Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Unwilling Witch Goes To Ballet School! ~ Book Review

Living across the horizon on "The Otherside" we couldn't possibly understand the trials and tribulations of a Witch's Familiar unless we've received the inside scoop by sneaking a peek at Rumblewick's Diary! Rumblewick Spellwacker Mortimer B. is a witch's familiar, a black cat with a very frustrating and exasperating task of keeping Haggy Aggy--his "contra-turvy" and unwilling witch--in line! When Haggy Aggy takes a trip across the horizon--in her pink car rather than on her broomstick like a proper-practicing witch, no less--and becomes enamored by the beauty of "Otherside" ballet" Rumblewick's at his wit's end! If the High Hags find out Haggy Aggy is enrolled in "Otherside Ballet School" Rumblewick knows what will happen:
"They'll hang me over a hot cauldron until my fur curls and/or send me back to first grade at the Awethunder School for Familias." How will Rumblewick get out of this mess?
One of the many joys I've found as my children grow is that their tastes in literature also mature. It is wonderful to read books to your children that also appeal to you and your sense of humour. Rumblewick's Diary My Unwilling Witch Goes to Ballet School by Hiawyn Oram is just that sort of read. Quirky and filled with humour this book had both my 7 year old daughter and I giggling! Oram writes without patronizing children with lower level diction. Rumblewick even provides the reader with a dictionary or explanation of terms in the back of the book. As an educator and an avid reader I have always believed exposing children to higher level diction promotes more mature word use and understanding in children. Though a few of the nuances of the narrative were lost on my daughter she found the book thoroughly entertaining. The graphic nature of the print, the varying typeface and the "scrapbook-like" illustrations were appealing and added an err of authenticity to the books "diary" format!
My daughter and I look forward to reading the latest of "Rumblewick's Diaries: My Unwilling Witch Sleeps Over" {August 2009} and you should read it too according to a message from Hagatha Agatha {Haggy Aggy for short, HA for shortest}:
"I went to a lot of trouble to steal these Diaries for you. And the Publisher gave me a lot of shoes in exchange. If you do not read them the Publisher may want the shoes back. So please, for my sake--the only witch in witchdom who isn't willing to scare you for her own entertainment--ENJOY THEM BOTH."
Help Haggy Aggy keep her shoes and be sure to sneak a peek at Rumblewick's diaries A.S.A.P.!!
Thank you to Alice Morley of Hachette Book Group for this review opportunity.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I am not chained to technology!! Vacation :)

Just letting all my readers know I will be on a hiatus from blogging for the next 11 days or so! We're going on vacation and unlike many in the blogging world I do not carry any "wireless device", and I am not chained to the internet when I go beyond the four walls of home! I will be living out of a tent with my hubby and three kids and loving it! I will be back however and have some great new things to blog about and giveaway. Please stay with me and I will be back August 3rd to announce winners and blog again

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

America Libre ~ Book Review and Giveaway!

America Libre is an action packed political thriller sandwiched between book covers! Cuban-born author Raul Ramos Y Sanchez has achieved an explosive combination of the intense, aggressive excitement of an action movie and the complex, thought provoking analysis of a political drama in this realistic story of revolution and racial repression.
Manolo Suarez is a third generation Hispanic American who wants only to support his family and be a good father and husband. In a time of severe recession and race wars Manolo's search for employment becomes a life altering experience as he realizes there are ideologies worth battling for far beyond the micro-chasm of his life as an individual. As the United States fights a war against terror abroad the government begins to ignore the problems and issues the country faces at home. Racial hatred in a time of recession and anti-immigrant sentiments create a situation of serious repression amongst Hispanic Americans, a population growing leaps and bounds over the rest of those in America.

"With unemployment benefits running out, millions of Americans sought any kind of job, saturating low-rung job markets. From farms to fast-food chains, Hispanics were pitted against mainstream workers in a game of economic musical chairs" (Sanchez 2009:7)

Fear incites hatred and repression inevitably leads to revolution. Sanchez's fictional activist, Marcha writes in his manifesto:

"Repression is a revolutionary's best recruiter. It will create more converts than a thousand rousing speeches."(Sanchez 2009:133)

Manolo is not completely convinced by the revolutionary ideas of Marcha and his followers who offer Manolo the employment he is desperate for until the horrific effects of a brewing revolutionary war tragically touches his family and he realizes that to support the cause of the Hispanic people is to support and protect his family though it can lead to hard choices and personal sacrifice.

