Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown 2019 a Fun and Free Event

Every year the Children’s Book Festival is held at the Bottleworks in the Cambria City section of Johnstown. The area itself has become a cultural district featuring the Discovery Center, Ethnic festivals, and more. The Bottleworks itself displays art from local artists and offers many classes. The first weekend of April draws families from all over the area for the Children’s Book Festival.

This free event centers around children’s books with authors, illustrators, and local businesses and educational resources pregnant. In fact, I credit the Children’s book festival for helping us discover my son’s lazy eye. The blind association was there the one year and was offering free vision screenings. I took advantage of this with my kids. They had these cool, 3D goggle looking things that tracked the eyes and they noticed my son’s one eye was off. They suggested we take the info to an ophthalmologist. We did and found that my son has very low vision in his one eye due to a lazy eye! I got off track there but there are so many great services present to learn about.

There are craft tables galore for the kids to do for free. The volunteers are all so pleasant and helpful. The first station we stopped at this year, the kids got to make vests out of paper bags.

They have a number of special events available at different times throughout the weekend. Joe Wos, a professional illustrator and maze maker, offered an illustration workshop for kids in grades 3rd to 6th grade. An awesome opportunity for kids to learn some tips and trick from a real illustrator.

Camtran, the local public transit system, has been present the last few years. The kids have an opportunity to board the bus, talk to the bus driver, explore the bus a little. This year they also offered story time on the bus.

The Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown has a book sale with new books but they also have a used book sale. My kids each picked a book from the used book sale and they were only 50 cents each! Another awesome thing they do for the kids is, every kid that attends get a FREE brand new book. They have a table set up with all kinds of titles for babies up to middle school age. So no kids walks away without a book they got to choose. I think this is awesome that they do that.

It’s fun to interact with the businesses, authors, and illustrators. We enjoy seeing Julie from Macaroni kids for the Johnstown/Altoona/Laurel Highlands area. Always there with a smile and macaroni necklaces for the kids to make. They really enjoy this craft!

There’s so much to do at the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown, we usually don’t get to do it all. They have food truck available outside, face painting, and more. This event really renews my kids’ interest in reading. It’s a great way for kids to meet the people that actually write some of their book. It’s a great way to learn about local resource for kids.

Huge thanks to all involved in this festival. It is definitely something my kids look forward to each year. Because it’s a free event and every kids walks away with a free book, it’s help bring people from all walks of life together to share in the joy of reading!

Winter Car Care To Keep You Safe

*This post is sponsored by Reedman-Toll Fiat in Langhorne, PA*

I’m sooo over winter at this point.  When I left for work this morning it was 1 degree, seriously 1.  We already have a few inches of snow hanging around and the news stations can’t make up their mind about what we’re getting tonight.  I heard 2-4 inches of snow and ice.  My husband told me we’re supposed to get up to 6 inches.  Oh well, what can we do, can’t stop it, just prepare for it.  I was driving last night to pick my boys up from their dads house and decided to snap a pic with my phone.  Don’t worry I was at a stop light, I don’t do that when I’m driving.

winter driving 2014

Blech, the lines are gone, there was ice under that snow, and some people choose to go way too fast for conditions in my opinion. Not me though, I was driving about 15-20 mph at points last night.  When temperatures are like this though you want to make sure you take care of your cars needs.  The last thing you want is for your car to break down when the weather is like this.  It’s one of my worst winter fears, to break down in weather like this with my little ones in the car.  So here are my winter care care tips.

–If you have a newer car make sure you’re going for your routine service check ups for your car.  New cars will often have so many you have to do in a time frame anyway to keep your warranty.  Even if you have a used car like mine it’s a good idea to have your vehicle checked before the bad weather starts.

–Don’t ignore the check engine light.  I know that light is scary.  It about gives me a heard attack every time I see it.  Places like Autozone can use a code reader to tell you whats wrong with your car for free. Your local mechanic or a dealership like can do them to but they may charge a small fee.  This actually just happened to me last week.  My check engine light came on for the first time in 5 years that I owned the car.  My car didn’t seem like it had as much power and seemed to be making a funny sound.  I, of course, thought the worst but my husband took it to get the code read.  It ended up just being the antifreeze sensor which was a $15 part and my father in law put it in for free.  Now my car is running fine.  It’s amazing what a small part can do to your car.

