Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium: A Great Educational Experience #WyndhamWeekends

Disclosure: I received a free ticket to the Cleveland Aquarium through the travel campaign with New Creative Media.   All opinions expressed are 100% my own and my family’s. Any additional expenses incurred were my own.  

The Cleveland Aquarium


The Greater Cleveland Aquarium, located in the FirstEnergy Powerhouse building in The Flats district of Cleveland, is a place that is dedicated to helping to conserve fish and all aquatic life. Not only do they educate the community, but they also work to keep area beaches clean. You can help out by checking The Greater Cleveland Aquarium site for clean up times!

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is divided into different areas of the world. You can see marine life from Ohio's lakes and rivers, the tropical reef, the Indo-Pacific, the Northern Pacific, and lakes and rivers all around the world.

The Rivers Gallery focuses on fish from Ohio. The area is so cool because they've got sounds of the river pumped in and scents of the rivers surround you. Some of the fish in this area are bass and catfish. This area at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium also includes an interactive exhibit where kids can do their own research using materials provided to them.

In the Lakes and Rivers of the World area, you can pet giant tortoises that were rescued from people who had once purchased them as pets and surrendered them to Noah's Lost Ark. Now these beautiful guys live at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

If you follow my blog, you know how much I love to read! I homeschooled my kids, so a lot of the books I read to them were ones we could use as a learning tool. One of those books was Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha. It is a great book about these glowing moon jelly fish. You can see some moonjellies up close and personal at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

The Indo-Pacific region at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium contains marine life from places like Hawaii and Fiji. Here is where you will see the lionfish.  Did you know that lionfish only use their venom for defense? They often use their feathery pectoral fins to herd smaller fish making them easier to swallow!

The next exhibit you'll encounter at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is the Northern Pacific. Here you'll see an octopus, sea cucumbers, starfish, and more! Don't eat the cucumbers, please :)

We found Nemo in the Coastal exhibit at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium! Here you can touch the rays, 2 fingers only please, in the 11,000 gallon pool.

In the Tropical Reef area of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, you will find beautiful butterfly fish! I think they are one of my favorite fish to look at. The area is filled with brightly colored tropical fish of the world.

I think the coolest part of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is the Shark Sea Tube. It is so cool how the sharks swim right over you! There are 4 different species of sharks and more sea life in this 230,000 gallon tube. There is a huge Goliath grouper in the sea tube that is really only a teenager! He can get up to 8 feet long and can weigh up to 800 lbs.! That is bigger than most of the sharks in the tube. Now that's what I call a "river" monster! The moray eel is pretty creepy looking, isn't he? It reminds me of the eels in The Little Mermaid!

You can purchase tickets online or in person at the ticket counter. The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is open 7 days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM. It is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

General Admission Pricing:
  • Adults (13+): $19.95
  • Children (2-12): $13.95
  • Seniors (60+): $17.95
  • Children under the age of 2 and guests aged 100+ are admitted free of charge

$50 Amazon or PayPal Giveaway Son of War Daughter of Chaos Book Blast WW Ends 8/17

Son of War

Son of War, Daughter of Chaos 

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for the signs: people with greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and have the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.  

Sounds like a really good one! My daughter has read books by Janette before and loves them! This sounds like another winner! 

Son of War Daughter of Chaos Blog Tour
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Janette RallisonAbout Author Janette Rallison 

Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

  book blast button        

About the Giveaway 

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 8/17/14
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash.

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 21, 2014

Win a Christmas Book up to $15: Christmas in July Giveaway Hop WW Ends 7/31

“Christmas in July” Giveaway Hop

July 22nd to 31st

Ho, ho, ho! There are only 5 months til Christmas! I don't know about you, but one of my very favorite things about the Christmas season is reading Christmas books! I have so many, and I never get through them all each year. I have my favorites that I have to read in order to feel like it's Christmas. Then there are always new ones I find, and I try to fit at least a few in that I've not read previously. 

So here we are in the middle of summer trying to get you into the Christmas spirit with this "Christmas in July" giveaway hop! My giveaway is for any Christmas book from The Book Depository as long as it ships to your country and is $15 or less. You can pick a child's book, YA book, romance, nonfiction....whatever your heart desires! 

Here are some suggestions, but you can certainly pick your own! I want to know what your favorites are as well! 

Christmas at Harrington's
Sometimes the best gift is a second chance. Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret?

The Christmas DogBetty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations? Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about. This contemporary Christmas story is a timely yet gentle reminder that God can work miracles through something as seemingly insignificant as a little brown dog.

A Fool's Gold Christmas A classic heartwarming tale for the holidays from "New York Times" bestselling author Susan Mallery. The cheer in Fool's Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. An injury has forced her to return home to her estranged family. So she won't add to the awkward scenario by falling for the charms of her brother's best friend, no matter how tempting he is. When she's recruited to stage the winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move on, anywhere but here. Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the town he now calls home, but the pounding of little dancers' feet above his office is more than he can take. When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he's unprepared for their searing attraction. Evie is his best friend's sister--off-limits unless he's willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is dangerous, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen....

