Wednesday, November 16, 2016

11 Best Holiday Gifts for Girls in 2016 - Tween and Teen

There are some amazing gadgets and gifts for teen and tween girls this holiday season. My favorites and my tween daughters are below.

3Doodler 2.0 Drawing Pen
This 3D drawing pen by Brookstone made my tween daughters Christmas list. It's one of the hottest toys for 2016 holiday season. Hoping it lives up to its promise - easy to use!

One of the best journals on the market for tweens and teens! It will keep your child engaged by prompting them to do things such as adding photos, painting a page with hot chocolate and coloring outside the lines. Creative and fun!

Wreck this Journal

Wired Cat Ear Headphones from Brookstone
Great tween or teen holiday gift gadget! LED lighted cat ears with over-the-ear cushioning for noise reduction and a secure fit. It also is USB rechargeable—up to 5 hours of playing time per charge.
LED lighted Headphones

Chocolate Bar Maker
Somehow, every year, a food toy makes my daughters list. This year it's the Chocolate Bar Maker by Moose Toys. I'm sure she'll only use it once or twice. I bought it for her because it made her list and I'll get a yummy chocolaty treat that she made especially for me.
Chocolate Bar Maker
Great book if your child is interested in crafting such as scrapbooking and card making. I purchased this along with Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Bright, 10-Pack

Writing Lettering for Crafts

Crayola Air Marker Sprayer
My tween daughter loves doing art projects. This Air Marker Sprayer available at many stores like Target and Walmart is another hot toy this 2016 holiday season. It also had great reviews. One thing that I like about it is that you can use any marker versus having to purchase something unique that can't be used alone.
Pie Face! Game
Help! Yes it's hilariously fun! Yes my kids will love this! But I'm still torn between purchasing this game or the Bounce-Off game. Having whipped cream splattered on my kids (or their friends) face will be hilarious! As a mommy of four, I just don't want to deal with the mess it will create and the cost of continually having to purchase whipped cream just doesn't excite me. 
Smartphone VR Headset with Earphones from Smarter ImagePriced at only $49.99, this Smartphone VR Headset with Earphones from Smarter Image will give you an amazing 3-D experience. We tried it, and absolutely love it! The best part is that it is compatible with all smartphones up to 3.875” W x 7.5” H. 

Virtual Reality Headset

Day At The Spa Gift Set by Creativity for Kids
I did purchase this for my tween daughter. She and her five year old sister asked for this for Christmas. It's a bit pricey, but I think they'll get a lot of use out of it. At least, I'm hoping.

It comes with an inflatable pedicure foot tub, nail dryer that is battery operated, satin eye mask, pedicure slippers and toe separators, nail file, buffer, 4 bottles of nail polish, 1 bottle of glitter polish, 6 sets of printed press-on nails, stick-on nail art, nail stand, cotton balls and satin spa bag to hold all of your supplies. Batteries not included.
Spa Kids Gift Set

Fun gadget when you are doing your homework and need a breather. 

Remote Aircraft Toy

Last, but not least, Spot it! is one of our favorite games to play. It's a face paced game that develops focus, visual perception and strategy.
Spot it! Card Game

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

11 Best Holiday Gifts for Boys in 2016 - Tween and Teen

Every holiday season, I spend hours upon hours researching the latest and greatest gadgets and gifts to purchase for my kids for Christmas. This year, I discovered 11 cool holiday gifts for my tween and teen boys.

Virtual Reality Headset for Gaming and Movies
This is the coolest gadget for the 2016 holiday gift season. Great for kids and adults. I haven't purchased one yet; but it has made one of my son's top Christmas list requests. Right now, I'm highly considering the Smartphone VR Headset with Earphones from Smarter Image. It's priced competitively at $49.99 and has 5 star reviews. 

The following are two review sites that are helping me in my decision process. Virtual Reality review
Virtual Reality headset by

Virtual Reality Headset

Infrared Laser Tag from Smarter Image
This is just one cool gadget for only $69.99! You get two infrared laser rifles (one blue one green) that “shoots” infrared light, and two (blue and green) visors that records hits up to 100 ft. away. The rifles also can transform to a pistol. Another amazing feature is the visor has a scan” feature that tells you when your opponent is getting close. 

Virtual Pong from Smarter Image
Smarter Image rocks with cool gadgets for the entire family. The Virtual Pong game priced at only $79.99 is on the top of our list this year. It's great for those cold winter days. 

Atari Flashback 7 Classic Video Game Console
This looks like such a cool video game system! It comes with 101 games that I played when I was growing up. It has mixed reviews. Honestly, technology didn't work well in the 80's and 90's so this console may bring back some great memories. 

I purchased this from Bed Bath & Beyond, using a 20% coupon.

Atari Flashback 7 Video Game Console
Vista Sage 62" Recurve Take-down Bow
My 13 year old son asked for this. After doing some research, I decided to purchase it from Basspro due to price savings. I also purchased him a Vista Recurve Bow and Arrow case from Cabela's, along with some Carbon arrows.
Vista Sage Recurve Take-down Bow

K'nex K-force Mega Boom Building Set

This was a Lightning Deal on Amazon, so I couldn't pass it up as a surprise gift for my tween boy. He loves building Lego's and shooting Nerf guns. Hopefully he'll enjoy this as much. 
K'nex K-force Mega Boom Building Set
Google Pixel
I haven't purchased this yet, but am highly considering it. For the past five years, we've been an iPhone family. With Google playing such a big role in my kids educational lives, I'm leaning towards investing in the Google Pixel for my boy and girl twins.

Google Pixel Mobile Phone
Google Pixel=

Fishing rod
My boys love to fish. This year, my 13 year old asked for a Shakespeare Catch More Fish Rod and Reel Combo for Catfish
Fishing Rod

Not for Parent How to Be a World Explorer

This was another mommy surprise gift for my 13 year old son. 
World Explorer Book

Beats by Dr. Dre - Powerbeats2 Wireless Earbud Headphones - These are one of the hottest gifts of the season. For the price, all I'm hoping is that they truly are comfortable and work!

Wireless Earbud Headphones
Framed portrait of my boys favorite sports team and playerMy boys are big MLB and NFL fans. This year I wanted to get them something they can see and enjoy every day - Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots Framed 15" x 17" Super Bowl XLIX Champions (purchased from Fanatics and used a 40% + free shipping coupon) and Chicago Cubs Highland Mint 2016 World Series Champions 13" x 16" Key Moments
Rob Gronkowski SuperBowl PictureChicago Cubs World Series Framed Picture

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

7 Simple SEO Hacks for Bloggers

I've been helping businesses (and mom bloggers) for years optimize their website, landing pages and blog. Many recommendations I make are simple and can easily be fixed, while others take time and sometimes an investment in resources. 

Here are my top seven SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips:
  1. Know what keywords you want to rank for
    • Keywords are one of the most important SEO hacks. As a mom, lifestyle or professional blogger, you need to determine what keywords you want searchers to be able to find your blog when they are querying. 
    • Use long-tail keywords in your content. These types of keywords are 3 to 4 words in length and are specific to what you are selling or offering. For instance, if your are a recipe blogger, instead of using the word recipe alone, add more description such as pumpkin pie family recipe.
    • Research competitors for the top keywords they are ranking for. This will also give you ideas on additional keywords you can use within your content.
    • Don't over use one keyword throughout your blog. Again, it will appear spammy when crawling your site.
    • Sprinkle long-tail keywords within your informational blog post. When Google crawls your site, it is looking for consistency and a few keyword variations to be able to understand what your content is about. 
    • There are lots of tools available for getting keyword ideas such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and SEMRush.
  2. Optimize your Titles
    • Include your keywords in your mom blog title.
    • Try to keep your titles under 55 characters. Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag.
  3. Format URL's so search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo can read them
    • Include descriptive keywords in your URL's. When creating titles and content, write for the reader not for the search engines crawling your page.
    • Use hyphens instead of underscores to separate words. A word of caution though, overuse of hyphens can be seen as spammy by the search engines. So watch out how long your make your URL.
    • URL character length should be no longer than 2,048 characters. If longer, Internet Explorer won't be able to load the page.
  4. Add Alt Text to all your images using keywords and variations of your keywords
  5. Sprinkle keywords and links within your blog post. 
    • Many bloggers believe that they should load their blog post with the same keyword and also link to ten plus sites. This is seen by the search engines as being spammy. Instead, include variations of your keyword and link a few of your keyword variations to other sites.
  6. Ensure link relevancy
    • Building link relevancy helps establish trust for your site. Link relevancy is determined by search engines by both the content of the source page and the anchor text. 
    • Include short-tail or long-tail keywords in your Anchor Text. Anchor text is the words that hyperlinks display when linking to another website, landing page or document.
  7. Register your blog with Google Search Console
    • Google Search Console is a free tool that helps you monitor and fix your blog. Your able to see which pages are causing 404 errors, what keywords Google thinks is relevant for your blog and if the search engine is having problems crawling your site.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tiny Prints 2016 Invitations, Holiday Cards and Personalized Gifts Savings

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Monday, August 29, 2016

8 Tips for Parents to Monitor Kids Online Behavior

Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Minecraft and Pokemon Go are only a handful of the thousands of online social media channels and apps where kids can get lost and obsessed. Even though there are many benefits to kids using these sites and apps including problem-solving, increased socialization and creativity, there are many more downsides. 

