Love is in the chocolate for Valentine’s Day

As the day of love approaches, Valentine’s Day preparations go into full swing. From flowers to wine to extravagant gifts, Valentine’s Day focuses on love and romance. For some, chocolate conveys true love and devotion.  From a perfect single bite of artisan chocolate to rich, luscious chocolate dessert, the day of love can be chocolate filled. 

While people’s tastes and preferences vary, small batch artisan chocolates are gaining in popularity. The bean-to-bar chocolatiers bring both quality ingredients and small batch production to a higher quality chocolate. Whether enjoyed simply as a bite of chocolate or incorporated into a decadent dessert, these artisan chocolatiers exemplify the trend toward sustainability and quality ingredients.  
Using small batch artisan chocolate can change a person’s chocolate experience. Due to the special characteristics, the flavor can be quite unique. Additionally, the chocolate’s texture can be different. From baking to cocktails to garnishes, the artisan chocolate can have an elevated taste. 

Treating this artisan chocolate properly is key to its flavor enjoyment. A tool, like the Microplane Gourmet Large Shaver, is a important kitchen tool to handle the chocolate. The Microplane Gourmet Large Shaver is made with an ultra-sharp, stainless steel blade. The paddle shaped tool easily transforms chocolate into wide ribbon like pieces. The pieces can be used in recipes or as garnishes for desserts, cocktails or hot chocolate.

The Microplane Gourmet Large Shaver can be used horizontally or vertically, with the non-slip bottom. The soft grip handle is secure when wet and comfortable to hold. While perfect for chocolate, the Microplane Gourmet Large Shaver can be used with other ingredients like hard cheeses, garlic or even truffles. 

The Microplane Gourmet Large Shaver is available at various retailers. The suggested retail price is $16.95. This Microplane tool is one of many kitchen tools sold by the company. 

This Valentine’s Day showcase the artisan chocolate for your valentine. From a carefully made dessert to a topping to an after dinner cocktail, the artisan chocolate and the right kitchen tool will make the experience even more special. The decadent event will last till Valentine’s Day next year.

Pirasta, color the big picture with your creative side

Studies have shown that coloring, both inside and out of the lines, can be a leisurely activity. While watching children ponder over the perfect crayon color for a flower, the simplicity of coloring is endearing. Using a specific tool, in a specific space, will create a desired outcome. The white space in between the lines isn’t constantly changing, moving or needing a reply. The paper awaits for your own, personal interpretation on the scene.
With coloring growing in popularity for all ages, coloring as a family can be a fun activity. Since a group can’t color a single, notebook size of paper, the group coloring item needs to be bigger than normal. Pirasta brings the big coloring picture to a family’s home.
Pirasta is a new concept to the coloring world. These really big coloring posters can offer hours of entertainment. From adding a portion every day or everyone spending 30 minutes to add their personal touches, the Pirasta can become a family endeavor. If the parents aren’t ready to color within the lines, the wall sized coloring sheets can keep kids occupied in the playroom for hours or even days on end.

According to the company’s founder, Mira states “Growing up, my parents would tape a large sheet of paper to the wall and my sister and I would spend hours drawing and coloring on it. When my son started drawing on the walls of our small NYC apartment, it seemed like a good idea to give him a way to pursue his heart’s desire without causing lasting damage. So, I did what my parents did but, because he was crazy about rocket ships, I drew him a space scene to color. That was when the idea for Pirasta was born."

Pirasta has several large scale coloring posters. The current designs are Food Fight, Funny Farm, The Big Apple and Let’s Color American. These designs are available in the large scale posters, measuring 63 x 36, and a booklet of “really cool coloring sheets.” The prices are $32 for a poster and $20 for the sheets.

As family look to create unique spaces and d├ęcor in their home, Pirasta is a wonderful option. Since each person can add their personal flare to the sheet, no poster is like another one. In our home, the Pirasta Let’s Color America is a star of the playroom.

Since our family likes to travel and tries to visit new places on a trip, the Let’s Color America is a perfect way to cross off new places we have visited. From coloring in the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Rushmore to race cars of Indianapolis, each state has a fun picture to remember all the amazing moments. It doesn’t matter if the kids color the Golden Gate Bridge green or Mount Rushmore purple. The reason for their choices and the stories that they recall about the trip are the important moments.