This novel is about a man who always treads on the side of honour despite temptations and nagging questions; about the heinous and misguided atrocities that create and sustain wars; and the oxymoron of the righteous yet lascivious nature of revolution and civil war. I felt at times I was reading the screenplay for a Action movie and at others a political non-fiction account of current U.S. history. The political climate Sanchez develops in this novel feels tangible and real, the drama and suspense exciting! I predict this will be a novel for the classroom...if it is not censored by the powers that be at any given political moment! Sanchez's character Marcha raises an interesting incite:

"Marcha also marveled at the diversity and vastness of the United States. In spite of its melange of people and unwieldy size, the U.S. had managed to create a nation that spanned a continent. This observation sparked a question in Marcha's mind: Could Latin America ever transform itself from a collection of separate states into a single nation? In time, he came to believe that the unification of Latin America was not only possible, it was the region's inevitable destiny" (Sanchez 2009:25)

Using Israel as a precedent could a Hispanic state within America be created? So many political questions are raised but perhaps paramount in this novel is the idea that anyone can rise up and become a patriot to a revolution even those without knowledge or interest in politics....all it takes is passion, duty, and devotion!

Five Northern Mama readers will have the opportunity to receive this provocative new novel, America Libre by Raul Ramos Y Sanchez set for release July 29th!! Thank you Miriam at Hachette for your generosity!

To Enter:
  • Follow Northern Mama and leave your comment
Giveaway open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes August 3rd, 2009. See General Giveaway Rules for details.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Latest Suzuki Foundation Weekly newsletter!

Science Matters
Here's your weekly Science Matters column by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola.

Harming the environment is bad for the economy

We often point out that ecology and economy have the same root, from the Greek oikos, meaning “home”. Ecology is the study of home and economics is its management. But many people still insist on treating them as two separate, often incompatible, processes.

At its most absurd, the argument is that we simply can’t afford to protect the environment – that the costs will be so high as to ruin the economy. But if you don’t take care of your home, it will eventually become uninhabitable, and where’s the economic justification for that?

Others argue that the economic advantages of some activities outweigh the environmental disadvantages. This, too, is an absurd argument. A recent posting on the website points to a number of studies and articles showing that many of these activities are not even beneficial from an economic standpoint.

Take coal mining. Research from West Virginia University found that “coal mining costs Appalachians five times more in early deaths as the industry provides to the region in jobs, taxes and other economic benefits.” And, according to Grist, the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development found that “the coal industry takes $115 million more from Kentucky’s state government annually in services and programs than it contributes in taxes.”

The website also refers to a peer-reviewed study in the journal Science that concluded logging in Brazil’s rainforests offered only short-term gains in income, life-expectancy, and literacy, but that the gains disappear over the long term “leaving deforested municipalities just as poor as those that preserved their forests.”

Yet another study found that all the big three U.S. automakers need to do to become profitable and to compete with Japanese car manufacturers is to meet new government-mandated fuel economy standards.

We recently noted in this column that bear-watching can be more profitable than bear-hunting, and the Grist article likewise notes that whale-watching is far more profitable than killing whales.

Often the problem is not so much with resource exploitation itself, but rather with the way we exploit our resources, and the reasons for the exploitation. With CEOs looking at quarterly results and politicians looking at three- or four-year terms of office, the incentives for long-range thinking are not always clear.

One of the most horrendous examples of this worm’s-eye view can be seen in Canada’s tar sands. As author Andrew Nikiforuk argues in his award-winning book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, this resource could be used wisely to “fund Canada's transition to a low-carbon economy.” Instead, industrial interests and the Alberta and federal governments are hell-bent on full-scale liquidation. And so we will end up with some short-term profits and a seemingly healthy economy in exchange for massive environmental damage and the rapid depletion of a resource that may still be necessary for some time to come – along with the negative economic consequences of all that.

Part of the problem lies in the real reason for much of our resource exploitation and industrial activity. A lot of it is done not out of necessity but out of a desire for a relatively small number of people to make lots of money quickly. And when the money is rolling in and jobs are being created, the politicians who foster the activities look good.

We may need fossil fuels, at least for now, but do we really need them so that one or two people can propel themselves to the grocery store in a massive SUV made from tonnes of metal?

We also see, not surprisingly, that the dinosaurs of the fossil fuel and other industries will go to great lengths to protect their interests. If that means spreading misinformation and outright lies about the consequences of their industries, well so be it.

And so, even though the scientific proof for human-caused global warming is undeniable, we have the coal and oil industries funding massive campaigns to cast doubt on the science and we have politicians implying that the world’s scientists are involved in some sinister plot – all so we can continue to rely on diminishing supplies of polluting fuels instead of creating jobs and wealth through a greener economy that may save us from catastrophe.

We need only to look at recent events in the United States to see that the people standing in the way of progress on the environment are often just as ignorant about the economy.

Science Matters has been running weekly since 1999. To read past columns, please visit The David Suzuki Foundation values your privacy and does not sell or trade email addresses. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

For Educators ~ ASCD online newsletter and the commitment to a social curriculum!

A former teaching colleague of mine and a wonderful friend sent me this email for educators which I thought was definitely worth sharing!

ASCD members and other instructional leaders like you care about inspiring students to become good citizens, teaching students how to interact responsibly, and helping students understand the importance of service to their community. ASCD editors care, too, so they developed new articles for another online-only issue of Educational Leadership magazine on Revisiting Social Responsibility.

Enhance your summer reading with articles by Steven Wolk, Elliott Seif, Sanford N. McDonnell, and others and prepare for a brand new year with knowledge and wisdom from these experts.
Take responsibility for your professional development and join ASCD, your worldwide partner in learning, teaching, and leadership. Tough times like these, call for bold moves. An investment in becoming the best at what you do, will result in long-term and sustainable returns that benefit the children in your classrooms, schools, and community.
Share the articles in this online-only issue with all of your colleagues. This issue is completely open and free to everyone. If your colleagues find the information valuable, please encourage them to join ASCD and help them discover more resources that will inspire them to learn more. ASCD is more than 173,000 caring educators in 120 countries working everyday to ensure students are healthy, safe, supported, engaged, and challenged in good times and bad.
We hope you enjoy reading this bonus issue of Educational Leadership on Revisiting Social Responsibility and will share it with others.
Thank you for caring about education.
Daniel RatnerASCD, Membership Director

Friday, July 17, 2009

Southern Saskatchewan Adventure!

I have to be honest and say I never thought I would live in Saskatchewan. I grew up in Ontario, lived in the arctic for 8 years, I have visited all the provinces but Saskatchewan was never considered a spot to visit but rather a thoroughfare on route to more favourable venues! I truly love the coasts and forests of Canada. Canada possesses great natural wonders and Saskatchewan never entered my mind as being anything but prairies, endless flat fields. I was still under this impression after moving to Regina for my husband's career and three years later I can't help but still feel a little disappointed in the landscape that surrounds me. A co-worker of my husbands commented about the beauty of the canola and flax fields when they bloom yellow and purple and while I am sure there is beauty in such cultivated landscapes I must admit I have a hard time seeing it!

I was utterly depressed when we first learned we would be posted here but I am an adventurer as is the rest of my family and I have been determined to discover the beauty of the province in which we reside! Each summer we have ventured out in search of the wondrous natural environments that inspire us. Cypress Hills, and Prince Albert National Park have proven to us there are inspiring places within Saskatchewan's borders. This summer we will be camping around lakes to the northeast but last weekend we decided on a little road trip to the south in search of adventure in what is called the Big Muddy and Petroglyph Provincial Park! Our adventure started with cramming a family of five into a minivan with enough games and books and colouring utensils to last a week and enough snacks and drinks for an army {which would last maybe an hour or two}! If you've travelled Saskatchewan you will know there are only a few real cities and in many directions you will find well...fields, more fields, the odd valley, and oh these tiny, little places that "time forgot"! I often think of horror movies when we come across some little, dilapidated circle of houses off the highway forming a community but looking more like a ghost town...always complete with dingy looking local watering hole. It seemed we had been driving for an eternity {in reality perhaps only a couple hours maybe three}.

We decided to stop at a place described in the guide book as an African exhibit from a local adventurer. Now, I am thoroughly enamored by Africa and have dreamed of one day visiting so, though it seems strange to see an African exhibit in Saskatchewan, I was excited. It was not exactly what I had envisioned. The exhibit was in actual fact one of a taxidermy of many African animals hunted on safari by some local farmer. I believe it must have been years ago as I am sure it would probably be illegal today to import such trophies into the country now if not illegal to hunt some of them in several of the African countries. Seeing the information on the animals was interesting and out of politeness to the older lady managing the place we did peruse the one room exhibit but my youngest daughter was a bit distraught when she realized the whole exhibit was of dead animals! My youngest daughter is a very serious animal lover to be sure! Regardless, when the woman working there suggested the children get their picture taken with the lion they relented. Back in the van we hoped to be off to more favourable sights. The Petroglyphs should be fascinating and educational. They must be of great interest to be sure if an entire provincial park was set up around them. We arrived in the area but were a little unsure about location. The way should be well marked...we thought! After entering another of the tiny forgotten towns dotting southern Saskatchewan and driving up a steep hill we had found our way. Parked high on a bluff we followed the short path to the fenced off cliff edge and peered through to admire the creative handiwork carved centuries ago by ancient aboriginals into the horizontal sandstone surface of the cliff. Well, maybe they were a bit hard to see. We did make out a few bear paws with claws, maybe a face and a couple of crude figures representing people. I am an archaeologist so I can appreciate their significance but my children were not so thoroughly impressed and to be fair I couldn't blame them. On the bright side my husband and I actually had our picture taken together for the first time in ages by an elderly couple who had also ventured to this tourist Mecca! No harm done we were going to tour the Big Muddy full of outlaw caves and Buttes rising like alters from the dry desolate landscape. I glanced at the travel guide again reading out the flowery prose promoting this wonderful...wait a minute did I just read in small print "to pre-book tours call..." Oh dear! I pulled out my cell phone in the hopes that pre-book could essentially include calling a half hour before arriving. A 7 hour long tour leaving at 9 am or a short tour which meant a tour guide would join you in your vehicle for an exorbitant fee were the options. It was already mid afternoon and hundreds of dollars to see the sights of the Big Muddy did not particularly appeal to us. I enquired as to whether one could have a self-guided tour but many of the sights are off limits to anyone outside of the organized tours. To my relief there was one sight that was accessible "Castle Butte"!

After driving past it searching for a sign or well marked road we finally did double back at the nagging requests of our children and found it beyond the cattle strewn ranch road we had to travel. It was worth the struggle! The children loved climbing Castle Butte and my husband and I were taken by the romance of the sight. My son is an incredible climber and quickly made it to the very top, my eldest daughter and husband close behind. "I'm at the top of the world!" my son yelled emphatically. I was able to climb half way up but my youngest was not able to climb far so I soon came back down to explore with her. We ventured into a few small caves along the butte and the fact that Montana was just across the border became very real to me. I was inspired to dream up some intriguing story of murder and mystery set amongst the secluded Buttes... maybe someday I'll write a novel set in none other than Saskatchewan {maybe someday}!

Wrap-ti Review and Discount!

My mother was talking to a friend several months ago about her daughter teasing her for collecting up the gift bags from an occasion to save and reuse. She was telling her mother she was being silly as gift bags are cheap to purchase anyway! I was taken completely by surprise and my mother and I had to laugh because we have passed the same gift bags back and forth numerous times. I am amazed that anyone would throw out a perfectly good gift bag because it had already been used...ONCE. As I have commented in the past, we as North Americans have become a disposable culture but if we were to take a page from other cultures we may just discover more eco-friendly and less wasteful practices.

Admittedly, paper gift bags--though far more eco-friendly than wrapping paper which becomes ripped, torn, and wrinkled--eventually do tear or become horribly disfigured after being reused several times and need to be relegated to the garbage or recycling. Wrap-ti provides a solution to our environmentally conscious gift wrapping issues! Founder of Planetfinds and Wrap-ti, Akemi, has taken an idea from Japanese tradition and created an elegant and eco-friendly alternative to paper wrapping. In Akemi's native Japan wrapping gifts intricately in elegant silk fabrics has been a tradition but one which often was very tedious and complicated. Akemi decided to simplify the process and invented special ti-bands to make it easier for anyone to create fabulous fabric wrapped gifts!

I received a lovely set from the Elegant Collection in jade/lime. The set came with the two-toned fabric, two different gold tasseled ti-bands, and instructions for creating various wrap designs. Everything came in organza bags which could also be reused for gifts. I found the instructions easy to follow and the ti-bands made it simple. The results were quite lovely!
You can also visit the Wrap-ti website for other design ideas or create your own! Wrap-ti's Zoo Collection looks like a truly fun and unique way to wrap children's gifts. This wrap-ti collection includes vibrantly coloured cotton fabrics and ribbons with instructions to create wrapped gifts resembling various animals!

Akemi has offered Northern Mama readers a 15% discount at Furoshiki until September 30, 2009. Just use the discount code PLTF1517 at the checkout. You will also receive free standard shipping for all Wrap-ti prchases of $30 or more!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Martha doesn't say sorry! ~ Book Review

I am--as I'm sure most mothers are--very vigilant about teaching my children not only politeness but also important character building skills. I want my children to become adults with integrity so when I come across a children's book which is both values based and a book my children will enjoy I know I've stumbled upon a gem! Samantha Berger's book Martha doesn't say sorry! is certainly one of those gems. My youngest daughter, Bronwynn, just turned five and I will admit she is exerting her individualism and independence sometimes in less than favourable ways. Bronwynn does say sorry of her own accord quite frequently but there are times when apologizing does not come so easily. Martha proves this point in this deliciously illustrated and delightfully written story.
"There are many things Martha does, but apologizing isn't one of them."
...until Martha comes to the realization that there are consequences for not apologizing and saying sorry is not so bad at all and can have remarkable results! This book was humorous and heartfelt. My daughter laughed at the lighthearted humour and the comical illustrations. This book truly appealed to her sense of right and wrong and Bronwynn even commented as I closed the book on the importance of saying sorry and remarked, "Martha really should say sorry when she does things she shouldn' wasn't so bad and she made everyone feel better...even herself!"...ahhh music to a mother's ears!
Thank you Alice Morley at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for giving me the opportunity to review this lovely book!

