Category Archives: Reviews by Angel Street Mom

Martha Speaks About Animal Shelters

PBS KIDS’ Martha Speaks is partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to celebrate the great work done by animal shelters around the country.

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To celebrate this partnership, PBS will be airing a special week of shelter dog episodes, beginning Monday, October 3, 2011 on PBS KIDS (check your local listings).

Previewing the Martha Speaks episodes this week has led to many conversations and questions from my kids.  We’ve been exploring and learning a lot this week about animal shelters and the Humane Society.  Check out what we’ve learned on our video!

My kids and I have celebrated Martha’s great cause this entire week.  We got a sneak peak of the new episode, “Carolina Picks a Lily,” and loved it.  This new episode will premier on TV this Monday, so check your local listings!  There will be special episodes every day to celebrate shelter animals.  You won’t want to miss it!  This is such a great opportunity to teach your kids in a really fun way about the great work of the Humane Society.

It’s a great thing to adopt an animal from an animal shelter.  You never know what fun things will happen.  I found it inspiring when I discovered that Susan Meddaugh, the author of the original “Martha Speaks” book series, was inspired to write the books because of a stray dog she adopted and named Martha.  “[The real-life] Martha has given me more than I could have ever imagined,” Susan explains. “What if we hadn’t adopted her? We would have missed so much. And it makes me sad to think of all the dogs in shelters, and all the love and surprises they could bring to a forever home of their own.”

When you adopt an animal and bring them into a “forever home,” it surely is a cause for celebration!  It’s like welcoming a new family member!  Here are some ideas to help you celebrate . . .

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These tasty dog bone cookie snacks are a sure crowd pleaser.  Make extra for the party goers, they will definitely want to take home a doggy-bag.

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We made these tasty treats the easy way!  We made brownies from a mix and sugar cookies from a mix.  Just get your favorite frostings, sprinkles and a dog bone cookie cutter and you will be set.  I like how the little dog bone sits on top of the brownie.

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By the way, these are just people treats.  You should never EVER feed a dog chocolate.

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Unless it’s this kind of dog.  Then it’s okay.

Make some tasty treats that Martha and your own dog would love.  Here’s a recipe for some great doggy-safe treats: http://www.dogtreatrecipes.org/the-perfect-dog-biscuit-recipe.html

More fun with Animal Shelter Printables!

I thought it would be fun to have some printables for the upcoming week, so I created these for the great celebration.  Just click the pics below to view the full-size PDFs and print!  These are great for a fun activity to color while watching the Shelter Dog Adoption episodes of Martha Speaks this week!  Also, find a fun Martha Speaks bone bracelet activity printout at http://www.pbs.org/parents/martha/pdf/MarthaHA_BoneBracelet.pdf

To find out more about helping animals and for more activity ideas, visit http://www.pbs.org/parents/martha/helpinganimals/index.html

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New eBooks by Angel Street!

I’m so excited!  My two new eBooks are now available for sale online at Barnes and Noble.  Just click here or click on the pics to find out more.

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One Amazing World was SO much fun to work on.  This book takes a peek into a child’s sense of the natural and beautiful world.  I loved creating the story and illustrations, and exploring the world in a child-like way.

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Counting Bugs is a cute and bright little preschool book.  It helps your little kiddos practice those important skills like counting, colors, and shape recognition.  The bugs may look familiar.  These little guys are pretty popular.  You can also find these friendly bugs in wall decals and backpacks.

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Just a reminder

These eBooks are compatible with any PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Nook Color, any smart phone, and any Android devices. Just check out this info to download the free eBook software to make it work for whichever computer or device you have: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/free-nook-apps/379002321

(*Also, some of our friends across the pond have asked about purchasing internationally. No worries, countries are no boundaries. Barnes and Noble can sell worldwide and currency is not a problem.)

The Other Identity

Yesterday I talked a bit about Disney’s Happy Monster Band.