Bring the freedom to create, discover and capture the moment inspiration with Pirasta. Your family’s walls will be flourishing with inspiration.

The Benefits of Learning Music for Children

These days, most kids have a busier schedule than their parents. Between school and extracurricular activities, they barely have time to sleep. As your children get older, you are going to have to pare down their activities. If you don't, they could become overextended. One activity you should definitely consider is playing an instrument.

It is a good idea to get music into your child's life. Even if they aren't the best musician in their class it will still be very rewarding. Not everyone is going to grow up to be a famous musician, but they can get tons of enjoyment out of it as a lifelong hobby. Many parents prefer music to sports because you can play an instrument for the rest of your life.

If your kids are involved in music, it's a good idea to enroll them in some kind of music education. Whether it's a group class or private lessons, music education has a ton of benefits. The rewards go far beyond just the musical skills they develop.

It makes kids better at school

Data exists that shows children learning a musical instrument perform much better academically. This is because music exercises every section of the brain. Musicians experience improved performance in critical thinking. Students enrolled in music show a huge improvement in math skills especially.

It has social benefits

Playing music is a communal activity. You rarely see a solo performance. One marked benefit for children of being in a musical group is that it makes people work together in a different way. It is a different experience than being in a math class with others in their age group. Individuals learn to understand their role as part of the collective when playing in a band. It is amazing how many shy kids have blossomed socially as a result.


Every kid can't be a great athlete. If they aren't, there is probably something else they would excel at. Many have their self-worth completely turn around as a result of showing promise as an instrumentalist. It feels good to be good at something.

These are just three areas where kids see marked improvement when they take up music. If you really want your child to succeed, enroll them in music lessons. By using their experience and music workbooks for teaching, their private instructor will guide them and compel them to practice. The more a child practices, the more they will be rewarded.

Blue Apprentice by Galxyz Engaging Young Minds in Science

Disclosure: Our family was given the opportunity to experience this app by The Role Mommy Network. All opinions are our own. 

Growing up, I loved school. The books, studying, and projects were are very intriguing to me. I could spend hours with my head in a book. Looking at my kids’ school work, I scratch my head. My kids have no science book, social studies book, etc. Everything is online or a video or something not tangible. While I struggle with this scenario, my kids are fully engaged and more importantly they are learning a lot. Since the kids are so engaged, I am always searching for new ways to keep them stimulated. Blue Apprentice by Galaxyz is the perfect solution.

Blue Apprentice by Galaxyz is an online learning experience. Based on the Next Generation Science Standards curriculum, this online game and app supplements the topics that they learn in school. By making science topics engaging, fun and interactive, Blue Apprentice seeks to create a lifelong interest in science topics. 

Broken in several episodes, Blue Apprentice Season 1 offers a variety of science topics. From physics to Earth to life science, the interactive learning experiences solidify the science topics. Kids, and even adults, will learn about properties of matter, ecosystems and habitats, food website and ecosystem dynamics, types of energy, and energy storage and transfer. Since the learning is based in a game like format, the kids want to continue to the next level, which encourages their learning.

The game is simple and easy for kids to follow. Blue Apprentice is recommended for ages 6-12. The game is available both via app format and online. Kids can learn at home from a laptop or on the go with their smart device.
Working with an alien scientist, kids work to outsmart the enemy King Dullard’s minions through science concepts. With a customized character, kids feel invested in the mission’s success. These lessons put aside boring memorization. Instead, kids put their knowledge to use in each mission.

From the table of periodic elements to eco-system balance, science topics lead them through an adventure of discovery. 

As a mom of a fifth and sixth grader, Blue Apprentice has helped to re-enforce their scientific classroom knowledge. From understanding the depth of an eco-system to exploring space, the kids ask to play this educational based game (just like they ask to play the Xbox). Since each mission is an adventure, they want to unlock more content and, in turn, re-enforce the science concepts. 

Blue Apprentice bv Galxyz is available both online and via an ipad app. The first two episodes are free. Additional content can be unlocked and is available via a subscription. Subscriptions are sold monthly, quarterly or annually. 

Science is engaging when kids apply their knowledge in an entertaining way. Get your kids playing with the knowledge with the Blue Apprentice by Galxyz today. 

Disclosure: The writer received a subscription to this app for purposes of this review. All opinions are her own.