Author Archives: Lynn Marie

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Behaviors in the Classroom

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Behaviors in the Classroom

Trauma Informed Approach to Behaviors in the Classroom
If your child has any type of Affective Needs, this blog I just found is a great resource! Whether your child has Autism, PTSD, is adopted, or has other life events that affect the way they react to life, this blog can help.

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center. Her blog is all about Parenting, Adoption, and Adoptive Parenting.

This particular post has a free article download: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Behaviors in the Classroom, which is a letter to your child’s teacher- short, simple, and steeped in science – on why behavior management systems don’t usually work for children with a history of trauma, and WHAT THE TEACHER CAN DO INSTEAD!!!!

I just sent this to our son’s teacher, his therapist’s, and the Director of Special Education. This letter could really make a difference in how your child is treated and how effective their education is. In the letter, she includes the science of why our children react the way they do, but she writes in a way that is easy to read and understand.

If you are having trouble getting the needs of your child met in their current educational placement, this is a great place to start.

Be sure to check out her blog, it has tons of wonderful information. It can be found at and her professional website can be found at

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to my son’s teacher, with certain names omitted for privacy. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, I just want help for my son.


Tonight while I was researching schools across the country that might be appropriate for XXXXXXX, a school that understands trauma and are termed as having a”trauma-informed approach to behaviors in the classroom,” I came across an excellent letter that a blogger wrote to teachers to help them understand how children who have experienced trauma react to their environment.

The letter is easy to read and understand even though it is scientifically based.

This blogger is more than just some random person, Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

In her blog post, she encourages parents to share this letter with their child’s teacher in the hopes of better success for all concerned.

Dave and I both found it to be well-written and easy to understand. It explains XXXXXXX so well, as I am sure it does for so many other students.

Many of the studies I read tonight talked about ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences. There are 10 criteria, each worth one point. Children who have experienced even one of the criteria are at great risk. XXXXXXX has experienced 7, possibly 8, of them.

This study focuses on PTSD, it doesn’t take into account his other disabilities. When we look at XXXXXXX, we see a someone who has come so very far. What that child and his brother went through with their mother was horrific. I can’t even think of some of the things without making myself crazy and we have not even shared some of those things with his therapists because he isn’t ready yet. I want the school system to see our amazing son for the incredible person he is, not the survivalist he has turned back into.

Please take some time to read this, we sincerely hope it will help you as an educator to understand the behaviors and reactions of our child. Even if XXXXXXX does not return to XXXXXXX, I feel it will help with your other students so it will not be a wasted effort.

XXXXXXX, (Director of Special Education) I copied you because I think every teacher in the district should read this, not just those dealing with Affective Needs. It would go a long way in smoothing the path for a real relationship with SummitStone, beyond just Sarah Milner. You can’t teach a child if you do not understand how their brain works. I know how dedicated you are to our Exceptional Students and I hope in the future that the school district does something, sooner than later, to remedy this situation.

We were truly blessed as having XXXXXXX as XXXXXXX champion all of these years. We just assumed that all of the Exceptional Student teachers in the district would have the same degree of knowledge and training that she has.


Lynn and Dave White

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you are having a great day!

Lynn Marie


Best Health Innovations of the Year and Why I am OVERJOYED!

Best Health Innovations of the Year and Why I am OVERJOYED!

The other morning I woke up to hear my husband screaming my name from downstairs, he continued to whoop and holler as he made his way upstairs, shouting for me to wake up, a miracle had happened and I would never believe it.

Well everyone in my family knows that if I have actually fallen asleep they better let me sleep as long as possible since my pain has grown so bad I can only sleep for short periods of time. He was sure I would want to see what he had just read in this month’s Popular Science Magazine, and he was right! 

12 best Health Innovations of the YearI could not believe what I read, tears started streaming down my face. All week I have been re-reading the article. We are actually going to frame the article and hang it in my bedroom because it is something my family has hoped and prayed for such a long time now, that the fact it has come to fruition has filled my heart with such joy and gratitude.

I know many of the people who read this blog have health issues too, all 12 (listed below) of the innovations are worthy of the high praise they are receiving and I hope you take a few minutes to follow the link below and read the whole article.

What am I so excited about, though? What still has me tearing up as I think about it? What made this list that has me so excited? Something I never thought I would live to see the day, has happened. 

The #1 Innovation of the Year is a vaccination for Dengue. 

dengue fever symptoms


The 12 Most Important Health Innovations Of The Year
These are the Best Of What’s New
by Alyssa Favreau and Claire Maldarelli 

Sanofi Pasteur’s Dengvaxia: Finally, A Vaccine For Dengue
Dengue—a virus most commonly transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito—infects some 400 million people yearly. It causes high fever, severe headaches, vomiting, and sometimes death. About 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk, and as the climate warms and travel increases, that risk will only climb. This year, the World Health Organization ­started recommending the first vaccine to prevent dengue, and inoculations have begun in hot zones like Brazil and the Philippines. Four viruses cause dengue, so developing a vaccine that protects against all four took researchers 20 years to do. If 20 percent of the population gets vaccinated, dengue cases could drop 50 percent within five years. Controlling dengue could also reduce the $9 billion the disease costs global economies each year.

You can find out more about Dengue here.

Now, most of you have probably never heard of Dengue. I hadn’t myself until almost 9 years ago after I took an extended business trip to Asia. Dengue isn’t just something that you have to worry about when you travel, though. Dengue is now an issue in the US too. It has been a long-standing goal of mine to share more about my health but I could never figure out where to start. This is where it starts, with Dengue. 

dengue mosquitoPeople (especially uninformed doctors) are always asking me what happened in my life that changed me from a person who loved the challenge of working 14 or more hours a day, traveled the world, wouldn’t say no to any kind of adventure, into a woman who is bed-ridden with pain and has a body that has basically turned on itself. It all started with a mosquito bite.