The musical talent behind that fun series is a group of extremely creative people who also tour under the name of Tally Hall.  If you didn’t know that before, you certainly wouldn’t guess it.  Tally Hall has a different kind of rock sound that is just awesome.  Mark and I were lucky enough to hang out with the band at a small concert in July.

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VIP seating and everything.  Smile

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Check out this sweet seat. We got to chill with friends in our own little elevated corner of the Velour concert room. It was awesome.

How did we get our awesome VIP seating, you ask?

Because we are so very important of course . . .

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. . . and we had $20.

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But anyway, the concert was incredible.  The sound, the instruments, the voices, all so good.  Seriously had so much fun and even got to chat with the band after.  They treated us like long time friends.

Check out their music here, or go to the Tally Hall Website.

Their opening bands were incredible as well.  We’ve been to a few concerts this summer and this one was by far the best one—the most entertaining, best personalities, best sound, and best opening bands.  Definitely a big thumbs up.  Just LOVED it.

The opening bands:

Check out Casey Shea’s music here.  His music is great and he’s also hilarious. 263344_2091868735417_1206219448_32142597_3132593_n

That’s him in the center there.

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Also, this other young band called SPEAK played and blew us away as well. Great music guys!  Check out their music here, or on the SPEAK Website.

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BTW, Thanks Linsey for these pics!

Speaking of Monsters . . .

Has your little monster ever had a meltdown?  This one’s for you . . . ‘cause even monsters cry sometimes . . .

Click the pic to see the Disney Junior Happy Monster Band music video, “Even Monsters Cry Sometimes.”

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The creators of this musically creative short are incredibly talented.  The Happy Monster Band episodes are the most run, most popular shorts on Disney Junior.  What most people don’t know is that behind those monsters are the voices and talent of (in my opinion) some of the world’s best musicians.  Anyone know who?  Mark and I got to hang out with them at a concert under their *other* identity.  Sound mysterious?  Yes.  Stay tuned . . .

Meanwhile, check out the Angel Street Kids Monster bags. Smile

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Go Back to School in Style!

Want exclusive deals on Angel Street Kids products?  Just become an Angel Street Kids fan on Facebook to receive 20% off your entire online purchase!

(Click the pic to become a fan and get the coupon code)BackToSchool2011

Angel Street Kids backpacks are all made with the very best materials and are kid-tough, as well as super stylin.’  Click on the pics for more info on these great bags, OR browse more products at www.angelstreetkids.com.

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Every one of our Angel Street Kids brand bags has custom quality details, like embroidered appliques and custom rubber zipper pulls.

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Our Deluxe size bags are perfect for the early elementary school goers, not too big and not too small.

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Our Toddler size bags are perfect for the preschooler. The Toddler size backpack, like this Monster one, is a little smaller than the Deluxe-size bags, perfect for the little preschool kiddos.

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View many more great products at our online store, www.angelstreetkids.com.

(Don’t forget to become our Facebook fan to get you 20% off coupon code to use on your entire online purchase!)

NEW eBook! Investigator Anne

I’m SO excited!  My first eBook is now available on Barnes&Noble.com.  Mark and I wrote the book together, and I illustrated it.

You might have guessed it.  This book is totally inspired by my oldest daughter, Anne.

Sometimes we really do call her “Investigator Anne,”  especially when there’s a case to be solved…like a missing ballet slipper.

…Or when there’s mysterious rabbit tracks in the backyard.

Or when a ball has been missing from the wacky popper toy for months…

Here she is decoding the secret message for a geo-cache box location.

She even has a “Case Book.”  This is the page where she wrote down her ideas about capillary action.

This page is about the case of a missing shoe.  No, not the ballet slipper, a different shoe.  We have a lot of missing shoe cases like that. :)

Whatever the case, Anne’s there to scope it out.

I made this “Investigator Kit” for her one Christmas.  It’s got all the clue-solving essentials.

Here she is studying the facts on an old pocket pc.  She has pictures of animals, animal tracks, and science charts on there.
Since we have so many mysteries around here, Anne stays pretty busy.

So back to the eBook.

This idea has been mulling in my head for quite awhile.  Mark and I had so much fun writing it and I loved illustrating it.  This book is a beginning level chapter book for young readers who are ready for their first chapter books.

Here’s a little sneak peak at a few other pages in the book…

There is a subtle science emphasis as “Investigator Anne” and her friends look for clues to find her mom’s missing watch.  The kids discover science around them while they work together to solve problems and develop ideas.

Find this book on sale, exclusively at Barnes&Noble.com.


Balloon Art

You: Seriously?!  What!  Are you kidding me?

MeYes, this is real folks.   This is a real life-size model of a dinosaur fossil made out of…balloons.   I’m totally blown away too.

So, backing up a little, this is how I came to know “Balloon Guy.”

There we were.  My family, enjoying a nice dinner out with my parents.  Then suddenly…

BAMM!, Kaaa-zamm!  Explosions of excitement went off in our children’s eyes.  We saw this guy going around the tables making balloon sculptures.  “How fun, I thought.  What a fun way to entertain the kids.”  But really, the entire jam-packed room of adults were just as fascinated as the kids were.

So what makes this guy so fascinating?  Well, let me first make a comparison.  I know you’ll identify with me because everyone at some point in their life has received a balloon character, right?   Sometimes it’s a flower, a poodle, or a sword.

Okay, hold on ’cause I’m backing up some more…ready for a flashback?

So one time I was shopping with all my kids and, needless to say, by the end of the excursion a few of the kids were having meltdowns in the very long checkout line.  I finally reached the checkout, paid and was high-tailin’ it outa there when suddenly an old man stepped in front of me.  He opened his jacket and reached down (I was a little freaked out at this point wondering “What the heck?”).  Anyway, he reached down and slowly pulled out this long skinny balloon and started blowing up balloons and twisting them into unrecognizable shapes.  Um, weird and awkward timing obviously.  I suppose he saw my screaming kids and tried to divert their attention, but yeah, it didn’t really work.  I grabbed all my kids and ran out the door, pretty much crying myself at that point.

That was the psycho balloon guy day.


Back to now.

So this day at the restaurant was a complete opposite of the psycho balloon guy day.  Sure my kids were in a better mood and all, but still this “Balloon Guy” could have turned any frowns up-side-down for sure.  I expected him to make some little dinky doggy balloon or something.  He asked what my kids would like and when they said a dog, he replied “Are you sure?  I can do a lot of different things.”  So of course that prompted me to ask, “How many designs can you make?”

It turned out that this guy can make thousands of different designs, all imagined by him.  He uses many balloons and makes the most amazing details.  My three daughters were fascinated and as each of their turns came around, each daughter tried to think of something more challenging.  The first was a panda bear holding a heart.  The second was mini mouse (complete with pink dress and high heels).  The third was a kangaroo holding a joey in it’s pouch.

Mark and I exchange “Wow!” glances.  We couldn’t help it.  Suddenly we saw balloons as art and wanted to know more.  We had to find out more about this guy.

So “Balloon Guy” is Jeremy Telford.  He creates art for all kinds of parties and events–from birthdays to museum displays.  You can see his website at www.balloonguyentertainment.com.

Jeremy also has a book out called Balloonology. It has “32 fun projects to take you from beginner to expert.”  Cool.  I think I’ll have to try this.

Anyway, we had a very fun (and non-freaky) evening at the restaurant.  Thanks Balloon Guy! :)

Martha Speaks. Martha Decorates.

Mary just got her Martha Speaks canvas art in the mail!  She loves Martha and she was very excited when she opened the package.

Since the time I took this photo, Mary has hung and rehung her art on nearly every space she can find in the house–like the bookshelf, the banister, and next to the refrigerator!  She’s tried to hang it in the entry way, the family room,  my room, and even the mini van.  But so far it hasn’t actually been hung at all yet because she just likes to look at it.  She still hasn’t decided where to hang it, but I’m sure (because a mommy knows these things) that it will eventually end up on the ready-to-go-nail already in her room.  But just for now, Mary is having fun thinking about all the great places it could go.

