About mudpies

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

Our kids love listening to music, audio books and radio broadcasts.  The issue has been streaming them into their rooms.  Typically we have had to take in a computer.  No biggie for the girls, but we don’t trust the boys not to use a computer to perfect their ninja moves. LOL! Thankfully, Best Buy just sent us Google Chromecast Audio!

Google Chromecast Audion #ad

The Chromecast Audio, is an easy-to-set up and easy-to-use Google device. It’s drawback is the same since the stone age of computers, 1995 — compatibility.
It took less than five minutes to plug the votive-sized puck into a computer speaker in our boy’s room. Our intent, was to be able to stream music and stories into their room at night for them to listen to as they go to sleep.
This is our second Chrome device — fourth if you count Chromebooks. We’ve had an HP Chromebook since 2014 that works as well now as the day we bought it. It took some time getting used to it’s complete dependence on wifi, but it’s got an enviable battery life and it stands up to kid use. We got a ChromeCast for a second tv. I bought it the day after Christmas after the grandparents bought a flatscreen tv for our kids. We’re pretty much an Apple family but we have been bothered that we can’t get Amazon Prime shows on our Apple TV, so Chromecast seemed like an excellent option. No podcasts on it. There’s other apps that have some stories, but you need to buy the premium app to cast it. Overdrive — the app used by our library system for audio books, doesn’t cast from iPhones without some workarounds listed on several sites that come up under a perfunctory Google search. Tunein Radio, a free app with a premium option, seems to be a great source. We were able to stream Adventures in Odyssey — one of the boys’ favorites, from the radio station here.

Google Chromecast Audion #ad

Now that we have some compatible apps, we are loving this!

Google Chromecast Audion #ad

It sits nicely on the boys little bookshelf in their room and it’s so sweet to see them sitting there and listening to stories with their Chromecast Audio.  Another bonus to this system is that you can stream to multiple rooms!

Google Chromecast Audion #ad

It uses wi-fi and has a crystal clear sound with no delays and skips.  There are hundreds of compatible apps available, so take your time and find out which work best for you and your family!  You can learn more about this over at Best Buy.

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post.  The content and images were supplied by Sea Life Michigan.  All opinions are my own.

Last year we took the kids over to Sea Life Michigan to explore.  They had a great time!  In fact, they have been asking about when we can go back, PLUS Sea Life Michigan is located next to a Rain Forest Cafe and a LEGOLAND Discovery Center.  We’d like to go back when can hit all three places.

Recently, Sea Life Michigan had some exciting news and they sent me this information to share:

SEA LIFE MICHIGAN AQUARIUM CELEBRATES SECOND ANNIVERSARY

WITH ADDITION OF RESCUED GREEN SEA TURTLE

Carr, the 85 lbs sea turtle, took the plunge into his new home, where he will join Benson,

a 28 lbs rescued sea turtle, in the aquarium’s ocean tank

Sea Life Michigan in Auburn Hills has welcomed a new resident to its 120,000 gallon ocean tank: Carr the rescued Green Sea Turtle.

Sea Life Michigan

Weighing in at 85 lbs, Carr will join Benson, a 28 lbs rescued sea turtle, who came to the AZA accredited aquarium last year. Carr was severely injured in a boat collision that resulted in a deformed carapace and persistent floatation issues. He was nursed to health by the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida, and made the journey to Michigan accompanied by rehab teams from Gumbo Limbo and SEA LIFE Michigan.

Sea Life Michigan

“At SEA LIFE, we are dedicated to conservation and protecting wildlife. We are so happy to welcome Carr and provide him with a safe and happy home with expert care,” said Kelli Cadenas, SEA LIFE Michigan curator. “We hope visiting Carr will enable our visitors to learn more about protection and conservation efforts of endangered animals worldwide and inspire them to take an active role in eliminating human threats.”

Although he is healthy and doing well, Carr is non-releasable, which means he will never be able to survive in the wild. Since arriving at the aquarium, Carr has received round-the-
clock care and monitoring in a special med pool for a week and learned SEA LIFE Michigan’s target training feeding technique before being released into the ocean tank.

Sea turtles are an endangered species; only 1,000-10,000 of the turtle hatchlings born each year will survive to adulthood, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. They face not only natural threats from predators, but also human-caused threats such as commercial fishing, pollution, beach erosion and illegal hunting.

Kroger, one of the world’s largest grocery store chains, has donated $1500 toward Carr’s healthy eating plan, a diet currently consisting of fresh vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber and peppers.

Sea Life Michigan

You can learn more about Sea Life Michigan and buy tickets by visiting their website.

Enter below for your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to Sea Life Michigan!

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for Paramount Pictures. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions are always my own.

fences #FencesMovie #ad #RWM

Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centers on a black garbage collector named Troy Maxson in 1950s Pittsburgh. Bitter that baseball’s color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues, Maxson is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones. Both Washington and co-star Viola Davis won Tonys for their performances in the 2010 revival of the play. Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, and Mykelti Williamson round out the supporting cast.

On March 14th, this powerful movie will be available nationwide on Blu-Ray, DVD, Combo packs and as a Digital HD viewing.  You will be able to find it at retailers such as Amazon, iTunes, Best Buy, Walmart and more.

Visit FencesMovie.com to learn more about the cast, see more trailers and see what awards it has been nominated for.

I am excited to offer the following giveaway of Fences.  One reader will win a combo pack:

FENCES Blu-ray Combo Pack
The FENCES Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.  The combo pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film as well as the following:
Blu-ray
  • Feature film in high definition
  • Bonus Content:
    • Expanding the Audience: From Stage to Screen
    • The Company of Fences
    • Building Fences: Denzel Washington
    • Playing the Part: Rose Maxson
    • August Wilson’s Hill District

Please note that shipping could take 4-6 weeks.  Enter below for your chance to win.