Visit Le Baby Shop!!

Le Baby Shop is an eco-trendy one-stop shop carrying funky, earth friendly products for infants and young children! Le Baby located in Quebec--yes a Canadian store--is now online!! Toys to skin care, clothing to books and labels they carry it all. Run by a mompreneur Le Baby Shop knows the importance of making mom's happy...what makes mom happy? Products for their children that they can believe in and a few free fun giveaways and discounts help bring a smile to mom's face as well! Click on over to Le Baby Shop right now to enter a great Trend Lab diaper bag giveaway {valued at $50}. All you need do is mention their giveaway as I did on your blog or just on twitter or Facebook. Le Baby is also offering 40% off all Daily Tea clothing {sizes 3 months to 5 years} and if you sign up for their newsletter you will receive up to $25 off your first order! Yay!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Castaways~Review!

Sifting sand through ones toes, watching the waves lap the shore, the call of shore birds in the audible background, basking in the heat of the sun or crossing sweater wrapped arms to guard against the cool yet calming winds gusting off the water...this is what one should be doing while reading an Elin Hilderbrand novel! I, without question felt the unyielding urge to cast bathing suit, cut-offs, soft well-worn tees and sweater into a suitcase and lose myself on some distant shore after reading The Castaways!

The Castaways is Elin Hilderbrand's latest Nantucket tale. A tale of four couples--"The Castaways", metaphorically "washed-up" on the shores of Nantucket--inseparable friends who share life but withhold many secrets! One of these couples is Tess and Greg MacAvoy now found dead--drowned mysteriously while on an anniversary voyage meant to repair a marriage tattered by the rumours of an illicit affair Greg may have had with a student. Tess and Greg's friends are altered forever and their secrets are revealed as they piece together what has happened and come to terms with their grief and guilt!

I felt almost like a voyeur peering into the personal lives and guilty secrets of Hilderbrand's characters. The characters in this novel are well-developed and multi-faceted. They reveal layer upon layer of themselves through their own personal recounting of memories and emotions. I felt as though I was piecing together a puzzle as I gradually became privy to everyone's secrets! The story of eight friends interconnected so tightly reveals the secret life of friend relationships and the many facets of human intimacy!

The Castaways is a great leisurely summer pleasure read full of unforgettable characters and mystery! If you are interested in this and other novels set in Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand visit her web community {I have the link on my right sidebar}.
Thank you to Miriam Parker at Hachette Book Group for this fantastic read and review opportunity.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation Budgeting?? Ask Consolidated Credit Counselling Services Inc.

If you are a mom like me you live for a vacation! The problem is always how to afford it especially as the cost of everyday living increases. Instead of floundering or giving up on that well deserved time away consider seeking out advice! Consolidated Credit Counselling have created a wonderful online guide to help you in planning and saving for an economical vacation including links to great budget saving networks and online services! It is often those small hints and tips that make your vacation more enjoyable and which help you to save that little extra. Consolidated Credit Counselling has also included a handy vacation budget spreadsheet!
At Consolidated Credit Counselling it is their mission is to help families end financial crisis and solve money management problems through education and professional counselling. Consolidated Credit Counselling Services Inc. was founded in the early 1990s and is an accredited, registered business.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Krafty Kids Creations~ Review and Giveaway!