So I have started telling you about my health, but 9 long years is a lot for one blog post. But it is a start and I will be sharing more as we go along now.  Please do read more about the other great innovations of the year that I have listed below.  In future posts, I will share my journey of being diagnosed, but more importantly, how it has affected my body in the long run.

Additional Innovations of the Year
Braeburn Pharmaceuticals’ Probuphine Implant: Easy Opioid Maintenance
Amgen’s IMLYGIC: A Virus That Fights Cancer
Abbott’s Absorb: A Disappearing Cardiac Stent
Withings’ Thermo: A Friendlier Thermometer
Children’s National Medical Center’s STAR: Most Dexterous Robot Surgeon
Olivo Lab’s Second Skin: Stick-On Skincare
Nima: A Pocket Gluten Detector
Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre: A Prickless Glucose Test
MIT’s Rapid Zika Test: A Low-Cost Zika Test
St. Renatus’ Kovanaze Nasal Spray: Needle-Free Dentistry
Shift Labs’ DripAssist: Simpler IV Control

As always, thanks for reading!

Lynn Marie

Product Review :: Watercolor Pencils with Travel Case

Product Review :: Watercolor Pencils with Travel Case


watercolor colored pencils with carrying caseNo doubt about it, I love to color and so of course, love colored pencils and watercolor pencils. This is a nice set that is marketed as both colored pencils and watercolors, I use other pencils both ways so didn’t know there was something special fabrication to differentiate. I do know that some sets are more successful than others, and this is VERY SUCCESSFUL at playing both roles.

* These blend like butter!
* Works wonderfully with water
* Extras included: Pencil case, brush, eraser, and sharpener *see notes about them below
* Six sides to the pencils so they don’t roll
* Coloring is effortless, you don’t need to press hard
* Easy to get a light shade and a dark shade with the same pencil
* Nice colors, 48 pre-sharpened pencils with no repeats. This set has every color you would need for most coloring projects. If it isn’t included, it is so easy to just blend it yourself!

watercolor colored pencils with carrying casewatercolor colored pencils with carrying case
watercolor colored pencils with carrying case
watercolor colored pencils with carrying casewatercolor colored pencils with carrying case

* Once you start using them, you will need to make sure you have your pencil sharpener on hand. They are so soft that you go through them very quickly.
* For good coverage, you may need to go over the same area two times unless you are pressing hard

* This great pencil case makes these pencils easy to take with you anywhere. The case is made of canvas with a PU leather pencil guard and trim. The case is very well sewn and the buttons are strong. You can actually roll this up completely or use the extra button and use the extra strap length it gives you to make a little carrying purse. Roll up your coloring books and it will rest inside of your new little purse and you are set to go!
* The eraser that is included is really nice. When I have used it I can’t even see any marks left over! It wipes away cleanly and easily. I am very impressed with it.
* The brush and the pencil sharpener are just your average tools. They work but there isn’t anything special about them. I do have a tip for sharpening pencils, though: Hold your pencil steady and turn the pencil sharpener. You will have less waste of your pencils that way and get a sharper tip quicker.

This is really a great set for beginners to advanced hobbyist. I have certainly been impressed with it and I am very picky about what I use to color with. No two brands that I have tried have ever been the same. The pencils are above average and the case and eraser take this to a 5-star rating!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Artustry Colored Pencil Set PLUS Watercolor – Includes: 48 Pencils, Protective Roll Up Canvas Case, Watercolor Brush, Eraser, and Pencil Sharpener on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. (This review was originally published on Amazon before the changes in TOS.)

Product Review :: KOVOT 11-Oz Glass Milk Bottle Set of 12

Product Review :: KOVOT 11-Oz Glass Milk Bottle Set of 12

KOVOT 11-Oz Glass Milk Bottle Set of 12 – Includes Reusable Lids and Straws
Offered by Sharp Gear

KOVAT milk bottlesThese milk bottles are just so cute, they’re adorable! When I first saw them I thought they would be cute to use as decorations or for a theme party, then I realized that I actually could use them for something I actually needed, milk bottles!

I have a small fridge here in my bedroom that my husband keeps stocked with everything I need for lunch and snacks while he is at work. He makes my breakfast before he leaves for work, but sometimes I am not really ready to eat right then. Finding room in my fridge for anything that can hold milk and does not take up too much room has been a struggle. All of my water bottles are very large at 32 oz.



With these cute little milk bottles at 11oz, I have the perfect size to hold milk now if I want to wait to have my breakfast cereal!

Since we opened the box though we have found countless uses for these. My son likes to use them just because they are different and cool. My daughter-in-law gave me the perfect recipe for an oatmeal and yogurt breakfast that you can make ahead of time and store in these bottles. They ended up being just the perfect size.

Needless to say, I now have more uses for these than I have bottles: Milk, pre-prepared meals, children’s drinks, theme parties, use to hold individual gifts such as bath salts or lotions, decor, hold my button collection, hold the dandelion weeds my son picks for me, crafts storage, children’s playtime…. Think mason jars, and then smaller and cuter and you have these!

I love that the glass is thick and is not going to break with the slightest little clink. We have of course dropped a few already, one on the wood floor and one on the carpet. Neither one of them broke. The reusable caps are great, They have a partial plastic lining that really grips the edges of the bottle top. I know that whatever I have put in the bottle is going to stay nice and secure until opened again. I am not usually a person for re-usable straws but I actually like these. They are large enough in diameter that you can actually clean them thoroughly and not have to worry about pesky germs.

I think that these are really great and going to be the next big craft craze like mason jars have been. They are practical in so many ways while at the same time offering limitless possibilities when it comes to crafting and decorating.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered the KOVOT 11-Oz Glass Milk Bottle Set of 12 – Includes Reusable Lids and Straws on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All ratings are earned and never promised. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. (This review was originally published on Amazon before the changes in their TOS)


Product Review :: 7 Day Pill Box

Product Review :: 7 Day Pill Box

Product Review :: Small/Medium Easy Open 7 Day Travel Pill Box, Prescription & Medication Organizer with Pill Case from Stuff Seniors Need

7 day pill boxWhat Seniors Need, and What Spoonies need too! If you are not sure what a Spoonie is, it is a person who deals with a chronic illness that has limited amounts of energy (spoons) a day. I am not a Senior, but I am definitely a Spoonie. I take a lot of medications, of course at different times of the day. This pill box not only helps to stay organized, it helps you and your caregiver make sure that your medication is being properly dispensed and that it is being taken. At times I can be so tired, sick, or in so much pain that I am not thinking straight so, a pill organizer is a must. It is not good for me to miss a dosage or to take a double dosage because I can’t remember if I took something or not.


* Helps you to stay on your medication schedule by filling the box once a week
* Saves time by doing it a week at once instead of each time you need to take your medication
* Brightly colored sections, one color for each day of the week
* 4 compartments per day, labeled
* Compartments are easy to open and snap shut
* You can easily slip out a day from the holder instead of taking the whole thing with you if you are going somewhere
* The holder for the individual days is made of sturdy plastic that will last. There are slots in the bottom of the holder that you can use to pop out the individual trays if they are giving you trouble when you try to get them out.
* Nice leather case to ensure privacy. I know I don’t like other people to see what medications I am on or how many pills I have to take.
* This looks much better on my nightstand than 10 different pill bottles!
* Leather case is easy to open with a Velcro tab, when closed it helps to ensure nothing falls open if accidentally dropped
* Nice plastic pocket in the lid of the case that holds a general information paper you can fill out, there is room to keep your medication list on the back of the paper. I like it that it is not permanent, you can choose to have that or replace it with something else if/when needed. You can easily take this medication list with you to the doctor or hospital, making paperwork and questions there much easier. The general information is also great if you leave your pill case somewhere.
* Even before my new case was delivered, I received an email full of really helpful information along with contact information for different services Seniors might be in need of. Even though I am not a Senior, I thought it was great that the company selling these was really thinking about their customers and wanted to give them lots of resources to check into if they were in need of anything. I think it is great that the company found a way to offer their customers more without increasing costs at all. That information could actually be priceless to someone!



* If you take large pills, they may not fit. I use the third slot for pills that don’t fit where they should. If you take large vitamin supplements, you might want to look for something larger than this.
* Some of the words are already rubbing off of the pill boxes, but you can use a Sharpie to write on these if you have trouble remembering what is what.
* There was a problem with the sewing on my leather case by the closure tab. The person sewing it missed about an inch section, veering off the leather itself. So my case is split open there but it is easily fixable with some glue.
* The plastic hinges on the pill cases are very thin. One problem I have had in the past with pill holders similar to this is the hinges breaking. You then have to depend on the snap closure on the other side of it to keep your pills in place, which doesn’t always work. I am going to monitor this and if I do have a problem with the hinges or anything else on this case, I will update my review.

I am really happy with my pill case. As I mentioned, it certainly takes up much less space on my vanity and looks so much nicer than a bunch of scattered pill bottles. A well put together pill organizer is a must if you are caring for someone who is ill, have aging parents who are taking more medication or are ill yourself. This would make a nice gift as well. It shows that you care and want to make sure that the person you are giving it to won’t forget something or have to wonder if they took their medicine at a certain time or not which could cause them to take too much medicine. This happens more than you know and I am not just speaking from my own experience. By keeping medication in a pill organizer, you can tell at a glance what you need to take or if the medication has already been taken. Chronic illness and age can do many unexpected things to your thought processes. Help your loved ones as much as you can, a well thought out pill organizer like this one is just one of the many ways you can help, but a very important one.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I ordered this Easy Open 7 Day Travel Pill Box, Prescription & Medication Organizer with Pill Case from Stuff Seniors Need, (For Small to Medium Sized Pills Up To 0.75″ in length) on Amazon and received it at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. (This is an older review I am just now sharing on my blog, created and published before the TOS changes.) All ratings are earned and never promised. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own and I am in no way associated with the manufacturer or seller. I received no compensation other than the product sample. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Product Review :: What’s Your Favorite Color?

Product Review :: What’s Your Favorite Color?


I saw a funny thing on Facebook earlier today from Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons asking, “What’s your favorite color?”




Please note, I received all of these products at a discount in exchange for evaluation and a review on my blog or in social media.

The first five years or so we lived in this house, our outside decorations were the best decorations around. We have a larger home and every line of the roof had dangling lights and there was a blow-up Santa in a sleigh on top of the roof! There were multiple other decorations and ornaments in the yard too. We would have people driving through our neighborhood from Thanksgiving until after the New Year to look at what we had managed to do.

Then I got sick and there were not as many decorations, but still our home looked lovely with the little we could do. The last 5 years or so we have done very little, a few years there were no decorations at all. I felt like we let our neighbors and all the kiddos down but we just couldn’t manage it between my health and my husband’s declining health. 

This year I had a plan. I ordered 4 items; 2 laser lights, one set of curtain lights, and one set of mesh lights. My plan was to accomplish an elegant transformation in much less time than it took to write this blog post, hopefully in less than an hour or so.

What do you think? There were 3 of us to work on this, my husband, my sister, and myself. Granted, we are three disabled adults, but I had a great transformation in mind and my goal was to show you just how easy it can be to decorate the outside of your home.

starry-laser-lights-projection-christmas-lights-moving-laser-fda-approved-star-projector-landscape-lights-with-wireless-remote-green-blueStarry Laser Lights Projection Christmas Lights Moving
Laser FDA Approved Star Projector Landscape Lights
with Wireless Remote (Green & Blue)



laser-christmas-lights-landscape-projector-outdoor-waterproof-lights-laser-lamp-outdoor-garden-yard-wall-family-gathering-decoration-green-and-blueLaser Christmas Lights, Landscape Projector Lights Outdoor
Waterproof  laser lights Laser Lamp for Outdoor
Garden/Yard/Wall Family Gathering Party
KTV Wedding Night Club Decoration (Green and Blue)



ActionFly Multi-Color Outdoor RGB 96 LED Mesh Fairy string Lights Twinkle Lighting With US Plug for Wedding Christmas Xmas Thanksgiving Party Events Home Roof Decor Tree-wrap (Blue)Nofonda 300led Window Curtain Icicle Lights
String Fairy Light Wedding Party
Home Garden Decorations 3m*3m (Cold White)





nofanda-curtain-lightsActionFly Multi-Color Outdoor RGB 96 LED
Mesh Fairy string Lights Twinkle Lighting With US Plug
for Wedding Christmas Xmas Thanksgiving
Party Events Home Roof Decor Tree-wrap (Blue)




Well to find out, you will have to check back next week…..  I can’t wait to show you the After pictures. Here is the Before picture, taken earlier this week. 

 Our house



This morning I woke up terrified…

This morning I woke up terrified…

This morning just after 5 a.m. I woke to the sound of bells ringing. It seemed like every bell in town was ringing and immediately my mind flew to the thought that there must be some disaster happening and they must be trying to warn us. Was it 911 happening all over again???

I quickly woke my husband but he just said he didn’t know and rolled over, exhausted, his mind couldn’t even understand what I was saying. The bells continued to ring and I opened the window to see if all the neighbors were up, wondering if we should we prepare for the worst? I was really panicking. 

I turned on my tablet and pulled up but only saw more complaining about the election so there must not be a world crisis going on but why were the bells ringing? I belong to a few local Facebook groups that talk about news around town and so quickly went to one of those groups and found my answer.

veterans-day-collageThe bells were not ringing because the world was imploding, the bells were ringing to signify PEACE and to thank our Veteran’s for their service. Imagine my real relief.

Veteran’s Day

Can you imagine what it must have been like when WWI or WWII ended and the bells were ringing here in the US and in so many countries in Europe and in the home countries of other allies? Can you imagine the joy and elation they felt?

I would not mind waking up every morning to the sound of bells, reminding me that we have a lot to be thankful for and that peace is possible. I never again want to wake up to anything like the news of 911.

This morning I woke up terrified…. and my fear turned to gratitude and thankfulness to our Veterans, and the Veterans that are our allies, for protecting our country and our way of life. Whatever your politics are, surely you can acknowledge the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Many of us are sadly at the age where our grandparents are no longer with us to tell us about what it was like to live through the Great Depression and then WWII, much less WWI. Not many Vietnam Veterans are vocal about their experiences so a great deal of history is being lost. I love history myself and combined with reading, I have a great hobby. I have put together some lists of books if you would like to find out more about these periods of time and what went on for the common man, not from the standpoint of generals or politicians.  If we forget the past, we are at risk of reliving it.

But let’s not forget our new generations of Veterans either. We have millions of people now that are Veterans of the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I am probably missing some group so someone will be kind enough to correct me and I can add them. 

aaron and griff

My oldest son is my own personal hero, a Veteran of Iraq. I am unbelievably proud of him and the man he has become. He not only volunteered for the Army at the age of 16 (that’s a story for another time) but now works in the Veteran’s Affairs office at a college and is an advocate for Veterans at the state level.

Here is a picture of my son Aaron and his son when he came back from Iraq, one of the happiest moments of my life! 



I hope everyone today is thankful in their hearts for what these men and women have accomplished and preserved for us and to remember that Freedom isn’t Free. Thank you to the men and women just like us who have gone and given something of themselves that not all of us would or could. Thank you also to their families at home for everything that they have also had to sacrifice. 

America's Veterans Honor All


Free Kindle books to learn more about the history of Veterans who have fought for us. Please double check the prices before you order, they can change at any time on Amazon. 

Kindle books with good reviews, check at your local library for copies before spending money on them. These are not affiliate links, just links to books I think you might find informative.

For Children

Fiction Series

  • World War I (5 Book Series) by Anne PerryThis series begins on the eve of WWI in England and follows the Reavley family throughout the war. They uncover a conspiracy that could have prevented the war and as the story progresses, they try and track down the Peacemaker, the code name of the person behind the conspiracies to drastically change the war as it continues, leaving the world a completely changed place than what our troops are fighting for. The  conspiracy plot is interesting with many twists to keep you interested. I also found it just as  fascinating to read about what it was like not only for the people left on the homefront but particularly, learning about what life was really like at the front. 

The plot is constantly questioning war and sacrifice and the author reminds us “that love and hate, cowardice and courage, good and evil are always a part of life, in our own time as well as on the eve of the greatest war the world has ever known.” 

Those concepts are as true then as they are now and I enjoyed each novel, though some were hard to follow with the twists of plot and espionage involved. I was constantly researching the battles and real events as they took place in the books and think that anyone who loves history will certainly love these books. As always, there is a bit of romance thrown in also. 

No Graves As Yet

Shoulder the Sky

Angels in the Gloom

At Some Disputed Barricade

We Shall Not Sleep

Unfortunately, there is so much controversy surrounding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is difficult to recommend any book without offending someone unintentionally. I wish I did know of some good books to share with you about those wars and the lives of our brave soldiers who fought in them. If you know of any, please let me know. 

freedom isn't free

 Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Book Review :: If You Were Me and Lived in… #Elizabethan England

Book Review :: If You Were Me and Lived in… #Elizabethan England


If You Were Me and Lived in… Elizabethan England

(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)


(Volume 3) Paperback

by Carole P. Roman, Author 

Paula Tabor, Illustrator

* This book was provided to me by the author, all opinions expressed are my own.

If You Were Me and Lived in Elizabethan England

is a children’s book that explains what it would be like to live in Elizabethan times.
It is part of a series of books all about historical times written in a way that children learn all kinds of fascinating facts as they read an entertaining story. As a former teacher with a minor in Library Science, this book caught my eye right away. I knew this would be something fun to read with my grandchildren and I had an interest in reading it myself since I have a great love of history also.

I found the book to be fun to read, it presented a lot of facts in a way that was not only easy to read but also teaches a great deal as the book progresses. It starts out by comparing two pictures, one of what London and a girl at home looks like today and one of how it may have looked in the late 1500’s. 

It immediately starts sharing facts about how the world was evolving and people lived, both the rich and the poor, along with the royalty. Anything a child might want to know is included or opened up for discussion. How did people live, what did they wear, what did they eat, what kind of jobs did they have, what did children do, how much did things cost, what things were called vs what they are called today, what did people do for fun; all of this is presented along with detailed illustrations that help to share the story and bring it to life. 

At the end of the book is a list of important people of the era with images and a wonderful glossary to explain any terms that are useful to know.

if-you-were-me-and-lived-in-elizabethan-england-back-coverThe illustrations are in somewhat muted colors, accurate to the times. By using a beautiful blue background for the text, though, they are really set off and seem to actually bring them to life more. Children love bright and colorful things and I think this was a smart move on the book designer’s part to do this. 

I really enjoyed this book and think it is not only something that children in the Second through Fifth Grade would find enjoyable, but it is also a great teaching tool. I can’t wait to read more books from this series and would also like to read some from the author’s other series.

Amazon Synopsis

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Elizabethan England, the complicated clothes you might wear, what might influence your parents to choose your name, and what children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in…does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get onboard this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.



About the author

Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born. “Captain No Beard- An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life” has not only been named to Kirkus Best of 2012, it received the Star of Exceptional Merit, and won the Pinnacle Award for 2012. “Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience” Book 2 in the series, received 5 Stars from The ForeWord Review The Clarion Review. Strangers on the High Seas has won second place in the Rebecca’s Reads Choice Awards 2013. It has followed with six more books to the series. This year, Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis was named to Kirkus Best 2015. The entire cultural non-fiction series If You Were Me and Lived in… was named Best Series by Shelf Unbound. She has begun work on two new series that will be released in early 2016.

Her new nonfiction series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…” combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us. The debut book in the series, “If You Were Me and Lived in…Mexico” has won the Pinnacle Award for Best in Children’s Non-Fiction 2012. France, South Korea, and Norway. Rebecca’s Reads has given If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway an honorable mention in the 2013 Choice Awards. If You Were Me and lived in …France won second place. ForeWord Review has nominated If You Were Me and Lived in…France for best in children’s non-fiction literature 2013. They will be followed by Kenya, Turkey, India, and Australia. She plans to do Portugal, Greece, and Argentina next year.

Writing for children has opened up a whole second act for her. While she is still working in her family business, this has enabled her to share her sense of humor as well as love for history and culture with the audience she adores. Roman lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children.


Product Review :: Belgian Chocolate

Product Review :: Belgian Chocolate

Napolitains, Dark Chocolate from Bouchard

I absolutely love chocolate. I am one of those people who enjoy food to the fullest, and chocolate is one of my favorite treats. I was so excited to be chosen for this promotion through Bouchard, introducing their imported chocolate for the very first time.

They have packaged five of their most successful flavors into small bites, called Napolitains. I received a package of their best seller, the Dark Chocolate! They also have Milk Chocolate, Dark Mint, Dark Orange, and Caramel and Sea Salt available in Napolitains. 


“Indulging doesn’t have to be sinful when you eat Bouchard’s dark chocolate Napolitains. They contain 72% cacao, which leaves less room for sugar.” – Bouchard

When I opened the box the chocolate came in, I could immediately smell the rich aroma of cocoa that signifies high-quality chocolate. It is such a tantalizing scent, one that if you are a chocolate lover you may be able to recall simply by thinking about it. 

I immediately opened the package, drinking in more of the delicious scent. I quickly unwrapped one of the chocolates and slipped it into my mouth, letting the rich chocolate melt on my tongue and fill my senses. Then, my lovely experience was interrupted when I heard the downstairs door open and knew my son was home from school. I quickly grabbed two more pieces and hid them under my pillow and shoved the box under my bed. As much as I love my son, this was a review item and to truly test it out, I owed it to you all to eat every single piece myself right? 😉

Before I get back to my story, here is some information about Bouchard Chocolates. It is always nice to know more about the company, especially when it comes to gourmet food. 

bouchard-beligian-chocolate-logo“We’ve been perfecting the art of chocolate making from the historical city Ghent, Belgium since 1931. We care about our heritage, our employees and especially our customers. We’re your friends in the chocolate world. We’re here to make you the best gift giver and chocolate connoisseur.

We use only high-quality ingredients to bring you the rich flavor associated with premium dark chocolate. When dark chocolate is made well it doesn’t leave your mouth with a bitter aftertaste. Because our Napolitains are made with 72% cacao they are healthy alternative to milk or white chocolate”


Along with the Napolitains, Bouchard also creates all of the other delicious specialty chocolates that you would expect from a fine chocolatier. They have many different options and they come wrapped in lovely gift boxes, ready to present to the perfect person. 



While I was thinking about getting back to my hidden chocolate treats and waiting for the perfect opportunity, my thoughts went back to something I have heard many times over the years. Did you know that dark chocolate can actually be good for you? I did some research on this because I wanted some actual facts to share with you. If you are going to eat chocolate, dark chocolate is the best kind to eat. Studies show that quality dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease. Of course, this doesn’t mean that eating a ton of chocolate is good for you, everything in moderation.

7 Health Benefits of Chocolate from

1. Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious A 100 gram (3.5 ounces) bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:

11 grams of fiber.
67% of the RDA for Iron.

58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
89% of the RDA for Copper.
98% of the RDA for Manganese.
It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

2. Dark Chocolate is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants

3. Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure

4. Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL Against Oxidation

5. Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

6. Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun

7. Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function

When I am enjoying a delicious piece of chocolate or two, my mind is not on health but it is good information to know!

Finally, I had the time I needed to sit back and take some beautiful pictures of this delicious chocolate and enjoy some more of it. The two pieces I had hidden under my pillow were a wonderful treat later that night, and just as delicious as the first piece was. I had been thinking about my hidden box of chocolate for over a week, thinking about the smooth, oh so memorable, taste of it. 

The problem was, I couldn’t find my chocolate. It wasn’t where I had hidden it. My husband doesn’t like many sweet things but these chocolates were so good I thought he might have tried them and then hidden them somewhere more convenient. Nope, we looked high and low for days and could not find the chocolate. After a few more days we finally arrived at the truth.

My son said he had smelled the chocolate as soon as he started up the stairs on the day that it arrived. He quietly snooped around for a while until he found the hidden box and took it to his room where he proceeded to eat every single bit of it! Every single bar of my delicious chocolate! I was heartbroken, my chocolate! And my review! What was I supposed to write for my review? I didn’t even have any of my own pictures to show!

I contacted Bouchard and explained the situation and they said they were happy to hear that I loved their chocolate and my son loved it every bit as much. They graciously agreed to let me use any of their images from their website also. 

Although I only ate 3 pieces myself, it was enough to recommend this as something you absolutely have to try. It is rich and delicious, very smooth and not bitter at all. I usually do prefer milk or white chocolate, but I would eat this dark chocolate with the same enjoyment as what I would normally prefer. My son says it is the best thing he has ever eaten!

Please enjoy these additional images from Bouchard Chocolate and be sure to watch for these which are available at your local Costco in California, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. 



For more information, please check out their beautiful website,

#bouchard #darkchocolate 

Product Review :: Essential Oils Storage Box #anjinaturals

Product Review :: Essential Oils Storage Box #anjinaturals

Essential Oils Wooden Storage Case – Holds Up to 74 Bottles – Large Capacity Box with Customizable Slots – Bonus Color-Coded Bottle Cap Stickers and 25 pips

Nice case with plenty of room!

Please note, I received this case for free but all opinions expressed in the following review are my own. 

essential oils storage boxI love working with essential oils and have acquired a fairly large collection. My favorites I keep on my bedside vanity with my diffuser, but I have others stored all over the place. I have wanted one of these storage cases for a very long time now because it is frustrating to have to look for the bottle you want and not be able to find it! I like to keep my things organized and this is the perfect case to do it with.


Able to hold 68 (5-15 ml) Essential Oil Bottles and 6 (10ml) roller bottles

Case is divided with a wooden grid to keep each oil in its place. 

Box comes with a secure latch to prevent accidental spills

Bonus materials include 25 pipettes, aromatherapy eBook on a cd, and a pack of colored sticker labels

essential oils storage box


When the box arrived, the wooden grid of squares for each oil was jammed into the box and was too big, making it stick up at an odd angle. My husband had to remove the grid and sand one of the sides to make it fit. 

One of the slats was broken, but my husband was able to glue it and fix it. 

essential oils storage boxOther Highlights:  This box is made of white pine and comes unfinished so you can customize it to fit your needs. Right away my husband had plans for this, he is going to spray stain it in a rich mahogany color. I am also going to place some felt in the bottom of the box and under the lid. Now, of course, you don’t have to do any of this. You can use it exactly the way it comes. This just gives you the option of making your box more decorative or fancy if you would like to. 

Other ideas you could use to dress it up would be painting it or even using decoupage to dress it up in your favorite theme. 

This box wouls be useful to store other things besides essential oils. Right away my son thought it would be perfect for his Lego people.  It would actually for any kind of small collection. Any person that is into crafts could find a myriad of uses for it. Jewelry making is a hobby that comes to mind. 


I love this box and will undoubtedly get a lot of use from it. I do feel the quality control could have been better. This should have never shipped to a customer like it did with the grid not fitting and a slat that was broken. If I didn’t have someone familiar with woodworking to fix it for me, I might have sent it back.


Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way

Amazon Changes Promotional Content in Customer Reviews Again!

Amazon Changes Promotional Content in Customer Reviews Again!

Amazon has once again made changes to their Promotional Content in Customer Reviews. I thought there would be some changes to their policy, some fine tuning. I never imagined that they would go in this direction.

They have added some “clarification” that seems to negate their last changes, especially what was in the changes on Seller Central which I didn’t even talk about on here.

Here is what is relevant in the new policy:

Amazon Customer Promotional Content Reviews

So what does this mean? To me, it seems like they are going back on their previous ban on getting products through third party websites or groups. However, the Seller can still not ask for a review. They have also put in further clarification prohibiting other benefits besides the product and added that the review can’t affect your membership in a program or club and that the Reviewers ratings or referrals in any club can’t be affected by whether or not they write the review.  It seems also that there can be no monitoring of whether or not a review is written for the product.

If you do decide to start reviewing right away, you MUST include a disclosure (disclaimer).  If you don’t, you could be facing hefty FTC fines. I would go with something simple like “I received this product for free, I was in no way obligated to leave a review.” If you got it at a discount, use that word instead of “free.” DO NOT use the word “exchange” in your review. 

promotional-content-in-customer-reviewsWhat do you think? I am not sure I will jump right back on the bandwagon. Things are changing too quickly, one right after another, and the day to day wondering whether any review I write will remain on Amazon or not is not worth it at this point. After another short period of “letting the dust settle,” I may jump back in… I am interested now in looking at any trends in the reviews that are deleted from our accounts now. Were they from products that we got through a club? Were they from Sellers who just aren’t on Amazon anymore? Has anyone heard of any other bloggers who have been looking at that? Would love to know if anyone has.

I would also love to know what you think and what your plans are!

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way

Product Review :: Crystalline Deodorant

Product Review :: Crystalline Deodorant

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this product at a discount in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, a positive review is never guaranteed or implied.

Crystalline Salts Premium Crystal Deodorant

All Natural Deodorant Made From Natural Mineral Salts Harvested From the Pristine Mountains of Thailand – Ideal for Athletes. Combats Odor Naturally. No Stains, No Synthetics, Aluminum Free. For Men and Women. Natural Salt Rock

After I started getting interested in essential oils, I realized that there were so many other natural products that I had never given any consideration. I came across this all natural deodorant and thought I would give it a try.

I have had this for over a month, and I must say that I am very impressed with it! It is a little different to apply, you get the mineral stick wet and then apply it. It takes a few seconds to dry but once it does, this deodorant has staying power.

It is very dry, once you have applied it and it dries there is virtually no residue that you find with other deodorants. If you are going to be wearing something special I would recommend this so as not to end up with any residue on your clothes. I can also see where it would be very beneficial for people who sweat lot like I do. It does not wear off until I wash it off.

This stick of deodorant is also going to last a very long time! After repeated applications, it still looks brand new. Instead of monthly, the product listing claims you will probably only have to buy this again once every year, and I can believe it from what I see so far. What a time and money saver.

The only thing to be careful of is to be sure and not apply this if you have just shaved. It is made out of salt so will sting against cut skin.

This product has a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied in any way. The best thing about this deodorant is that part of the proceeds from each sale goes to Avoda – an orphanage in Thailand dedicated to helping children with food, shelter, a home and education.

A great product all around, good for you, the environment, and they help out a very good cause!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received this product at a discount in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

#crystaldeodorant #naturalproduct #beauty #deodorant #mineralsalts

Guest Post :: Change – It Happened

Guest Post :: Change – It Happened

Don't give up hopeWhen change happens and it is unexpected, it can often seem overwhelming and tragic. Sometimes even when we know a big change is coming, it still tears us up, leaving us angry and/or depressed.

Have you ever lost a job that you really loved? A job where you worked so hard and put everything you had into making someone else’s business a success, and then were let go without a word of thanks?

What about an unexpected break up? Were you ever in a relationship that seemed to be going along fine, things were progressing, but then one day it was over and you weren’t really sure what happened?

Were you one of the people that had your Amazon account wiped or do you know someone who had their account wiped? It can be a devastating experience for some people. In a sense, many people feel like they have been wiped by the recent changes at Amazon. They haven’t lost their reviews or their privileges, but they have lost the way they do things. For many, reviewing was their main hobby and how they spent their free time. Now to not be able to have their routine, how will their lives change?

Change can be hard, but life is full of change. I want to share this story written by an inspirational person who I happened to met along my own Amazon journey. In it, she shares how she handled the major change in her life when her review account was wiped. She actually wrote this guest post two months ago, but something always seemed to come up and I never got it posted. It must be Serendipity because now is the perfect time for it.

It happened.

After reviewing on many of Amazon’s sites between 2010 and 2016, I woke up one day to the dreaded email. You know the one, it reads something like, “You may have violated our terms of service and are no longer permitted to post reviews…” Gotta love that ‘may have’. See, they’re smart. By not giving any specifics, our sue-happy society is hard-pressed to find anyone willing to take on any type of civil case. They did not specifically accuse me of anything – they claimed that I may have done something to violate their very ambiguous terms of service.

Personally, my theory on why this happened to me is basically that I outstayed my welcome. I redeemed literally thousands of promotional codes for free and deeply discounted items on their site. But I’ll never know for sure – perhaps I did violate their terms. In the 2400+ reviews I posted on just their American site, there’s a really good chance that I made mistakes along the way!

I started reviewing when a product royally pissed me off and I felt the need to share my poor experience with anyone I could. The review quickly grew in popularity and Amazon requested I write more. With just a couple of reviews on the site, I was ranked in the 12,000s. Being a huge fan and frequent shopper of the site, I complied, writing reviews from everything from complex reports on books to two-liners on groceries and household goods and everything in between.

I didn’t think too much of my rank, having a good time helping independent authors by sharing my thoughts on their work and I like to think, fellow consumers by sharing my experience with various products. The majority of my reviews included photos and a few had videos.

Eventually, I believe I was in the 8000s window when sellers started contacting me, requesting I try their products. While most people seem to get totally rabid at the mention of “Free Stuff”, I was always pretty selective about what I’d review. I’d stop and think, Do I really want to write about this? If it was something myself or a member of my immediate family could honestly use and something that wasn’t going to be too much of a pain to write about, I’d go for it. As long as it was at least 99% off. That’s another thing I was selective about – it had to be free or pretty darn close to free.

I’m not gonna lie – having dozens of packages show up seven days a week was super fun. I definitely became addicted. My apartment, at times, looked like it belonged on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive and sadly, that’s not an exaggeration. I joined some of the Facebook groups and watched for opportunities to snag even more free stuff. Many were shady or dramatic or just plain annoying – I left those ones quickly. However, I found some that I really liked, whose admins didn’t nag too much and who tried to keep their terms compliant with Amazon’s. Of course, Amazon’s terms are so ambiguous – there is much debate over how exactly to do that. That’s a long discussion worthy of its own post – so I won’t open that can of worms here.

My reviewing habit definitely got out of control. I was never late on reviews, never legitimately on those naughty lists. I always got them done… but it was extremely time consuming. At one point, I installed Grammarly and according to my weekly reports, I was writing over 50,000 words per week. That is insane. I edit novels that are around that length. Since I’ve stopped posting reviews on Amazon, I’m only writing about 5,000 words weekly. That should give you an idea of the volume of reviews I was posting just on Amazon.

Remember – Amazon isn’t the only place to post reviews. I still review on numerous other sites such as other retailers, traveler sites, etc. I’ve mystery shopped, I’ve test-stayed for Disney – this sort of thing is far from foreign to me. But Amazon is definitely the easiest and seemingly the most popular. Though, many sellers I’ve spoken to are exploring and moving to other avenues because of the mass ‘wipings’ Amazon seems to be doing lately.

Sometime in the last year or so, Amazon became really infamous for wiping accounts, seeming to “crack down” on the scammers, cheaters, etc. (You might notice this is around the same time they publicly came under fire for being infiltrated with fake reviews.) As a result, I watched this wave of panic take over the reviewing circuit. I realized that my time as an Amazon reviewer would run out – the question was when. It could be in an hour or another year. So I decided to make the most of it – hence those 50,000 words per week!

There wasn’t anything that triggered this attitude for me, other than the reality of the fact that – Amazon isn’t stupid. While I shop for literally EVERYthing that isn’t perishable on their site – at full price – I figured they still wouldn’t take too kindly to the thousands of promos I was using. Talk about taking advantage of my Prime membership – that free shipping isn’t cheap for them.

When it got to the point that people were creating Amazon accounts and buying Prime memberships just for the sake of being able to get free stuff, I knew Amazon would soon crack down. And they did. Hence all these infamous wipings.

While I, in theory, seemed safe, I figured in reality no one is. I’ve been a customer of Amazon since 2004. I’ve been a Prime member since 2009 and buying ALL of my household items, pet items and non-perishable grocery items on there ever since. Every month, my Subscribe & Save delivery is huge, every week I get several Pantry boxes – not to mention all of the other random things and the 8,000 eBooks, movies and TV shows in my cloud… Any time we need anything, Amazon is our go-to. I’m far from one of these bandwagon free-stuff seekers. The thing is, it doesn’t matter.

I reviewed my “legitimate” or promo-free purchases, just the same as my promo-purchases. I’ve never sold review items, I’ve never posted a paid review or a fake review. Amazon doesn’t know that. No one can know that – except for me. Amazon doesn’t know about the pages and devices full of notes I took, legitimately and honestly testing products before gathering said notes into honest reviews. I’m guessing they wouldn’t care if they did.

I did receive one warning. There was one time I reviewed a sleep mask, I remember it well. I got trigger-happy and hit “submit” before I’d finished the review! I thought, Shit! I’d left out the disclaimer! I immediately hit ‘edit’ and of course, added a disclaimer and saved the review. It didn’t matter. They emailed me stating that, because I’d left out a disclaimer, my review had been suppressed and if it happened again, I “might” have my reviewing privilege revoked. I emailed back and forth with them, explaining it was an honest mistake, which they could clearly see by my immediate edit. None of that mattered. I’d given them a reason to put me on notice.

That was over a year before I got wiped and to my knowledge, it was an isolated incident. I was never warned or reprimanded by them again. Until the dreaded message in which I was informed I’d been wiped.

One of my authors actually noticed before I did. I had a message from her, “Your reviews of all of my books are gone.” I knew in that instant that my time had come. I checked my email and found the confirming email. Of course I went through the motions of appealing. I even emailed Jeff Bezos and got a personal response that included an email for the Communities team that differs from the one everyone knows, encouraged to reach out. However, I never heard back from them, unsurprisingly. If they reversed their decision for me, they’d be more pressured / expected to do it for others. They’d lose some of the upper hand they have going on how. Plus, reversing my ‘wiping’ might send out a message that they do make mistakes. We can’t have that now, can we?

They’re citing “relationship with seller/author” in my case. They’re not wrong. When I love a book, if I don’t already know the author, I reach out to them. Social media has made that possible. Obviously, in order to obtain a promotional code from a seller for a free item, I’ve talked with them at least a little bit too. Depending on their definition of “relationship”, we all have a relationship with every vendor/author we’ve ever reviewed. More ambiguity.

While I was reviewing with the realization that it wouldn’t be forever, I always thought that when the time came, I’d be devastated. I had a lot of reviews to lose and a lot of time invested and I was really enjoying all of the free and deeply discounted goods. I was wrong.

The only way to make sense of changeAfter confirming that my profile was gone and I could in fact, no longer post new reviews, I felt relief. SO MUCH time had just been freed up. I realized I didn’t actually need anything. I never pitched sellers, just opted into fun things that came to me. So, I’m not really ‘out’ anything. I looked at it as taking what I could get and enjoying it while it lasted. Now – I do enjoy being able to try out the majority of my purchases without stopping to take notes and pictures along the way!

I had a great time while it lasted, and like most good things, it had to end some time.

There Is Life After Amazon !!!

Sellers still pitch me constantly, even though my profile has been gone for, I think it’s been about 6 weeks now. Many are sellers I’ve worked with before, but many are new to me. If the item is something I’m interested in, I explain that I cannot post to Amazon any more but I’d be happy to post anywhere else (my blog, other retailers, social media sharing, etc.). So I still review a ton – just not at the obsessive hoarder level I was at before. And a weight has definitely been lifted from my shoulders.

L.j. Redding – PelicanFreak

I remember being online the morning L.j. found out she was wiped, I felt devastated! I knew how hard she worked on her reviews and how much she loved doing them. I was so nervous to bring it up, I didn’t want to make her feel worse than she already did but knew I had to let her know that I was sorry she had been wiped. When we started chatting on Messenger, I could actually feel her relief myself! I could tell she was more relaxed and enjoying doing things she hadn’t had time to do in a while. She was baking up a storm, coloring, and of course, reading. And she was truly happy.

Don't be afraid to changeThere are many things that can help us through the unpleasant changes in our lives. Faith and hope come to mind. Sometimes it is our attitude that will carry us through the rough times. L.j. chose to be happy instead of bitter and allowed herself to recognize and acknowledge the actual relief she felt. I think the biggest lesson here is sometimes what we think we need in our lives, isn’t really what makes us happy. 

Thank you L.j. for sharing your story!

How about you? Can you think of a change in your life that you just knew was going to be awful but turned into something else?

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way