–Make sure all your fluids are filled.  Anti-freeze is of course important but don’t forget about your windshield washer fluid.  I use mine constantly in this weather with the salt on the roads.  Be sure to check your oil.  When the temps get really low, like below 15 make sure you have at least a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle because it’s possible for the fuel to freeze at those temps.

–Starting your car about 10 minutes ahead of time before you leave when the temps are low.  Not only will it get the car warm for you and start melting any ice on the windshields but it’s good for your car too.  Cold starts can use more power from the battery.

–Have your battery power level checked.  In the cold weather the battery can drain a little faster.  Again a lot of the chain auto parts  stores or your dealership can check this for you.

–Washing your car when possible including the undercarriage.  Salt or ash on the road is necessary to make driving safe for everyone one but it can do some damage to the cars exterior if it’s allowed to sit on their all winter.  When it’s really cold a lot of car washes will close but when the they’re open its a good idea to take your through and make sure to include the undercarriage wash to rinse off all that salt so it doesn’t eat at the metal on your car.

That’s all my tips for now.  If you have any winter car care tips, feel free to share them in the comments!

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Winter Driving Tips from a PA Mom

**This post was sponsored by Caitlin Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Jenkintown, PA**

Living in Pennsylvania we see everything from 98 degrees and sun in the summer to -15 with wind chills of -30 and feet of snow.  This past week has been pretty nasty for us here in south western, PA.  Sunday night the roads were iced then we got several inches of snow, cold temps and some sleet on tip.  It was a mess.  My normal 20 minutes drive to work took 40 minutes.  Wednesday had ice everywhere and drove past the scene of an accident where a truck had flipped on it’s roof.   Which brings me to the point of this post, winter driving tips.

thermometer cold

People that aren’t around snow and ice as often and surprisingly even people around here have a misconception that if they have 4 wheel drive or an SUV they won’t have too much trouble getting around.  That might be true when it’s just snow but when it comes to ice, any vehicle can lose control.

Prepping for the drive

Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.  You’ll need to drive slower.  If it’s bad like it was here on Wednesday there’s a chance you’ll run into delays like car accidents or fallen branches on the road.  If you give yourself extra time you don’t feel rushed and you’re not tempted to hurry or be impatient.

Have your cell phone handy and charged or keep a car charger adapter in your vehicle.  Some have service subscriptions like on-star that are great too.  This way if you do get into an accident or your vehicle is stuck you can get help.  I’ve also had to use my to call my work and let them know I was running a few minutes late.

Stock your car emergency kit before the weather starts

When the bad weather season is approaching make sure you have some things in your car to  help you with icy weather.  Keeping a small bag of kitty litter in your vehicle in the winter can help you if you’re vehicle gets stuck on ice.  Ironically this just happened to me on Wednesday in in my all wheel drive suv.  Pour some kitty litter around the front and back of the tire(s) that are stuck. then try advancing your vehicle.  If it still doesn’t work, try “rocking” your vehicle by attempting to back up then pull forward.  You might only move a little bit at a time but that’s ok.

Things like road flares, emergency signs, or flashers can alert other drivers that you might need some help and also makes drivers aware to slow down.

Make sure your spare tire is in good shape and you have a tire iron or some tool available if you would need to change your tire in an unlikely spot.  Keeping a flashlight, especially a hand crank or shake flashlight that will last longer will help if this happens at night. Also could be used to help signal for help if needed.

Keeping vehicle emergency phone numbers handy like your insurance company, a tow service, or an automobile service like AAA will ensure you can get help faster when stranded in the cold weather.

I personally keep a first aid kit in my car.  With 4 small children I’d rather be over prepared then under.  I have a family travel kit that that has things like bandaids, burn ointment, gauze, and scissors in it among a number of other items.

Family first aid kit


For parents, having activities in the car like books, travel games, etc is a good idea anyway but if something would happen you’re vehicle was stuck and you had to wait for a tow, these things could be a sanity saver to keep your kids entertained and calm until help arrives.

Have your vehicle checked before the start of the season

Ensuring your have enough anti-freeze, windshield washer fluid, oil, etc in  your car will keep your car running smoothly.  I’d never want to run out of windshield washer fluid with the salt and splash I get on my car.  Checking your battery is always a good idea too.  Do you need new tires? Check your treads. Also having the appropriate tires help too.  Whether you use all season, winter tires, or studs, make sure they’re in place before the weather gets too bad.

For negative temps

Give yourself time to warm your vehicle up,  not only for you and anyone riding with you but for your vehicle too.  When you start your vehicle you can also clean off the roof, windows and hood to make sure you have full view when driving.   This is where making sure your have a good battery is really going to pay off.  When it’s extremely cold you can even start your car and leave it run for about 10-15 minutes to make sure the battery doesn’t freeze.

Last but not least, is your car going to  make it through the cold weather

Believe me I know cars are not cheap.  I keep a vehicle that’s been good to me as long as possible.  But if you’re car has been nickel and diming you, shutting down on you, etc. in the good weather, it’s gonna be worse in the winter.  When you’re vehicle is misbehaving give yourself time to shop. For example, check out:  and go through and see, if you were buying a vehicle right now, what is your budget?  What is available on the market now?  Compare gas mileage, features, and vehicles.  When I bought my vehicle I shopped around for months trying to find the best fit for my family of 6 AND fit in our budget.  I also knew I wanted something that would be dependable in the winter, comfortable for my family, and wasn’t going to break the bank to fill up the gas tank.


What are your winter driving tips?


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My first article is published. Won’t you stop by and show me some love?

In my almost daily scouting for my blog I came across a posting looking for a spa/beauty writer for my local town. Write for the I though with my inside info as a blogger on new products and reviews that I might have a chance. What a fun column to have as well. So, I took a chance and submitted an application. Guess who the new Spa/Beauty Examiner is for my local area? Yep, me.  I’m a little nervous.  I know it sounds crazy since I faithfully keep up my blog.  I guess it’s because I’m diving into a new sea of readers.  Don’t worry tough this blog is my baby.  This is my priority. 

I just had my first article accepted and published for my column.  I’d love it if you’d stop by, check it out, leave me a comment if you feel so inclined.  It may help me get over my jitters.  I want to hear your honest opinions too.  I’m not just saying that.

So, here’s my column:

Thanks in advance for helping me get my feet wet in this new area for me. 

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WITNESS THE THUNDER! State College, PA will ROAR and RUMBLE with the nation’s most competitive MONSTER TRUCKS and FMX Stunt Riders as they storm into the Bryce Jordan Center on April 1st and 2nd. See these incredible, high jumping, ground pounding, car crushing, axle wrenching giants race in side-by-side drags, wheelie shootouts, and then go completely bananas with amazing freestyle action during this Monster Truck Thrill Show! Plus, you can meet the drivers and see the trucks up close at the pre-event Autograph Pit Party on the arena floor.

Over 70,000 pounds of Monster Truck Thunder!
* E3 Spark Plugs BIGFOOT…The Original Monster Truck
* STAR MARSHAL…This New Truck Is A Good Truck With A Bad Attitude
* CHALKBOARD CHUCK…The Truck That Wants Your Autograph – Come Write On This One-Of-A-Kind Monster Truck
* Lucas Oil STABILIZER…Truck Is Stable, But Seriously Unpredictable
* IRONMAN…A Tribute To The Men & Women Of The Armed Forces
* PureFlow AIRDOG Diesel RX…1st Competitive Smokin’ Diesel Monster Truck (ON DISPLAY ONLY)
* CRUSHSTATION…The Monstah-Lobstah – It looks like a Lobster

Friday, April 1st, 2011 – 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 2nd 2011 – 7:30 pm

Get $3 off with link and promo code below:


My boys will be going to this. They don’t know it yet. It’s going to be a surprise. Their father is going to take them for a boys night out. This is going to be such a fun night out for something different to do. There are other locations as well so if this venue doesn’t suit you, see if there’s one closer to you.

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