Children’s Author Claressa Swensen Made Me An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Children’s Author Claressa Swensen Made Me An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

The lovely author Claressa Swensen made me an offer I couldn’t refuse this week. The offer was to read children’s books and let her know what I think. Well, I happen to love giving opinions and reading children’s books. Below are three books she shared with me.

My girl’s loved the middle book the best. I guess they could start their own blog to tell you about it, but I thought it would be a little faster for me to let you know on here.

Dino Dino Doing Homework by Claressa Swensen

This book is reminiscent of the Llama Llama Books by Anna Dewdney. I say that as a huge, huge compliment as we really love those books around these parts. The rhyming scheme feels natural and leads you through the story in a sing song happy way. When reading to my daughters I slipped effortlessly into the characters and the flow of the story while reading aloud.

The moral of the story was (spoiler alert) that you should do your homework before all the playing. This is definitely a book we will revisit when we get back into the school year. I absolutely love the illustrations. The simple, bold pictures and colors feel like a relief to my eyes. That seems an odd way to explain, but it just brings me joy the way the layout of words and pictures go.


Teensy The Littlest Fairy by Claressa Swensen

There she is! Our favorite little lady!

This book turned out to be the favorite of my daughters (4 and 6) in the three we read by this author. I was happy to see the range Claressa Swensen has when we moved into this book. This story was not rhyming. The main character named Teensy was displeased with her size.

I thought that I knew the direction this story was going and it threw me a little curveball. How fun to still get surprises from a children’s book at my (slightly older) age. The story encourages eating vegetables and it actually packs a nice bit of info on the different tastes.

Again I have to take a moment to give the illustrator a pleased shout out. My girls fell in love with the fairy drawings, the caterpillar, and the butterflies. We were pretty excited by this book.


Nap Time With Harry by Claressa Swensen

This book was a happy story about twin siblings and their dream car friend Harry. I very much liked the encouragement this book had to sleep. To be fair I am a huge fan of sleep, so there was a natural appreciation for this book right off the bat.

Honestly my daughters were wanting to read about Teensy again while I read this aloud. I really wanted them to be taking notes on how happy Tony and Tina were about nap time. I can’t fault them for still thinking about their new friend Teensy. Having been introduced to a few new character friends today it’s only natural to pick favorite.

I don’t know if I mentioned this previously, but the illustrations are a stroke of genius. A great team up with the author. I look forward to reading this one a few more times. This story is a good send off to bed time with the rainbow slide and Harry. We talk often about happy things we are going to dream about to keep any scary dreams away. This book brilliantly gives us some more things to imagine as we drift off.

You can find these stories on amazon here: 

Find Clarissa’s Facebook here:

Also please check out her site

Author Claressa chatting up Teensy the Fairy.
Author Claressa chatting up Teensy the Fairy.
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My Big Tree Children’s Book

My Big Tree Children’s Book

Sometimes having this blog pays off with really neat opportunities. Today is one of those days. A lovely lady named Maria has written a children’s book and she allowed me to read the book to my daughters. I got to review it. If I could go back in time and tell my younger self who adored reading that I was going to get to do something like that– I might not have been so sad about how slow I ran the mile for the physical fitness test. Time travel was not to be back then, but today for you a review of the My Big Tree Children’s book.

Here is my review on this book:

“My Big Tree is a new favorite book at our house. This story has seamlessly woven together a plot including animals, colors, counting, and an important lesson. I read this book with both my four year old and six year old daughters. My six year old was able to read it to me and my four year old enjoyed counting out the characters. I am a sucker for a book that grows with the children to keep them learning.

The message was fantastic. The grass is not always greener, and this was an easy way to help the kids see. The whimsical illustrations perfectly paired with the “voice” in the writing to meld into the perfect story that I will love reading with my kids over and over again.

This book reminded me of my favorite book when I was younger called The Poky Little Puppy’s Counting Book. I loved counting out the different critters and objects in that book to my mom. I saw the same joy from my children when reading this book.

There is no doubt in my mind that this book has earned its place as a favorite in our family and I will be on the look out for additional books from Maria Ashworth to add to our library. ”

Also if you want some more info please click here for a cute little trailer for the book.
Book will go on sale August 9th. Book will be available from the publisher, Amazon, B&N along with brick and mortar. Ask your bookstore to order if not available. 
 A magnetic story board to accompany the book is available at her website. 


My Big Tree
My Big Tree Back Cover with a picture of that lovely Author!
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Dear Victim Blamers and Rapist Defenders

Dear Victim Blamers and Rapist Defenders

Dear Victim Blamers and Rapist Defenders,

Hello, my name is Mandelynn. I don’t believe we have met. I have read your comments on numerous social platforms with utter disbelief and if we are being honest disgust. I wanted to take a minute to explain why what I am reading is so puzzling to me.

The puzzlement is in relation to the new phrase I have heard to explain why rape happens. Frighteningly enough, some people don’t believe rapes are caused by the rapists. They believe it is caused by some new bullshit buzz phrase called “party culture.” This phrase has been used to explain and defend the inexcusable.

I plan on laying out what I find disagreeable about blaming a rape victim. I work better with examples, so I’m going to provide one to walk us through.

If you were to hear about a case where a female is drunk and a male is drunk. The male rapes the female. Let’s also say that the male was caught and witnessed by other men. This way we know it really happened (because men saw it.) Let’s say it took place behind a dumpster and the woman was passed out.

The female was doing nothing illegal in enjoying drinks. The male was not doing anything wrong while enjoying drinks. The part that went wrong was when the male decided that he was able to touch another person. The female was maintaining her autonomy. Once the male encroached on that, he was in the wrong.

There is a clear double standard in drinking that is dumbfounding. I’ll try to put it simply:

The second a woman sips a drink she must become more vigilant. Her observations must increase in terms of who is around her, where her friends are, if a piece of trash could climb out of a dumpster to attack, and also by the way she should never leave her drink unattended. If she should make any misstep in these and end up harmed, she is at fault equally to the person that attacked her.

On the other hand once a man sips, he can no longer even control his penis. His responsibility decreases so far that some people don’t even believe he can tell right from wrong anymore. How can he be expected to not rape anyone? Is he supposed to know a passed out woman is off limits?  She was there (physically at least) and obviously she wasn’t keeping track of all the things I listed above, so she must be at fault too. Don’t get me started on what she was wearing either. I think there may have been ankle showing.

“Party culture” is not what I would call this. I would call this men raised so babied that they honestly don’t believe they are at fault. Men that are so used to blame being shifted from them that they think they are entitled to receive a get out of jail free card. If you have raised a son to believe that he is not responsible for what he does when intoxicated, do us mothers of daughters a favor and keep them home from college. Additionally if you believe the victim shares the blame, please use more common sense.



– If you read through this and realized that this is a departure from my normal “voice,” I would like to explain in this way: I have two little girls. Someday they are going to go to college. I am disgusted reading daily about a particular case making it seem that the price of going to college for our daughters, is for them to accept that they may end up raped (1 in 6 freshmen will be according to us news.) I won’t accept people saying that the “party culture” is responsible. The rapists are and have always been the cause.

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My Top 5 Best Favorite Blogs in 2015

My Top 5 Best Favorite Blogs in 2015
My Top 5 Best Favorite Blogs in 2015

Hello this is my Top 5 Best Favorite Blogs in 2015 list. There are many more that I fell in love with, but I felt like the window was quickly closing for me to have a 2015 countdown I had to go for it. If you aren’t on the list, just know that is the reason. Set your sights on next year.

#1: Sammiches & Psych Meds

There are so many reasons. First of all this site accepts writing from some of my very favorite bloggers. Do you know what that means? Not only do you get the wit and humor of Lola Lolita, you get a whole gaggle of fantastic writers. I forgot to check if gaggle is what they want to go by, but I feel like it feels write (haha- get it.) Any hoot another bonus is that they have Mock Mom in the same website. Mock Mom is a satirical news site and it’s good.

If you are in the market for reading, don’t forget to check out the Books page for some places to find Lola’s writing.

#2: In The Powder Room

Much like Sammiches, this site houses some of the fantastic writers that I keep up on their personal blogs. I love the humor. I love the variety and I love the editor Leslie and deputy editor Sarah. I think they probably smell really good. Little known fact they were the first to take a chance on putting something of mine out there. They are good people.

#3: Hacker.Ninja.Spy.Hooker.

Aussa Lorens is the name on the blog. So that means that I already love it because the name is epic. I can only read so much parenting stuff even though it’s my favorite…this is a palette cleanser and guilty pleasure. This blogger has a pretty remarkable existence and I love reading about it. Sometimes it’s like a “I’m so glad I am not her right now” and some times it’s a “she is so stinkin’ cute- I wish I was her.”

#4: Abby Has Issues

I am kind of amazed at the sheer number of funny things this woman is able to come up with. If you don’t end up following her blog, please at least check out her facebook or twitter. OMG funny. Everyday I laugh at (I pretend it’s with) her. Also I love a blogger that isn’t afraid to dig into their less funny side too.

#5 Hungry Beastling

This blog is not one that you would automatically pick me as a fan of. Especially if you saw me eating my bowl of mashed potatoes (the instant flake kind) for supper while I write this up. I do however love this blog. I love that the voice is authentic and the information is important. I may not be using it right now, but I’m storing it for when I attack my weight loss and health goals. Also personally I kind of adore the writer. She is so sweet and supportive. Also she’s an amazing dancer. I don’t mean that we went clubbing I mean as a profession.

That concludes my list of Favorite blogs in 2015.

I have just reached the one year anniversary of my own blog. Hopefully I will improve enough over this year to make my list in 2016. Seems unlikely, but I can dream.

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Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse…or is it?

Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse…or is it?

In this post we will explore the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse cartoon.

I can’t even wait. I’m going to answer the question in the title right now. YES!!! Yes life is a dream in the Barbie Dreamhouse. Granted the Dreamhouse has had a couple hiccups. Ken built it. In one episode there is a closet robot that takes over the house and traps Barbie in the closet when she was supposed to be modeling in a fashion show (the horror.) That silly “evil” switch was flipped (by Raquel), so totes not the robot in the closets fault. Luckily Ken was able to build her a new house after that one was destroyed. This time omitting a switch that turns things evil (in general a good idea.)

I really do love this cartoon. Which is surprising because there is a lot of cutesy language like “totes” and “fab.” I like to pretend that I am above that due to my age and maturity level. Maybe my love of Tay-Tay Swifty has mellowed my personality to accepting and finding this endearing (because baker’s gotta bake.) I don’t know. I make no excuses (well after that one.) I can’t help but love when my children throw out a “Mom, that looks fab.”

This cartoon is shot like a Real World reality show with interviews to the cast members. After and during the plot of the show. Genius! Hilarious! All the -ious’s!!

This show is more Girl Power than I expected from Barbie. Although Ken is around to help etc. she never really “asks” or “begs” for help. She problem solves. The problems are not always up to par with saving the world (think super hero’s for fashion emergencies, and getting pets to take baths) she’s able to handle it. Is it weird that I’m talking about her like a real person? I don’t know if it is or not.

OK so here are the changes I have seen in my kids play after watching this show: Sophie (5 years) was playing with my old Barbies. Ken and Barbie were at the alter about to seal the deal and Sophie talking as Barbie says: “Now Ken, Let me tell you the rules.” I so badly wanted to question whether this was during vows or after- but I was choking on the lump of pride in my throat. You go girl! Make sure you print extra copies in case he loses them.

Nina (3 years old) has really latched onto the character Midge from the show. Which is great. The only problem that happens is that she has a slight speech thing where when she says Midge it sounds like Bitch. This is hilarious to me. We were playing, she had a Barbie doll on a bike coming toward my Barbie. She yells out “Watch out Midge.” Which as you now know is akin to “Watch out Bitch.” Ah good times.

Our favorite Dreamhouse toy has been the below camper. Hands down. Played with often. If not by the girls, you can bet your boppy I’ll crack that sucker open.


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