It has been a depressing week of rain. The kids are newly out of school for the summer and being trapped in a house with three energetic children has been no less than nightmarish. But things started to look a little brighter when a package from Krafty Kidz Creations arrived in the mail!
My children especially my girls love to create! One Christmas Santa brought them a fabulous craft table and all sorts of supplies...he knew I was becoming a little frustrated with clearing my kitchen table of glue and sequins everyday just to eat. Needless to say, my children love to experiment and express themselves with all types of craft media but I often find it hard to keep it simple and quick when we are dragging out all sorts of items. This is one of the reasons craft kits appeal to me and Krafty Kidz Creations has a fabulous assortment of pre-packaged craft kits for children of varying ages. My children received two crafts each to try. The instructions were easy to follow and the crafts were self-contained and only required glue. Some even came with tubes of glitter glue! My son made an eye-patch great for a pirate theme party and I must admit it was quite snappy looking with the glue on jewels! He also made a cool spider magnet. My daughters made a beautiful butterfly wand complete with glitter and jewels--perfect for girls' princess or tea parties--and two lovely felt hanging ornaments again decorated with glitter and ribbon! They also made a flower keychain and a bird magnet.
Founder Joanne Soltesz like myself is a creative mother of three. She was always being complimented on her creative children's parties and she and Karla (Mikulus) Pires came up with the idea to make children's party planning easier for all moms! Buy fabulous pre-packaged crafts from Krafty Kidz as great party activities or as goodie bag add-ons or buy pre-made loot bags from Krafty Kidz.
But what makes Krafty Kidz even more fabulous and unique is their party planning! Yes, you can contact them with your party theme ideas and they will create a party including related crafts. You can choose a Party in a Box or if you are local to Maple Ridge, British Columbia Krafty Kidz Creations offers In-Home parties with set-up included! How great for busy B.C. moms! Looking for children's goodie bags for a children's event or even a corporate function? Krafty Kidz can provide you with a unique bag of crafty activities that will meet your needs!
One lucky Northern Mama reader will have the opportunity to busy their children indoors on a rainy day or perhaps outside at the picnic table on a beautiful sunny day this summer with 3 Craft Kits from Krafty Kidz Creations! Beat the summer doldrums and enter to win!
To Enter:
  • Visit Krafty Kidz Creations and tell me your favourite item or service they offer {Required}
  • Non-bloggers may also enter but please leave your email with your comment

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my Button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link to your post

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes August 5th, 1009 10:00pm CT. For further details see General Giveaway Rules.

Greentainer Winner!

Kara said...
I follow your blog aswell
July 8, 2009 6:34 AM
Congrats Kara! I will email you and collect your information:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One Village Gifts ~ Review and Giveaway!

The world is one village, everyone interconnected through our economies, our environments, and our humanity! One Village Gifts understands this connection and empowers artisans worldwide while developing the sense of a global village--a responsibility of helping others, and lending a hand to ones neighbours. One Village Gifts offers beautifully handcrafted products created in India, Africa, the Amazon, and Nepal. These are fairly traded and environmentally responsible and sustainable products of exquisite quality!
Make One Village Gifts your one stop for socially conscious, unique, and stunning girlfriend gifts. Discover eco-friendly jewellery, handbags, and fair trade chocolate and coffee while knowing you are helping to provide an artisan an opportunity to make a healthy living in a poorer region of the world. Many of the artisans aided by One Village Gifts are women. These women are the local housewives of Nairobi who require the safety of a personal income if tragedy befalls their husbands; abused and discarded wives in India who have turned to prostitution for survival; displaced indigenous peoples of the Amazonian rainforests; the ravaged women of Rwanda; and the struggling poor of Nepal.

In the Amazon One Village Gifts has partnered with Rainforest Native supporting the creative work of Indigenous peoples. Jewellery is handcrafted with the ecology and sustainability of the rainforest in mind. You have heard about the wonderful health benefits of the Acai berry--an amazing Amazonian rainforest plant--but their esthetically pleasing appearance also makes them a fabulous material for embellishment! One Village Gifts carries eye-catching Acai berry bracelets in varying colours. These are made of natural seeds from the rainforests of Brazil and are sustainable, earth-friendly and absolutely show stopping for wearing on the beach this summer.
One Village Gifts is so much more than a store! It is about being socially responsible, about supporting and empowering primarily women suffering from poor circumstance, and about creating a global village of care and concern! It is about humanity! One Village Gifts allows you the opportunity to support this cause through the purchase of items but also through hosting Home Parties and becoming a One Village Gifts Consultant. From handbags to jewellery and chocolate One Village Gifts is the perfect place to shop for your girlfriends while helping girlfriends all over the world!
Your girlfriend here at Northern Mama would like to giveaway a naturally gorgeous orange One Village Gifts Acai 3-Strand Bracelet to one lucky reader!
To Enter:
  • Visit One Village Gifts and tell me your favourite item
  • Non-bloggers may enter but please leave your email address with your comment

Extra Entries:

  • Follow Northern Mama
  • Subscribe via email
  • Grab my button
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave me a link to your post

Giveaway open to Us and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes August 5th, 2009 10:00pm CT. Read General Giveaway Rules for further details.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Botanical Roots Review and Discount!

