Browsing Tag

Black Friday

Cyber Monday Challenge: Buy 16 Award-Winning Books for Kids Online

Today is Cyber Monday! It’s a day when online retailers offer deep discounted prices to internet shoppers, and traditionally occurs the first Monday after Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year and named so because it’s what causes a lot of shops to go into the black, from an accounting perspective.

While I am usually not a big proponent of guilt -tripping or “shaming” parents, I make an exception when it comes to books.

Reading is very crucial to a child’s success in school and life. From knowing vocabulary words in context when taking a test to simply appreciating the value of words and prose, giving a child the gift of books and instills in them a love and appreciation for reading. This is paramount!

You do not have to be wealthy to expose a child to books as in many communities, cities and towns, library books are free! Online, there are depositories of free classics as well.

For $7.95 a month, there is always the option of signing up for a subscription to Epic! and getting access to thousands of titles that a kid can read online, at the library’s computer, or any digital device like a smart phone, tablet or other screen like a Kindle or Wii –good thing those things are good for more than video game playing!

Here is a curated list of 16 award-winning books that would be great to add to your child’s library if they don’t already have one. These would make great gift books for Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, a birthday, Quinceneara, Bar or Bat Mitzvah and more!

    1. Frog & Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel ($13.99)
    2. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary ($11.87)
    3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson ($11.98)
    4. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ($9.98)
    5. Trombone Shorty by Troy Andrews ($17.05)
    6. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo  $12.26)
    7. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia ($11.89)
    8. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary ($11.25)
    9. The Girl Who Drank The Moon ($12.71)
    10. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant ($16.58)
    11. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate diCamillo ($13.38)
    12. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai ($11.98)
    13. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine ($11.27)
    14. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engel ($12.59)
    15. Sounder by William H. Armstrong ($13.57)
    16. El Deafo by Cici Bell ($13.82)

Honorable Mention

  1. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg ($12.79)
  2. Maria had a Little Llama by Angela Dominquez ($17.09)

If You Could Give Your Child a Leg Up In School, This Software Is the One to Help You Do it

How much would you pay to give your child a head start and leg up on reading, math and all of her subjects in school so s/he comes out on top?

Not all parents can afford to hire an expensive tutor, but luckily we live in an age when technology helps bridge the wealth gap and everyday parents can get online learning tools for free or an affordable price.

I’m excited to announce one of my personal all time faves, the award-winning ABCMouse.com Early Learning Academy platform  is going for 63% OFF this week!

This amazing deal is part of a Black Friday special that Age of Learning software company’s  leading online early education curriculum for parents, preschools and kindergartens in the United States and Canada is hosting this week through Cyber Monday!

If you don’t know, ABCMouse is used in a lot of pre-schools and elementary schools across the country as a supplement to instruction and training.  Kids who have it at home get an advantage…and they are used to it because it’s already a part of their learning and curriculum.

The other good news is that the site is subscription-based so there is no advertising, no pop-up ads, no links to other sites. Children can learn and explore with their parents, or on their own (depending on age and ability), in a safe and secure online educational environment.

Through the program, kids get to explore over 8,500 books, games, songs, puzzles, and art activities, each with specific learning objectives in the subjects of reading, mathematics, beginning science, social studies, art and music.

I’ve reviewed it several times before and credit it for helping my super smart daughter who went through the entire curriculum in earning all As and scoring in the 99% in reading nationwide.

I’m very excited to see that it’s available for $45 for an entire year!!! Ordinarily, you’re looking at over $100 for a year but you can gift a Godchild, grandkid, cousin or someone else with a kid you love with this subscription and at this low a price, the lowest all year, you cannot beat!

I’m a believer and an affiliate but I signed up and purchased the system for my kid and used it successfully before becoming an affiliate so my opinion and thoughts on how effective this program is genuine and authentic!

Also, other users, like parents, grandparents, Godparents and other family members who have purchased gift subscription for a 2-8 year old they think can benefit from the academic enrichment, report an 85% jump in their kid’s performance after signing up for it so I am in good company!

The testimonials are telling about its value!

To date, more than 10 million children ages 2-8 have completed more than 2 billion learning activities on ABCmouse.com at home, in classrooms, libraries, and other community institutions!

Get 1 year for only $45 - 63% off!

ABCmouse.com has recently launched their comprehensive second-grade curriculum designed to address the learning needs and interests of second-grade students with the goal of preparing them for the critical transition to the third grade.

I don’t know if I can impress upon my readers enough how valuable I think this site is, but I do and can vouch for the fact that it definetly helps your kid read better, do better in math and digest learning materials better!

