. Snacks that bring out the best flavor notes in these beers include  our own handcrafted Hickory Maple Bacon Kettle Corn and Buffalo Popcorn, along with summer sausage, spicy cheddar cheese, crackers, pretzels and nuts.

4. Halloween Candy Stash --  $29.99, SKU 4761: Most guys love candy (and reliving the years of their youth). Well, this new Candy Stash offers enough candy for the guys and the whole family. If you're interested in featuring something else for Halloween, click here to see the full selection.

Parenting Pointers: 4 Ways To Inspire Kids To Turn Off Electronics And Turn On Their Creativity

Children love their electronic devices.
Television, video games, cellphones and laptops keep them occupied for hours, in some cases acting as live-in babysitters while parents finish chores or just relax.
But while all those devices have their advantages, they also can stifle creativity as children become absorbed in what’s happening inside those screens instead of exploring the real world and letting their imaginations soar.
There are ways to turn that around, though, and get the creative juices flowing in those young minds, says Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher with 15 years of fulltime and substitute experience in both elementary and middle schools.
“You can always just tell a child to put down the electronic device, but a much better strategy is to give them something else to do,” says Miller, who also is the mother of two teenage sons. “If you can provide an alternative the child can get excited about, then you’ll have a better chance of avoiding those battles over electronics.”
One option for young children is toys that require a little artistic inspiration, she says, such as Legos, the popular plastic building bricks, or Magic Sketch, which allows children to doodle or draw on a liquid-crystal-display screen, then clear their work with a push of a button to start over.
This is especially important with children just returning to school after the summer break because many of them may not have kept their brains as sharp as they should have during that time off, Miller says. Being creative helps children develop mentally, emotionally and socially, aiding them in becoming better students.  
Miller says there are a number of ways parents can help inspire children to embrace their creative side, including:
  • Spend time in nature. Head to a park and spend a little time on a hiking trail, checking out the plants and the animals, then suggest the children write about the experience or draw something they saw along the way. They could even take along a drawing pad, a Magic Sketch or something similar and draw while they are there.
  • Use holidays as inspiration. Children love holidays, so suggest they draw a picture related to whatever holiday is coming up or create a homemade decoration. Either option can stimulate their creativity.
  • Be supportive, not critical. This is not the time to play art critic or literary reviewer, Miller says. Let this just be fun and give them freedom with their imagination. If they want to color grass orange or put polka dots on a dolphin, let them. Remind them that’s it’s OK to make a mistake. Plus, with a Lego creation, a Magic Sketch drawing or a construction-paper decoration, they can always just start over.
  • Let them choose their passion. Sometimes parents are too insistent that their children learn piano, take ballet lessons or become involved in an activity that the parent is sure will be fun, Miller says. “Giving children the opportunity to try many things is great,” she says, “but make sure you let them have the final say on what it is they are passionate about.” 
“Children don’t need to give up their electronic devices completely,” Miller says. “But it’s important to put some limits so they also have time to devote to reading, climbing a tree in the backyard or drawing a picture. They need the opportunity to unleash their creative potential.”

About Colleen Miller
Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher and mother of two teenage sons, serves as a national spokeswoman for Magic Sketch, ( which uses a liquid-crystal-display screen that children can doodle, draw, sketch and trace on just like pen on paper. Small children can also use the board to learn their letters and numbers. Miller worked as a fulltime sixth-grade teacher for nine years, and has been a substitute teacher for grades 2 through 8 for the last six years.

Book Nook: The Happiness Prayer

I recently had a chance to review The Happiness Prayer by Evan Moffic. I enjoy books that promote a positive attitude, so I was happy to read this book.

The book was written when Rabbi Evan Moffic ran across an a 2000-year-old Jewish prayer, which contained principles of Jewish wisdom. They helped him change his attitude and became part of his congregation.

The ten principles contained in the book are mostly universal enough to be incorporated by any faith tradition - or those who are nonreligious. It's worth a read whether or not you're Christian, although obviously you will have a different interpretation of the spiritual aspects.

The ten principles, according to Rabbi Moffic, are: 

  • honor those who gave you life
  • be kind
  • keep learning
  • invite others into your life
  • be there when others need you
  • celebrate good times
  • support yourself and others during times of loss
  • pray with intention
  • forgive
  • look inside and commit

Other than pray with intention, these are all good secular principle to follow. The book includes anecdotes, explanations, psychological commentary, and humor to make the principles accessible and manageable in everyone's life.

Amazing Apps: Nestnotes

Nestnotes is a new app created for new parents to easily record, share stress-free & cherish memories online and in print. Launched this week through iTunes, the app is a user-friendly, secure, and thoughtful made platform designed to help parents share their family's most intimate moments with those who matter most: (

Created by parent and designer Chase Simmering, Nestnotes was built out of the desire for a digital platform that offers more than just status updates and instead provides a format for privately sharing lasting images and keepsakes for family members to cherish and children to inherit.  Simmering’s previous venture, StrangeBirdy, created beautifully designed, customized posters documenting a child’s first year––a stylized, modern reinterpretation of the baby book––as well as other print keepsakes. 

Nestnotes not only helps to organize and remember milestones and moments, but also allows you to print photos and other custom stationary styled with Chase’s signature playful illustrations of animals. A fun and helpful feature, you can play “family trivia” with the moments recorded to cherish past moments and keep them fresh. Nestnotes is a great app for new moms and dads looking for a secure place to treasure the intimate moments of parenthood and makes for a great gift for the parent to be! The app has 3 levels of membership including a free starter membership.

Book Nook: Side Hustle - From Idea to Income in 27 Days

Many young adults, millennials, and Gen Xers, have a "side hustle" - a job to work on besides their main job. In fact, some people (like me) only have "side hustles." I do not have a single job that is more than half time; instead I cobble together income from seven different sources (one part-time private school, a part-time online school, tutoring, private lessons, freelance music, online surveys, and a handful of odd shifts at a nearby skating and event center). Even my husband, who has a full-time job in IT for a non-profit, makes a little money on his side hustle as photography.

There's a reason for this. White collar works now find promotions are harder to come bywages have flat-lined, and the expectation that one remain with a single company, or even a single industry for one’s entire career has all but vanished.

There are other reasons too. Many people like the flexibility of a side gig. Some people like the extra cash. There are others who want to do it just to see if they can make an idea reality.

All of these are addressed in a book I got to review called SIDE HUSTLEFrom Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau. It was a well-written book that helps readers come up with the idea for their "side hustle," figure out the goal (extra income all the way up to full-time job), and come up with tangible steps on how to get there.

I teach piano "on the side" and it's because quite a money-maker for me. This book reinforced a lot of what I did along the way, as well as gave me tips for improving my focus and making it an even stronger side gig.

Guillebeau walks you through everything you need do to go. You’ll learn how to:
  • Build an arsenal of great side hustle ideas (if you don't already have one) – and then choose the one with the most potential
  • Identify the profile of that one customer your hustle is meant to serve (for focused marketing)
  • Improve your sales and marketing
  • Master the art of deals, discounts and special offers
  • Raise your game: improve, expand, or make more money off your hustle
Along the way, you’ll read engaging stories about dozens of successful side hustlers. You’ll meet:
  • The Pennsylvania oil and gas rep who brings in an extra $1,000 a month posting images on Pinterest
  • The single mom who designed her own astrology calendar and immediately made $5,000 on etsy
  • The software developer who raked in $7,500 a month after creating a real-time Bay Area traffic app
  • The theme park portrait artist who now makes $250 an hour doing digital caricatures at upscale events 
  • The newlyweds who turned a honeymoon trip to Nepal into a $15,000 fashion brand

CHRIS GUILLEBEAU is the author of the bestselling author of books including The $100 Startup, The Happiness of Pursuit, and The Art of Non-Conformity. He is also the founder and host of Side Hustle School, a daily podcast with more than 2 million downloads per month. During a lifetime of self-employment and side hustling, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday.
For more information, please visit:
To learn more about Side Hustle, please tune in to the daily podcast: