Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: Officer...why don't you adopt him?


Reviewed by Alyssa Ast

Title: Officer...why don't you adopt him?
Author: Lee West
Publisher: Lee West 2012
Price: eBook $10.95 or Print $13.95

Recommended? Yes!

Review:
Officer..why don't you adopt him? by Lee West is a great book!

It's based on a true adoption story about Lee West's struggle to adopt an abandoned infant while serving the Chicago Police Department. West's adoption story is so unique, because at the time of the ordeal, he was a bachelor and bachelors adopting children was just unheard of. Plus, he had a dangerous career, which only made his journey to adopt the child even harder-- considered impossible by most.

When the child came into the hospital West was working at as a second job, he didn't even want any children. But something about this child touched him, and he just knew he was meant to be this child's father. He believed God had brought this child into his life for a reason, and it was his duty to live up to his potential in life to adopt the baby.

But, adopting the baby wasn't easy. Lawyer after lawyer told him it was impossible; in fact, just about everyone told him it was impossible. However, he continued on his journey to bring the baby home, even after the shooting death of his friend and police investigator, who also wanted to adopt the infant. West's persistence paid off as he finally became the first bachelor in Illinois to adopt a child.

His story was highly publicised at the time, and was even featured in many well known publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Redbook Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

This true story really is amazing. It's heartwarming, suspenseful and will have you engaged from the first word in the book. It's a quick read that you just can't put down.

I highly recommend Officer, why don't you adopt him? by Lee West
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rubbabu Cars


By Jennifer Tomasino

Rubbabu Cars

I was a local toy shop last month and spotted these amazing little toy cars. They weren’t like anything I had ever seen before. The consistency of the toy is spongy, but solid, and they have an almost fuzzy feeling exterior. I asked about the cars and learned a couple of cool things.

Rubbabu is a company that uses 100% natural rubber with no synthetic fillers. The result is a unique toy that is also very environmentally friendly. Plus the material is anti-microbial, hypoallergenic, and flame retardant.

I was originally worried that the “fuzz” on the outside of the toys would flake off or that the coating on the outside of the tires would be less that resistant to my teething baby. But I have been very impressed. For all my son’s gnawing, the car seems to be in perfect shape!

Another plus was the price, I bought a couple of the smaller sized cars as stocking stuffers for Christmas and didn’t break the bank. These cars have made perfect diaper bag toys, and even work for the bag of “church toys” since they are soft and don’t make noise when hurled at the floor. :-)

I have since learned that my local toy store is one of a handful of retailers, but you can order the cars online as well. There’s also a bunch of blocks, puzzles, and other products made from the same materials.
Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: The Kite Runner


Reviewed by Alyssa Ast

Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Riverhead Books 2003
Price: Varies

Recommended? Yes

Review:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini has been on my "to read" list ever since I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, also by author Hosseini. A Thousand Splendid Suns was such an amazing book that I knew I was going to love The Kite Runner-- and I was right. Once I began reading the book, I just couldn't put it down. From page one, the book is engaging, suspenseful, heartbreaking and heartwarming. It really is a must read.

The story involves the main character, Amir, and his journey from childhood through adulthood, which takes place in Afghanistan and America. The author does an excellent job portraying Amir and the other characters in the book. He does an wonderful job connecting you with the characters, placing the reader inside the character's head until you fall in love with them.

The tone and language the author uses paints vivid images in your head, placing you right there in every scene. Just when you think you've figured the novel out, a surprising twist takes place and leaves you guessing to the very end.

I couldn't put this book down. I blew off work and read it from cover to cover in two days. It's not a book you read once, and let it sit. It's a book that will remain amazing no matter how many times you read it. The books contains many life lessons everyone can carry with them.

I highly recommended The Kite Runner!
Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kid Stuff Review: City Select Stroller by Baby Jogger



City Select Stroller by Baby Jogger
By Jennifer Tomasino

My kids are 22 months apart, so when my son was born this spring I knew I needed a double stroller. I read more reviews than I care to count, test drove models at the local baby shop, and finally decided on the City Select by Baby Jogger. It was a little difficult to spend that much money
on a stroller, but I haven’t regretted a single dollar.
This stroller is amazing. I bought the frame, which comes
with one seat, a second seat with the adapter kit, and the car seat attachment. This stroller is the only reason I ventured out of the house those first few months. It was so easy to use and folded incredibly flat for the size of the
unit. The entire stroller comes apart into several pieces which allowed us to pack it into corners of the trunk when we went on a week-long vacation.
I’ve now removed the car seat attachment and have two regular seats. The seats can be facing towards or away from each other, I can also have both facing me, or forward. The best part is that I still have significant room in the cargo basket for my diaper bag, etc.
I would be lying if I said I don’t kind of enjoy it when people come up and ask about the stroller. I had a woman in the grocery store stop me the other day and exclaim “that’s the City Select isn’t it? Can I push it? I have twins and need one of those.”
The only thing I’m not in love with is the drink holder. I purchased the branded accessory bar for the handles, I’ve since seen much better designs offered by off brand companies online.
Overall, it was probably one of the best parenting purchases I’ve made. Here’s hoping that my kids don’t totally trash it so that I can re-sell it when I no longer need it.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Review: Kaptain Vamp

by Laura Ast

Title: Kaptain Vamp
Author: Joanne Lecuyer
Illustrator: Amy Rottinger
Publisher: Topsy Books
Genre: Children
Recommended: Yes

Allistaire Arturius Doppleganger Varning the IV is a twelve year old (in human years) part vampire. He lives life like your average, normal twelve year old. Allistaire doesn't bite people or drink blood. He can eat anything as long as he gets a balanced, daily diet of raw meat.

Rich is Allistaires best friend. He also knows all about Allistaire and his family being vampires. Both Allistaire and  Rich are really into comic books and since Allistaire has the usual vampire abilities of running faster, being very strong and hearing a conversation a mile away, they decide he should become a super hero. Allistaire also wants to show humans that vampires aren't all bad. Kaptain Vamp is the name Allistaire and Rich choose.

The first Kaptain Vamp act is to put a stop to the three Tambor brothers from bullying the kids at school. No one really saw Kaptain Vamp as he stopped the Tambor boys, so Rich and Allistaire decide to do another good deed. Mrs. Woolley uses a walker and always crosses the street in front of the bus. Rich decides to ride his bike going the opposite direction and Allistaire can save them both. The breaks go out on the bus and Allistaire saves their lives for real and they don't even know it.

There are plenty of great illustrations as well. I think kids of about 3rd and 4rth grade would enjoy this story because it shows a great friendship, trust, accepting differences in others, two loving families and the courage to stand up to bullies.

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