Silver Bells: A Holiday TaleThe enchantment of the holidays meets the pure storytelling genius of New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice, as she presents readers with a special gift for the season and a Christmas classic in the making...On a quaint, snowy Chelsea street, librarian Catherine Tierney and a widowed Christmas tree seller from Nova Scotia will rediscover the magic of the season where they least expect it: in a chance encounter that leads to a holiday surprise of love and hope powerful enough to last a lifetime.

Mrs. Miracle Seth Webster's heart never healed after he lost his adored wife. Now, with Christmas approaching, wild twin boys to raise alone, a home in chaos, and the latest in a long line of exasperated housekeepers quitting in disgust, Seth needs more than help to keep his family together...he needs a miracle.And then a miracle arrives on his doorstep. Her name is Mrs. Merkle, but the kids call her "Mrs. Miracle"--and from the moment the warm, knowing, and very patient nanny appears, everything is different. Her sassy spirit is infectious, and it gives Seth the courage to approach Reba, a beautiful travel agent who's been hurt and betrayed, and is afraid to ever love again. Through the magic of faith--and with a little help from a children's Christmas pageant and a lot of encouragement from Mrs. Miracle--Seth and Reba might just be able to find a Christmas miracle of their very own: true love.

Lakeshore Christmas Maureen Davenport finally gets to direct Avalon's annual holiday pageant, and she's determined to make it truly spectacular. But former child star Eddie Haven is turning out to be a tattooed lump of coal in her stocking. Eddie can't stand Christmas, but a judge's court order has landed him right in the middle of the merrymaking. He and Maureen spar over every detail of the pagent, from casting troubled kids to Eddie's original--and distinctly "un"traditional--music. Is he sabotaging the performance to spite her, or is she foricng the show into her storybook-perfect notion of Christmas? And is it possible that they're falling in love?

So, you get the picture! I LOVE Christmas! And I love reading :) I could go on and on with this list!! Enter to win your favorite. 

About the Giveaway

Open WW 18+
Ends 7/31
The Book Depository MUST ship to your country! Please check prior to entering.  
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email sent by me or another winner will be chosen!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win lots more on these blogs!!  

Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square: Great Location #WyndhamWeekends #WyndhamCLE

Disclosure:I received a media rate while staying at the Wyndham WEC through the travel campaign with New Creative Media.   All opinions expressed are 100% my own and my family’s. My opinions and experience may differ from yours. Any additional expenses incurred were my own.  Let's talk term "media rate" this is an industry term which could mean anything from complimentary to a discounted amount.

The Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square

A multimillion dollar renovation and a glittering location make the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square an excellent place to stay while visiting Cleveland, Ohio. The view from my room was nice, and I could see Lake Erie in the distance. Playhouse Square looks amazing lit up at night and the new chandelier is beautiful. I will have to come back for a show some night.

With the renovation of the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square came new beds and bedding in each room. The beds are comfortable. The flat screen televisions are nice with good reception. We also received a free movie viewing while we were there. We chose to watch The Amazing Spiderman 2. It was nice to get to choose newer movies for viewing. The cost of the movies varies, and there is a large selection from which to choose. The hotel catering staff provided 3 bags of popcorn and some candy and bottled water for our movie time. The popcorn came from Campbell's Sweets and was so good.

The room amenities include basic internet access. Faster connection costs $9.95 a day. Each room is equipped with Wyndham Smart Chair with outlets built in for cell phone or laptop charging. The rooms have toiletries from Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa line. Rooms are also equipped with an iron, ironing board and hair dryer.

Some of the hotel amenities at the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square are a heated indoor pool and spa, a fitness center, and valet parking. Valet parking is $20 a night and is worth it since parking can be stressful.

The water temperature in the indoor pool was great. The spa temperature was a nice 104 degrees. The pool room temperature was very warm which we appreciated after exiting the spa.  It's nice that it has a play area for children.

Part of my stay included a VIP Blogger reception on the third floor terrace. The servers there were very nice and the food was tasty. We had tri-colored tortilla chips with mango salsa, jerk chicken, white pizza, Hawaiian pizza, and cute non-alcoholic drinks.

Dining options at the hotel include the Encore Restaurant and Blue Bar. They have a breakfast buffet that has eggs and omelets made to order. They have mini waffles you can have made too. They've got great fruit and bread options. For dinner, my son and I got steak and my daughter got chicken. I'd like to give an extra thanks to our server Brianna who was very sweet and prompt in service.

 If you are traveling to Cleveland, the Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square is in a great central location where you can walk around, explore the city, shop, see the sites, and settle in for a comfortable night's sleep.