You can get these fun licensed, personalized canvas’ and banners here at Ty’s Toy Box.

New Dinosaur Wall Art!

My new dino art is now available at IStickUP! (I totally want one for my son’s room!)

On sale now!  Click the images to see more!

These wall stickers are NOT your average wall decal!  IStickUP makes their decals from Premium Quality Photo-Tex Material.  Ya, it’s material, as in fabric!  It is very durable, tear and wrinkle resistant, and oh-so-easy to use.  They come off completely with ease and without leaving even a spec of residue or gunk on your walls.  They are easy to stick and re-stick.

These are also MUCH larger than your average decals.  Available in two sizes:  60″x40″ or 42″x28″

“PEEP and the Big Wide World”

Exclusive Review  & DVD Giveaway!

I had actually never seen this show before this week.  It’s described as a preschool show, but it has subtle and clever humor that has had my whole family laughing out loud for the past 3 days!  Thank you WGBH for sending this to us!

WGBH is launching a brand new season of PEEP and the Big Wide World with 25 episodes never before seen on public television!  Lucky me, I got to review this adorable, hilarious, clever and creative show.  Oh, and amidst all the giggles and snickers induced by the comical characters, this show teaches preschool science and math concepts.  But if your kids aren’t the science/math type–don’t stress.  They’ll love this, beg you to watch it, cry if they miss it….and they won’t even realize they’re learning math and science.

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More Fun with PEEP!


The second I saw these cute characters, I had dreams about an orange, an eggplant and an apple.  So of course we had to make some veggie/fruit art.  This is a really fun kids craft to do for any imaginative mind.  Just get some construction paper, google eyes, pipe cleaners, and fondue skewers and let your creativity go bananas…or carrots…or eggplants…or….well, you get the idea.

For Quack’s hat I used one large marshmallow (cut in half), and one mini marshmallow, then stuck a toothpick through the center to keep it in place.

The legs are fondue skewers, painted black.  Quack’s feet are made out of construction paper, and the others have black pipe cleaner pieces for feet.

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More about the Show:

(Drawings by my profile artists, Anne and Mary)

Quack (the duck),  Peep (a newly hatched chick), and Chirp (the little red robin) are the endearing trio in this cute show.  The first episode of the new season is great.  It reminded me of college.

Yes, college.

One year at college I lived in an apartment with two other roommates named Sarah.  So the three Sarah’s went by “Sarah 1,” “Sarah 2,” and “Sarah 3.”  I was the youngest, so I was “Sarah 3.”  Not cool.  I guess it’s better than “Squeenk” or “Clerp” though.

In the season’s first episode, poor Quack finds his pond has been taken over by a sassy newcomer who is also named Quack.  In the conflict between Quack versus Quack, the two try to prove the pond is theirs.  One claims the other is not a duck, but is really a “Squeenk,” and renames him “Clerp.”  Quack tries to prove he’s a duck by pointing out that he can swim.  (But so do fish!)  He says he has feathers. (But so do Peep and Chirp!)

Quack finally enlists the help of his beaver friends to build a new pond that is enticing enough to make the new Quack want to live there so he can have his home back.  During the whole Quack conflict, kids learn about similarities and differences, identifiable characteristics, and the ideal habitat for a happy duck.

But enough of my chitter chatter, here’s a word from Angel Street Kids themselves!

The new season Peep and the Big Wide World begins January 3, 2011.  Be sure to check your local listings and enjoy this big wide world with PEEP!

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PEEP DVD Giveaway!

Just comment to this post and tell me what your family likes to do in the winter.  You will automatically be entered to win Peep Figures it Out.  This DVD includes 6 previous episodes in both English and Spanish.  Post a comment by 6:00pm Wednesday January 5th (Mountain Standard Time).

Winner will be chosen at random and announced Thursday, January 6th.