Give it a shot and please ping me on social media and please please let me know if you see results in your child after using it!


#GivingTuesday: How Your Kids Can Participate


As Cyber Monday sunsets and people are wrapping up or enjoying their Black Friday deals or the great things they got from local merchants on Small Business Saturday, non profits nationwide now prepare for Giving Tuesday.

The global event is in its fifth year and is celebrated each year the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is the brainchild of 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City and the United Nations Foundation.

Giving Tuesday is intended to be the launch pad for the charitable giving season. While the time period around the holidays is often about celebrating Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays that involve gettting gifts, it is also a season for sharing and giving.

Thus the name #GivingTuesday is  appropriate and is observed each year by giving to nonprofits, charities and other organizations that are raising funds, including schools, churches and other charitable groups.

Beyond just collecting monetary donations, a lot of local orgs organize food and coat drives and many individuals celebrate it by committing random acts of kindness such as paying for the drink of the person behind them in the coffee line at work.

In 2015, 700,000 people from 71 countries came together to donate $116.7 USD million in cash. An additional $1.08 million USD was spent on gifts.

Children can give by  volunteering at their local shelter or food bank or doing something nice for elderly neighbors like mowing their lawn, shoveling snow from their driveway or helping them with groceries.

At home, younger kids can acknowledge the day by helping out with a chore like folding laundry, helping to cook dinner, or even reading to a younger sibling.

To help spread the message, snap a photo of your kids doing something good and use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to spread awareness and encourage others to get into the spirit as well!

Parents can use the day to donate to their area school, youth camp or other organization that works with families.

photo: Screengrab YouTube

These are THE Biggest Tech Black Friday Deals You’ll Find



Are you ready for the Black Friday sales? To be honest, there are indications and reports every year that say a lot of people think the day after Thanksgiving, dubbed the biggest shopping day of the year is actually a scam!

In fact, one study revealed that about 63% think Black Friday is all hype and that there aren’t really that many great deals. But it’s not true, necessarily. Well, let’s keep it real, it is quite true as  our friends at the personal-finance website WalletHub discovered.

They  took an in-depth look at 2016’s Best Things to Buy on Black Friday and determined that more than two in 10 items offer no savings compared with their pre-Black Friday prices.

Well, dang!

To find out whether shoppers are really getting the best deals, WalletHub compared the “Pre-Black Friday Price” and the “Black Friday Price” of a broad selection of items to identify the offers that are truly worth the hassle of partaking in the year’s biggest shopping craze.


We pulled down the best tech savings for families from the survey:

NordicTrack Elite 3700 Treadmill (regularly $1799)  — $999 (Sears)

Dell XPS 13.3” Touchscreen Laptop (regularly $1678) – $376 at Costco

Sony 75” HD Smart TV (regularly $2,998) – $498  at Walmart

Canon Digital SLR Camera  (regularly $698)  $250 at Walmart

Lifetime Adventure Tower Playset ($1748) $930 at Sam’s Club

LG Ultra Large Capacity Dryer ( regularly $$1,034) $539 at JC Penny’s

XCOM 2 Xbox One (regularly $59) $29 at GameStop

Samsung Refrigerator ($regularly $1,347) $448

For the full report, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-items-for-blackfriday/16901/

For the latest Black Friday deals (updated daily), please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/blackfriday-ads/16713/

Black Friday: Here are the BEST Stores with the BEST Deals


We’re getting closer and closer to Black Friday. There are dozens of retailers out there offering scales, deals and steals.

This year, holiday spending is expected to reach $656 billion which is up from nearly $631 billion in 2015. So we want to know that the Best Stores are out there for Black Friday Shopping.

One of my fave surveyors, personal finance website WalletHub conductedan in-depth analysis of 2016’s Best Stores for Black Friday by poring over 8,000 deals from 35 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2016 Black Friday ad scans.

It identified the stores offering the biggest discounts in various product categories, such as “Appliances,” “Jewelry” and “Toys.” Here are the top 10!

Best Black Friday Retailers (Avg. % Discount)
1Macy’s (63.35%)6Kohl’s (58.15%)
2Stage (62.81%)7Shopko (55.55%)
3JCPenney (62.79%)8Fred Meyer (49.70%)
4Harbor Freight (62.58%)9Craft Warehouse (45.03%)
5Gordmans (61.59%)10Sears (43.89%)

Key Stats

  • Macy’s has the highest overall discount rate at 63.35 percent, whereas Big Lots has the lowest at 23.52 percent.
  • The overall average discount for Black Friday is 39 percent. Consumers should aim for this discount amount or higher to avoid BlackFriday traps.
  • The “Toys” category has the biggest share of discounted items, 28.26 percent of all offers, whereas the “Books, Movies and Music” category has the smallest at 0.93 percent.