In fact, just recently I read about a new type of depression called "Facebook depression." It's where de-friending and cyberbullying can affect a child's (and also an adults) self-esteem and self-worth causing symptoms of depression. Those Facebook pictures always look like people are having a great time. The question to ask, "Are they really?" or "Are they just posing for the camera?"

As parents, we not only have to prepare our kids for the real world, we also have to prepare them for the online world. The following are some tips to help monitor your kids social networking time and experience:

  1. Create kids rules for online safety
  2. Discuss what online reputation is
  3. Talk about online dangers
  4. Friend your child on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
  5. Set a power down time where kids are kids - technology-free
  6. Check privacy and restriction settings, especially Youtube and Ratings for apps, movies, music and tv shows
  7. Use online monitoring software such as Net Nanny
  8. Keep mobile phones and computers out of your kids bedroom when sleeping

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Marketing Your Self-published Children's Book

Award winning children's book
I can't believe it's been 10 years since I've been writing and illustrating children's books. It started with a simple idea where I drew up kid-friendly colorful characters that lived in the rainbow and called them Splatter and Friends. Years later, I had another inspirational children's book idea  Wunderkind Family children's chapter book collection. My end all goal for these books was to inspire kids to read and imagine and to teach them about themselves.

I've made mistakes along the way, such as rushing to publish a book before investing in professional editing and then having to redo the entire book again. I also discovered there are easier ways in illustrating a book such as using a Wacom drawing tablet. And I continue to find new ways in marketing my World-wide children's book brands.

Self-publishing is growing. It's not an easy journey making it into a lucrative career, but it is possible.

How to market your self-published children's book
  • Use social media to spread the word. The tools that have worked well for me are:
  • Children's chapter book mystery
  • Get book reviews and have them not only post a review on their blog, but also on Amazon and Goodreads
  • Start locally by holding local author events and writing workshops. Contact your local newspaper and ask them to do a write-up about your event
  • Get your children's self-published books on consignment in local bricks and mortar books stores
  • Get your children's story in the hands of teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents, relatives and kids by giving them away 
  • Offer giveaways and deals, especially around the holidays
  • Become a member of SCBWI and participate in their workshops
  • Network on Goodreads and ask people to review your book
  • Create an author page on Amazon.
  • Become a member of Linkedin writing and self-publishing groups
  • Market your book on Net Galley for additional reviews
  • Submit your children's book for awards
Children's book and angels
Creating brand awareness for your children's book is an investment of time and money. Most likely it won't happen overnight. It's truly a journey.

I hope you'll share other ideas! And please check out my books on!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Children's Book Blast $25 Cash Giveaway - This Little President by Joan Holub

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Children's Book Blast for the newly-released children's board book, "This Little President: A Presidential Primer" by Joan Holub and Daniel Roode.


About the Book

Title: This Little President: A Presidential Primer | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Daniel Roode | Publication Date: January 12, 2016 | Publisher: Little Simon | Pages: 26 | Recommended Ages: 2 to 6

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Goodreads | Indiebound | iBook | Kobo

Children's Book Description: A children's picture board book primer on presidents. Learn about the United States Presidents with this bright and playful board book! Highlighting ten of the most memorable USA Presidents—and featuring all forty-four on the last page—parents and little leaders-in-training alike will love sharing this fun primer full of age-appropriate facts, leadership skills, and White House history.
Leading our country. Helping you and me. Keeping all fifty states safe, happy, and free. Little presidents have a great big job.
See more at Little Simon  

Sneak Peek of This Little President Children's Picture Book

This Little President Joan Holub - Inside Page AThis Little President Joan Holub - Inside Page B  

About the Author: Joan Holub

Joan-Holub-GG-264x300Joan Holub is the author of 140+ books for children including the Mini Myths series of 8 board books: Be Careful, Icarus!, Brush Your Hair, Medusa!, Make A Wish Midas! Joan also authored the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan also co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training (ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books).

Author Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Facebook

** Children's Picture Book Blast Giveaway **

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Giveaway ends: January 26, 11:59 pm, 2016 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Joan Holub and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services

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