Botanical Roots Natural Body and Skincare

As a rule it is the dream of every woman to find that miraculous skin care product which makes her look and feel young, vivacious and healthy! I am no exception to this rule. I have spent time and money scouring the stores and scrounging through my cupboards for this skin care miracle most often with unproductive, or undesirable results. Enter Botanical Roots...products I believe are made in heaven or perhaps just made by Ashlee in the United States. Regardless Ashlee has delivered my skin a little piece of heaven and the miracle products it has been waiting for. Botanical Roots products are organic, made from all natural but indulgent and luxurious ingredients. These products delight not only your skin but your sense of smell. I must admit the products smell scruptious! I was lucky enough to try five Botanical Roots products and I could not pick just one favourite! They were all amazing.

The first product I indulged in was the Sugar Berry Body Polish created from fabulously alpha-hydroxy rich fruit, organic oils, and organic pure sugarcane sugar! I used this all over my body in the shower and came out feeling smooth and silky and smelling of sweet sugar. I'm sure my husband was just as appreciative of this product as I. This product gently exfoliates and moisturizes luxuriously. The only problem with this product is the urge to eat it the sweet scent will induce!

When I originally openned Botanical Roots Sweet Cheeks Facial Cleanser I feared using it. As I have mentioned in the past I have acne proned skin and my face is very sensitive to so many products. I admit I originally thought the appearance of the product was greasy but when I dipped a finger in I realized it was not greasy but rather sticky because it was made of organic honey. I am so glad I tried it because it is one of those miracle products! After using this cleanser my face felt softened, smoother and exfoliated but also moisturized without a greasy after effect! It also left my skin with an even radiant tone. I don't think my skin has looked so healthy! I will be purchasing more of this fabulous product which can be used not only as a cleanser but also as a non-drying facial mask! Again...YUM!

A great follow-up to the wonderful Sweet Cheeks facial Cleanser is the Botanical RootsMoisturizing Facial Elixir. This is one of Ashlee's best selling products and after using it I know why! This botanically rich moisturizing elixir is made of botanical oils and again I was hesitant. Applying oils to acne-prone skin is frightening. I used it very sparingly but focused in on the areas of my face I feel are in need of extra moisture and was very impressed. Most impressively the frown lines I have developed between my eyes lessened greatly in appearance after using this product for only a couple of days and I could not be happier with the youthful appearance the elixir produced! If you are like me and not used to applying oils to your face you will soon realize that it is not as discomfitting as one first anticipates. You only need to use a small amount for amazing results!

Many women whether they are make-up wearers or not do indulge in lip colour. Botanical Roots Berry Tint Lip Creme is a fabulous option for make-up lovers and non-make-up wearers alike. This Lip Tint is moisturizing and glossy producing a fabulously wet-lipped look without looking unnatural and overdone. The Berry Tint has a light minty scent and a red-purple hue. It feels deliciously fabulous on the lips. If you prefer Botanical Roots also carries a Ginger Tint with a peachy hue and Clear Shine. Speaking of delicious, The Chocolate Truffle Mask is one you will have to resist tasting. Most women are chocolate lovers so the scent of choclate is obviously inviting. This mask is high in anti-oxidants and gently pulls the impurities from your skin. It left my skin feeling clean, smooth and refreshed. This rich and creamy mask comes in a powder form, just add water and apply! Indulging in chocolate will never be the same!

Ashlee of Botanical Roots is offering Northern Mama readers a 20% discount until July 31st on all orders totalling $25 or more! Use the dicount code Northern in the coupon box when you check out. It is truly worth it to take advantage of this discount to discover some miraculous skincare of your own! I will be making an order myself shortly because my skin's health is so worth it!

Awesome Summer Beach Bag Reads Giveaway at Booking Mama!!

Many blogs are offering a Summer Beach Bag of Books giveaway from Hachette Book Group!!
Here are some blogs still offering this giveaway:
Be sure to enter :)

I'm So Happy For You~Book Review and Giveaway

Have you ever fallen victim to the use of the phrase "I'm so happy for you!"--a Cheshire cat smile stretching your face most unnaturally--wistfully wishing you could say it with heartfelt sincerity all the while knowing what lies beneath is a hint of envy, or perhaps even a seething, raging resentment? Female friendship can be both an unbending and tightly knit bond of love and support or a relationship of mutual deprecation mired in jealousy, and insecurity. Lucinda Rosenfeld has captured this darker side of female relationships in her wickedly witty new novel I'm So Happy For You coming to book stores July 29th! I'm So Happy For You will be every female's guilty pleasure read this summer!