To view the full report and each retailer’s ranking in each product category, please visit:


Black Friday: 5 Tips for Surviving it Safely

We are counting down the days until Black Friday, and each year local and national reports indicate that consumers and customers get harmed during some of the mad rush to get into doors to grab  limited-quantity “door-buster” deals.  Everyone has to exercise caution and be safe.  Self-Defense expert Jarrett Arthur offers some tips for the Black Friday season. Jarrett, a high-ranking Krav Maga black belt instructor and Program Director at the Krav Maga Worldwide National Training Center has taught hundreds of men, women and children self defense,  has these 5 tips:

1)         Pay attention to your surroundings, not the Tickle Me Elmo in aisle 3.  I doubt it’s caused by the overconsumption of Tryptophan, but Black Friday tends to bring out the crazy in people. From shoppers pepper-spraying other shoppers to armed robberies, fistfights to all out stampedes, there is an undeniable spike in the crime rate. People lose their freakin’ minds on this particular day of the year, and shoppers are so focused and intent on snagging the item they want that they miss important cues around them that may signal danger early on. Avoid chatting, texting, or running price comparisons on your smart phone, and instead opt to use your eyes, ears, and gut instinct as you shop. Frequently check the space and people around you, open your field of vision by occasionally scanning the entire store or parking lot. Don’t ignore someone who is behaving oddly, utilize one of the many armed guards that major stores will be hiring and let them know what you saw and where you saw it.
2)         Check your ego at the door. Seriously.  Did you see it first? Where you first in the line? Was it in your cart? Probably. While I’m all for standing your ground and not letting anyone hassle you or take advantage, I’m also for remaining intact and alive. Without a doubt, the number one culprit of crime on Black Friday is out of control ego and the bewildering life or death urgency that people put on the purchase of material possessions. And argument can quickly escalate into a shoving match, which can easily escalate into strikes being thrown, and potentially a weapon being brandished. If the threat of escalation becomes real, your best option is to walk away, particularly if your kids are in tow.
3)         Have an escape plan and a pre-determined meeting place with family.  Violence has a ripple effect. Especially in crowded places, a confrontation in one section of a store can spread to chaos throughout with unbelievable speed. Take a few moment upon entering a building, store, or shop to identify less-obvious exits (read: the ones in the back), which will be easier to navigate in an emergency since the majority of shoppers will immediately flock to main entrances. Determine a quick emergency escape route with your family, and choose an easily identifiable location outside the building to use as a safe meeting place in case of separation.
4)         Crowds are dangerous.  Any competent self-defense instructor will agree that the key to staying safe in a confrontation is to create as much space as possible by any means necessary. Super tricky to do when you and a couple hundred strangers are packed in front of a sliding glass door like sardines counting down the seconds until you can get your hands on a brand new _____. Here’s where vigilance and listening to your gut are extra important. Small scuffles can rapidly turn into chaotic and very dangerous situations. If something doesn’t feel right, throw in the towel and head home. Merchandise X is definitely not worth your safety and wellbeing. Additionally, pickpockets love lines and crowds because you’re forced into close quarters. Keep wallets, purses, and bags tightly zipped (a small luggage lock is added protection) and on the front of your body. Standing sideways in lines also gives you a little bit more space.
Jarrett Arthur, Self-Defense Expert

5)         Parking lots and vehicles are prime territory for bad guys (and gals). Think about it. It’s dark outside, hundreds of shoppers are flooding parking lots at odd hours of the morning and night, parking way far away from entrances, wandering back to their isolated cars distracted by post-purchase reveling, most likely on their phones, with tons of brand new, expensive loot. Two words: prime pickings. Park as close to entrances as possible. Utilize security guards as escorts if you have to park in remote areas of the lot or garage. If you can’t easily carry your purchases in one hand or one one arm you should get a shopping cart. Get your keys (and pepper spray or stun gun if you choose to carry one) out before you even leave the store. Get off your phone, take out your earbuds. Check your surroundings frequently and check your vehicle (back seat, both sides, underneath) before approaching. Load items quickly.  Stay put until automatic sliding doors, hatch backs, or lift gates shut completely before you get in, lock the doors, and drive away. Don’t spend time idling in the car organizing receipts and planning the next stop. Get in and go.

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