Book review: A Child’s Introduction to Tea

Children's Specialteas : A Child's Introduction to Tea by Patrick, Michele Pollard published by Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. Hardcover

I recently had the opportunity to review the book A Child’s Introduction to Tea by Michele Pollard Patrick. She is a “tea time” and social graces educator and director at Children’s Specialteas, a program she founded, as well as a consultant teaching proper social behavior. Patrick currently resides in Maryland.

I chose this book to review because I enjoy having tea parties with my close friends and have recently introduced tea time to my own daughters. In today’s rugged American culture everyone could use a tutorial in social graces. A Child’s Introduction to Tea proves to be very informative. There were tools on her table I have not even considered including during my tea times. This book goes through the tools and table necessities for a good and proper tea time that she refers to as tea impedimenta. I enjoyed that the book did not over explain in the area of these tools and descriptions of uses but I would have enjoyed a bit more inclusive information on tea time. It would have been nice and educational to have some of the health benefits of certain teas talked over or even some behavioral tips on how to handle oneself at a tea party, ex. no slurping, sit up straight, napkin on the lap etc.  I suppose that too much information  can be overwhelming to include in a book about tea time instructions but considering the 27 pages included mostly one or two sentences each, there was plenty of opportunity to include more thorough information since she probably has so much information to share based on her experience.

My final thought on this book is that even though the book had clear illustrations that were understandable, the visuals left a lot to be desired especially for a tea time book. Tea time is considered pretty, elegant, and formal. Some colorful pages instead of what looks like pencil sketches for the visuals would have been a way to capture the eye and make the book more tempting to open more than once.

Overall I enjoyed the book for the more detailed information I received about what to include on the tea party table.


 Purchase or review the book here: A Child’s Guide to Tea by Michele Pollard Patrick


I received a complimentary copy of A Child’s Introduction to Tea by Michele Pollard Patrick as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Book Review: Fully Alive by Ken Davis

I have to admit this is the first book I have ever reviewed for an on-line review blog but it sure was a great way to start. Ken Davis’ book came into my life in a timely manner as I received his encouragement and humorous tales as a refreshing glass of water. There are times in life when you realize that you have known an answer to an issue or problem for a while but at the same time never implemented that solution in a way that would impact your situation. Fully Alive turned into an A-HA moment when I was reminded how easy it is to resolve a dilemma by simply taking my eyes off myself and on to others; taking my eyes off the problem and on to the solution. I found Ken to be inspirational. His countless reminders of how many others struggle with WAY more than what I can conjure up as a petty little complaint made me realize I got it pretty good. Not to mention, with a bit more effort I can surely improve from here. He talks about life, love, spiritual growth, and physical redemption. Anyone who likes pleasant and encouraging reading will love this book as it felt as if he were sitting in my living room having an amusing but inspiring conversation with me; Ken Davis proved to be Fully Alive right through his pages!

To visit and “See Inside” Fully Alive click here.

I review for BookSneeze®

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 
book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The 
opinions I have expressed are my own. 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 

Chocolatania by: Amorina Galindo

Once upon a time there was a robot, named Remi, but this isn’t any ordinary robot. This is a very powerful and kind robot who just so happens to be the king of a chocolate kingdom! A kingdom called Chocolatania! In this kingdom everything was made from chocolate. The people’s beds were made of white chocolate, their TV’s were made of dark chocolate, and the trees were made of milk chocolate. Their diets are pretty basic; chocolate milk for breakfast, chocolate milkshakes for lunch, chocolate ice cream topped with hot chocolate syrup and chocolate chips for dinner, and, you, guessed it, chocolate cake with chocolate icing for dessert. (And in case you were wondering; they were always good and healthy.)

One day while the King Remi was eating his lunch, on his big royal chocolate throne, his most faithful servant, named Coco, rushed in with some terrible news! “Oh, King Remi! I have terrible news!” Coco wailed. “What is it? What has happened?” King Remi asked very concerned. The King was very kind and loved his people very much. “It’s the chocolate jewels…they have been stolen!!!” Coco sobbed. The chocolate jewels were very important to the kingdom. They were not only were the chocolate jewels the most delicious made chocolate in the kingdom, but they were also magical. So magical in fact that the whole kingdom was powered by these four chocolate jewels, one was white chocolate, the other was dark chocolate, another was milk chocolate, and the last was cookies ‘n cream chocolate. Without these chocolate jewels the whole kingdom wouldn’t exist.

Well King Remi was furious; this wouldn’t be good news for the people in Chocolatania. In this type of situation you would have to think fast who might’ve done this terrible crime, so it didn’t take long for King Remi to figure out who did it. He knew it had to have been…

Prince cauliflower!!!

Why, you may ask would a prince named Cauliflower want an unhealthy sweet like chocolate? Well if you would believe it, the evil prince didn’t like any type of vegetable! In fact Prince Cauliflower had wanted to change his name ever since he could eat!

Anyway, King Remi declared a state of emergency. The whole kingdom needed to evacuate and make camp in the Marshmallow Forest until the chocolate jewels were safely returned to their rightful place in the palace. Meanwhile King Remi and his army started on their quest to find their precious chocolate jewels. Three days went by, then ten; fifteen and then a whole month went by. They passed Candy-Corn Farm, Jello Swamp, and had just crossed over the Licorice Bridge before they finally found Prince Cauliflower and the chocolate jewels in a little shack made of celery and carrots. “There it’s finished!” Prince Cauliflower exclaimed, “This plan is full proof. It has to work!” With that King Remi and his royal guards burst through the door and startled Prince Cauliflower so much he tripped over a chair and landed flat on his back!

One of the guards was just about to lunge at Prince Cauliflower with his sword but King Remi stopped him not looking at the soldier. They all stood there silently in astonishment. One of the guards broke the silence, “King Remi? Is that a…heart?!” Standing before them was an eight foot tall heart filled with all kinds of chocolate. King Remi was confused, “What is this?” he asked Prince Cauliflower. Prince Cauliflower sighed, “It’s a valentine for Princess Fudge okay?” he said very embarrassed. “What?” King Remi was still confused. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I made this especially for her because I…love her.

“Oh, now I get it, and let me guess she likes chocolate too huh?” King Remi asked. “Yes, so I thought if I made this for her she might like me back.” Prince Cauliflower said. “Well I’m sure she’ll like the chocolate, and the heart, but…” King Remi’s voice trailed off. “What? What’s wrong with it?!” Prince Cauliflower exclaimed. “Oh, nothing at all. It’s just…” King Remi’s voice trailed off again. Then he had an idea. “I just thought it would be nice if…you took her on a trip. You know just you and her.”

“Yes, Yes, YES! Of course!!! That would be perfect! She wouldn’t be able to resist…Oh no!” Prince Cauliflower exclaimed. “What’s wrong?” said King Remi. “Where will I take her? It has to be somewhere perfect; somewhere she’s never been before, but where?”

“Well,” King Remi said like he had just thought of something, “You could take her to Chocolatania.” “Oh I’m sure she would love to go there! After all she does love chocolate as much as I do.” Prince Cauliflower said with a grin. “Oh yes, definitely but I’m afraid you can’t.” King Remi said with his best fake disappointment face. “Oh, really? And just who’s going to stop me?” he asked challengingly as he drew his sword. “Well…you. YOU’RE getting in the way of your own plan.” King Remi said.

“What are you talking about? My plan is full proof. It’s got to work!”   Prince Cauliflower said very annoyed. “I’m sure it would…if Chocolatania was still there.” King Remi said. “What do you mean, ‘if Chocolatania was still there’? It couldn’t have just got up and walked off.” Prince Cauliflower said sternly. “Oh it didn’t but like I said before YOU’RE getting in the way of your own plan.” King Remi said. “How am I getting in the way of MY OWN plan?!” Prince Cauliflower asked furiously. “When you took the four chocolate jewels you thought they were just like any other kind of chocolate, but what you didn’t know was that they were magical.”

Prince Cauliflower’s face drained. “So magical in fact that they just so happen to power my whole kingdom. So if they got eaten, well…let’s just say that it wouldn’t be a very romantic place for a couple to go to.” King Remi said with a chuckle. “Oh no, my plan is ruined!” Prince Cauliflower sobbed. “Actually, it might still work with the help of yours truly.” King Remi said proudly. “How? How can you help me?” Prince Cauliflower said eagerly. “Maybe we can do a little trade.” King Remi said happily. “What kind of trade?” Prince Cauliflower asked willingly. “If you give us back all four of the chocolate jewels we’ll make sure that you and Princess Fudge have the best of everything we have to offer. Is it a deal?” King Remi asked as he stretched out his hand. Prince Cauliflower dropped his sword and immediately his face brightened. “YES, YES, YES!” Prince Cauliflower said as he lunged the jewels at King Remi. The kingdom was restored, the King and his people moved back to their homes, and Prince Cauliflower and Princess Fudge also lived happily ever after.

THE POCKET WATCH by Daniel Galindo

Once upon a time there was a pocket watch… NOT JUST ANY POCKET WATCH!!! This pocket watch was made in the year 1896 in a town where the skies were dark and the winds sounded like screams. In a place called…SLEPPY-HOLLOW once in, you NEVER EVER come out!!! One day, a man without a name made a pocket watch… a pocket watch that was supposed to allow him to travel through time… but something went horribly wrong. Instead of allowing him to travel through time, somehow the pocket watch had a mind of it’s own and it hypnotized the man and he was under the pocket watch’s control. The pocket watch made him create a virus that would get the entire town under the pocket watch’s control. The plan worked perfectly but there was only one family that survived. Their father was a professor and his assistant was his son, Frodo. Frodo and his father were always trying to create a cure for their mother, who had a sickness that to live, she would need to be in a deep sleep for 9 years. While they were still trying to make a cure, they heard about the virus that the man without a name made and that they were the last victims. Fortunately, they had kept the medicines that did not work on the cure, but they had an idea. They mixed up the medicines and created a cure not only for the town, but hopefully, for their mother. Their plan worked perfectly as well, but they still had to destroy the pocket watch. (WARNING: This part of the story is be WAY too violent, gory, and scary for kids, so I am just going to skip it)The pocket watch was finally destroyed, but there was still one more thing to do… they had to try the cure on their mother. And it worked! The family was so happy that they completely transformed the town. Now the skies were blue and the wind sounded like, well, wind. And do you want to know what the man without a name really was? His name was…DR. CLOCKWORK!!! MWA HA HA HA! No, not really, it was Phil.

Today’s Discovery: MAMEY!

Today’s Discovery: MAMEY! 

I talked to my mom today and asked her what she was doing; she had just left the Mexican grocery store and had picked up some mamey! She went on and on about it until I stopped to tell her I had NO idea what she was talking about! She said, “you have never heard of mamey?” She immediately detoured and came over to share a ripe mamey fruit with all of us.

I was a bit hesitant to eat it because it reminded me of papaya a bit. I can not get myself to eat papaya, mango, or melon. I have no idea why I just can’t swallow those. They look good but, go figure. It was oval and large enough to fill my entire hand. Despite my hesitation, I set a good example for my children by trying a bit.  If I was to equate it to anything I would say it was like an avocado but sweeter.  It was as creamy as an avocado and had a pit in it, only flatter and really shiny. Actually this particular one had two! It was a nice sweet treat. Read more about it here Mamey fruit: Mexico’s sweet winter treat : Mexico Cuisine – Try Mamey Today!

Vision Boards

This week we worked on setting long and short-term goals and dreams so we created our own style vision boards!

Vision board on a poster to hang in your room.

Vision board on a sheet of photo paper to create a sturdy copy for a notebook.

Vision board in a file folder to make it more private to carry around and pull out for review whenever possible.

Crayon Art On Canvas!

Students Creating Our First Art Project!

See instructions below!



a canvas (we started with 8×10)

hot glue gun

glue stick

hair dryer

crayons (broken or whole)

surface protection like newspaper or plastic (shower curtains are great for covering surfaces then washing off and reusing later)

Step 1: Pick out the colors you want to use and line them up or put them in a creative design.

Step 2: Use the glue gun to glue the design down. I suggest setting it up on the canvas and then removing a few pieces at a time and gluing down back down as you go. If you’re making a straight line glue first and last piece first so crayons won’t roll.

Step 3: Protect your surface with covering, hold the canvas at the angle you want the crayon to drip. If you are doing a special design it is better to melt it in the direction you want it to drip then let it dry before turning it because as you turn the canvas the crayons run in the direction you turn when they are still hot. Play around with settings on the hairdryer so you can control the splatter and the drip/running of the crayons.

TIP: think the colors through, use several of the same color if you want to get a good solid streak going down, using certain colors together make a muddy brown mix.

Step 4: Let dry and hang!

Fun is for the Birds!

This past summer we enjoyed a bird house kit, well, to tell you the truth, “we” is too many people! I am more of the “everything must be perfect” type before we get started on a project. My children, on the other hand, are the “fly by the seat of their pants” type. I am working on being a little more spontaneous as I teach them a little structure and organization

I actually heard them playing and talking in their room. As a mother of four I was enjoying the fact that I was not being interrupted for once. Little did I know they had taken on this project. I should have known that all that kind cooperating between a 12, 10 and 6-year-old meant something sneaky was going on. By sneaky, I mean they were painting in their bedroom without permission and without something protecting the carpet!

Well, after I saw their work of art, instead of getting upset at the countless possibilities for an artful disaster on the carpet, I calmly reiterated my proper painting procedures and went on to enjoy the wonderful piece of art. The beautiful bird house has become a constant reminder of how (for them) it IS possible for them to all get along and cooperate and (for me) spontaneity does not have to end up a disaster! Of course, we took some pictures to remember where we painted it and then hung it out on the crepe myrtle in the back yard.

Now the reason for the late post… we are just now starting to get visitors! We are excited even though we have not been able to catch any of them on camera yet.

Notice the Carpet! Surprisingly, it remained unstained!

Here it is!!

Celebrating Life!

There is nothing more exciting than celebrating a miracle! Today over pizza, cake, and a lot of laughs we enjoyed celebrating the one year anniversary (AKA Re-Birthday) of Abby’s kidney transplant. After years of standing strong and brave, Abby came out of a transplant September 4th 2011, which she received in California. Today, Abby works hard on her school work and has so much joy in her heart that she impacts all those around her. Oh how we need to value life the way Abby does. She is young and carefree in her socializing with us. Today she raised her hand to ask the question, “Is it ok to stop and do a little dance?” Who can say no to such enthusiasm? We saw that dance about three times today and I can’t wait until tomorrow. Abby O. You Are AMAZING!