Wendy is a woman who prides herself on being a good friend. She has spent her adult life listening to the relationship woes of her gregarious and dangerously beautiful best friend Daphne and despite her love for gossip {and the spreading of it} she always feels she rises above it by only passing information on for altruistic purposes. Wendy sees herself as the stable one, the one with the regular job, the cute--if not productive--husband, and no nonsense, anti-materialistic ideals. The only thing lacking in her "perfect" life is movement to the next phase, a baby! While Wendy and her husband struggle with fertility and Wendy begins to realize that their relationship is not the perfect one she has always envisioned, Daphne drops the bombshell which cuts free the fragile tethers of Wendy's deep seated insecurity, jealousy, and selfishness. Daphne's metamorphosis from "messed up friend" to the woman with it all--rich and gorgeous husband, beautiful, expensive home, and a baby on the way--catapults Wendy into the category of woman to be pitied! Wendy's cute husband who has been staying home to write a screenplay but has seemingly spent most of his time smoking weed and watching TV has cost them a home and Wendy's urge to have a baby has not been fulfilled after a year of fertility monitors and mechanical sex.

You will fall in love with this truly scandalous reveal of the lurking rivalries everyday women sometimes harbour under the smooth reflective surface of their seemingly intimate female friendships. I'm So Happy For You is a roller coaster ride of emotions most of us would hate to admit we might actually be hiding! As I read I found I was entirely sympathetic to the emotions of all the characters, caught between them like a ball in a pinball machine, siding with one then another. This novel is fabulously funny and a satisfying combination of leisurely enjoyment and introspective reading. I predict this book will fly off the book shelves this summer and be found on beach towels, cottage tables, and porch swings everywhere!
...And 5 copies of this book will make their way into the hands 5 lucky Northern Mama readers!!! Yes, Miram at Hachette Book Group has 5 copies to offer you!! So cross your fingers and be sure to say "I'm so happy for you!" to the five lucky winners if you find you are not one of them {and be sure to say it with a smile...whether you mean it or not}!

To Enter:
  • Be a Northern Mama Follower and comment here!!

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes August 3rd, 10:00pm CT. Read General Giveaway Rules for further information.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winner of Joyful Girl Naturals!

Congrats Prairie Mom of 2 Girls you've won the bug repellant! I will email you or you can contact me if you like:)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Roxannes Jewellery~Winner

12. Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...
I follow!
June 17, 2009 10:16 AM

Congrats Kara! I'll have the bracelet sent out to you :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Book Review ~ The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos

Margaret Mascarenhas weaves a tale of Venezuela's revolutionary history through the personal memories of her vivid and unforgettable characters in this beautifully written novel The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos.

Lily Quintanilla is soon to give birth to her first child but due to a fall she is confined to her bed. Surrounded by her family Lily envisions her long lost friend Irene Dos Santos. Irene Dos Santos, Lily's best friend--and entirely less "saintly" than her name "Two Saints" alludes--disappeared mysteriously 15 years previous while on a trip with Lily's family deep in the rain forests of their home Venezuela. The memories awakened by Lily's vision commence a vigil of personal storytelling. Each family member in turn offers tales to Lily's unborn baby, tales of revolution, love, and personal joys, conflicts, and hardships. The truth of Irene Dos Santos' disappearance unfolds and the reader is forced to grapple with questions of reality! What is real? Are our inner imaginings reality?
"These days, says Lucrecia, you have to take care to differentiate between dreams born of your subconscious that lead to awareness, and fantasies handed to you on a platter that lull you into a stupor. You have to be on your toes when it comes to discerning what is real." (Mascarenhas 2009: 346)

Are the characters Mascarenhas created fabrications of Irene's subconscious, fabricated personalities created by a mind stricken by mental illness? I was swept away by the tide of Venezuela's rich revolutionary and religious history.

This novel is beautifully written, the imagery bring the exotic Venezuela to life for those who have not experienced it! Mascarenhas' use of Spanish phrases adds pure authenticity to this sweeping drama. Fraught with metaphor and symbol this novel reveals the turmoil of a country divided. In 2004 the statue of the much venerated Indian Princess/goddess Maria Lionza mysteriously cracked in half her torso fallen backwards she looked to the sky. It is this awed and mysterious event which inspired Mascarenhas and acts as a symbol of the divisiveness within Venezuela and of its history!
Rich in deeply developed characterization, this was a book which took my breath away and drew me into a world which was exciting in its sensual and exotic flavour. Mascarenhas is a vastly talented writer and has an instinct for revealing the inner souls of her characters!
Marcarenhas is an American citizen of Goan heritage who has lived in Venezuela and is currently living in Goa, India. The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos was published in June by Grand Central Publishing part of the Hachette Book Group.

Winners of the book Ms. Taken Identity!

Carrie said...
I'm a follower! This book looks great- my library doesn't have it yet, so it would be great to win it.
June 15, 2009 9:25 PM
Trish said...
I am a follower. I am always looking for a new, fun, summer read!!
June 24, 2009 7:23 PM
Congrats!! I'll be in touch shortly or you are also welcome to email me:)