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever stumbled upon an Amazon store and thought that you wanted all their products? The products available from AmaziPro8 are all useful, and they would make my life easier. I love shopping at Amazon because I can get these products shipped in 2 days for FREE with Prime Shipping. Here are just a few of their products that I would love to have but make sure you check out their store because they have many products to pick from!

Personal Items:

Electronics

 

In the Kitchen

As you can see they have products that can help in all areas of our lives!

Lots of great looking items! What interests you the most?

Giveaway Details:

We will have 5 winners! Each winner can pick out any item they want from the AmaziPro8 Shop! It is open to US residents only. Giveaway is live until March 2, 2017, at 1159pm EST. Good Luck!

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: These items were received free of charge but all opinions are always my own.

Looking for some unique Valentine’s Gift Ideas for 2017?  Check out a few of my recommendations below……

Queen of Katwe.

Queen of Katwe #ad

Disney presents Queen of Katwe, a movie based on a vibrant true story starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo. A Ugandan girl’s life changes forever when she discovers she has an amazing talent for chess in this celebration of the human spirit.

Home audiences will cheer for Disney’s Queen of Katwe, which has earned widespread critical acclaim. Based on the vibrant true story of a young girl (Madina Nalwanga) from the streets of Uganda whose world changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. It is a remarkable story of perseverance against all odds that will leave viewers feeling humbled and inspired.  According to director Mira Nair, “The triumph of the human spirit is not to weep for what we don’t have but to focus on what we do have and allow that to take us to a place we never imagined possible.”

Definitely a movie for the whole family.  It’s well-done, stars one of my favorites (David Oyelowo) and is so inspirational!

Available on Amazon on Blu-Ray, DVD or as a rental/digital download.

Pinocchio.

The Walt Disney Signature Collection presents a timeless story for a new generation. With his friend Jiminy Cricket by his side, Pinocchio embarks on fantastic adventures that test his bravery, loyalty and honesty in his quest to become a real boy.

Pinocchio #ad

Disney’s timeless tale Pinocchio, considered one of the greatest animated films ever made with two Academy Awards, joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Now it will delight a whole new generation of dreamers with its masterful animation, unforgettable characters and award-winning music. The movie which inspired the world to wish upon a star, arrives for the first time on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Jan. 10, and on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Jan. 31 with hours of new and classic bonus features.

I grew up with this movie and even directed a kids production of Pinocchio.  I am thrilled that we now own this for our kids!

Available on Amazon Blu-Ray, DVD or as a rental/digital download.

Annie’s

Annie's #ad

If you are getting your kids snacks for Valentine’s Day, why not make it snacks you can believe in and they will enjoy?  We LOVE Annie’s products!  Their cereal is awesome, their soups amazing and we love everything in this photo!  The pancake mix makes some great pancakes (or waffles).  The soups are really good and so nice and easy.  Since they come in boxes, our kids are able to easily make this soup on their own.  And who doesn’t love their Cheddar Bunnies?

Annie's #ad

You can shop the full line of Annie’s products on their website.

Groggle’s Monster Valentine

Groggle #ad

Groggle has been up all night making a Valentine’s Day card. This isn’t just any Valentine, though, and it has to be perfect—it’s for Snarlina, his beast friend in the whole wide world.

Searching in the dark forest, he finds just the right heart-shaped leaves. He collects some bog slime and squirts everything he wants to say in bold, gooey letters. Groggle’s creation looks horribly good. But there’s just one problem—gobble, crunch, crunch, slurp! He has a monster appetite!

Groggle tries again, this time writing poem after poem to make sure he has some extras just in case. He picks skunk flowers, carefully ties on snake bows, and sprinkles shiny beetle glitter. He decorates each card with care. But . . . gobble, crunch, crunch, slurp! Groggle’s monster impulses foil his efforts and he’s run out of time.

Will Groggle ever be able to give his toothsome, stomping, monstrous friend Snarlina a Valentine? Find out in this monster of a tale.

Fans of Rachel Bright’s The Love Monster series will fall in love with Groggle and his Snarlina!

Jack thinks this book is hilarious!

Available for under $8 on Amazon!

Tracing books #ad Tracing books #ad

These cute books by Angie Hewitt are Jack’s new favorites.  To be honest, I was a bit surprised.  They are very simple.  But he LOVES tracing the numbers and counting.  In the shapes book, he can trace the shapes and work on his colors.  We read these 4-5 times a day right now!

Colors and Shapes:

Presenting a fun and engaging way to introduce early learning concepts to young children! Kids can use their finger to follow the grooves on each page to learn about basic shapes and colors. Practice tracing squares, circles, triangles, and more, all while learning to identify the color of each shape.

The Little Groovers series is an excellent way for children to:

Develop hand-eye coordination
Encourage motor skills development
Boost learning through interactive play
Colors and Shapes is an engaging and fun-filled way to introduce early concepts to toddlers. Practice again and again with this new board book series to get children ready for preschool and prewriting.

Available on Amazon.

First Numbers:

Presenting a fun and engaging way to introduce early learning concepts to young children! Kids can use their finger to follow the grooves on each page to learn numbers 1–10. They can practice their numbers by tracing the grooves with their fingers from one snail all the way up to ten leaping frogs.

The Little Groovers series is an excellent way for children to:

Develop hand-eye coordination
Encourage motor skills development
Boost learning through interactive play
First Numbers is an engaging and colorful way to introduce early concepts to toddlers. Practice again and again with this new board book series to get children ready for preschool and prewriting.

Available on Amazon.

 

 

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen