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Monday, December 13, 2010

Longaberger does handbags???

Wow!  Did you know that Longaberger now does handbags?  I had no idea.  I thought that Longaberger was exclusively all about baskets.  Boy was I wrong!  And over the next two days, they are on sale.  You can order them on Longaberger's website.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Leapfrog's Leapster Explorer

We were in the store recently and Matthew found the display for the new Leapster Explorer.  We weren't in any hurry that day, so I allowed him to play with the display model for a while to see if he liked it.  Well, he loved it!  He was able to try out Toy Story 3 and Penguins of Madagascar.  Both games are appropriate for his age, and challenge him to learn new things.

Matthew already had a Vtech V.Smile Pocket that we got him 2 years ago and he also had the Vtech Vmotion system that hooks up to the TV.   We made a deal that he had to go through the games that he no longer plays and sell them and his V.Smile Pocket on ebay to earn the money for the new Leapster Explorer.  He was able to earn enough money to buy the system and a new game!  He chose Toy Story 3. 

Leapfrog also offers LeapFrog Connect.  This allows you to hook up the Leapfrog Explorer for added content.  I was able to also download demo versions of The Penguins of Madagascar and Mr. Pencil Saves Doodleburg.  You can also buy Leaplet cards to download more games, ebooks, videos and more.

 Parents can also see their child's progress on the Learning Path.  You can view the results in a few differen ways.  You are able to see the amount of time that the child has played the game, the types of questions they answered, the percentage they answered correctly, and more.

I love being able to see his progress.  And I can utilize this as a way to reinforce and supplement some of the skills he is learning in preschool and at home.  There are characters that he loves and it fosters an interest in learning.  In the past, I have allowed him to play Nintendo DS, but what I have found with him is that it tends to lead to aggressive behavior when he reaches levels that he can not beat.  The Leapster Explorer adapts to your child's level.  So the content will remain challenging and encouraging without becoming impossible.  It also integrates with online content that we can play together in Leap World.  His favorite right now is a game with a scale where you balance the weight of various things or people.  He thinks it's funny to put an Ape, dog and Piano on one side and a bowling ball, mouse, and motorcyle on the other.  But he learning also about weights and measures because he sees the heavier side go down.  There is also a mode where they give you two objects and you choose which is heavier.  Another game involves sorting items for recycling by paper, plasic, or aluminum.  Which is a skill he can use at home in real life too.

Overall, a very good toy.  It's regular retail price is $69.99.  There are plenty of sales and coupons out there as well.  I used two coupons at Target while it was on sale and got it for $39.99 using a Target coupon and a Manufacturer's coupon. There is a $10 coupon on the back of some of the falvored Cheerios boxes right now.

This mom approves this toy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Lower Pricing on the After Thanksgiving Sale!

Over 40 items marked down even lower!

Please note that there are new sku numbers for the reduced items.

Please see flier for updated pricing.

Available through midnight November 30, there are NO LIMITS!

Quantities are limited, while supplies last.

Shop for Christmas gifts now and receive the gift of incredible savings!

Click here for more details: After Thanksgiving Sale Flier

And you can shop direct from my site by entering the item numbers on the flier.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My late night adventure battling aliens

It was 4:00 a.m. when my three year old son crawled into my bed.  He said, "Stay really close to me."  I asked, "Why?"  He replied, "Because I don't want you to leave me in the car again while you go fight the aliens.  I want to fight with you when they come back!"  He then went into detail about the adventure we just had.

Apparently, we were out in the car driving somewhere when aliens attacked us.  I told him, "Stay in the car where it's safe.  I'll go fight the aliens."  Then I went off and tried to fight them.


Since he's a big boy now, he didn't want to be left in the car like a baby.  He wanted to help.  He said, "Mama, do you know where the aliens came from?"   I said, "No"   He replied with the most serious tone, "They come from... outer space."

He advised me that aliens can't break glass, so we are safe if we are behind glass.  I asked him if he had a dream about aliens.  He angrily corrected me.  It was NOT a dream.  It was real, and they will be back.  So I need to be ready to fight them.  And of course, don't forget to stay close.  I said, ok honey, you can fight with me.  Now get some sleep.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How do you get your kids to embrace summer reading?

This summer we have decided to participate in our local library's summer reading program.  The kids get a Treasure Map and get to fill in a circle for every 30 minutes of reading.  After four circles, they get to enter for a prize drawing.  I have found that my son is motivated by just filling in the circles and getting a sticker every time we go to the library to turn in our hours. 

Matthew's favorite books are the I Can Read books and other similar early reading books.   They are simple and include many of his favorite characters.  When we go to the library, I usually let him decide what books he wants to get and he almost always gets a few of the I Can Read books.  This week he is reading about SpiderMan and Scooby Doo.

Here are some of his favorite titles that we read over and over:

We have made it part of his bedtime routine to read books to him since he was an infant.  He doesn't like to go to bed without his storytime.  He will usually sleep with about 5 books every night.  And once he is in bed, he is allowed to look at his books for a while before going to sleep.

I have also started to incorporate other ways of learning to read.  One way is to involve him in things that are important to him.  For instance, he is allergic to eggs.  I have shown him where the ingredients are listed on food labels and began shoing him how to look for the work "egg" on the label.  If he sees the word "egg" then he will know that the food is not safe for him to eat.  I think it gives him a little more power over the situation and hope that it will also start to show him how reading in general can help him gain some power through knowledge.

By taking trips to the library, reading at bedtime, using Hooked on Phonics and providing additional reading toys, such as the Tag Reading System, Vtech Whiz Kid, Leapfrog Leapster, I am hoping to encourage a lifetime love of learning.  He's beginning to recognize words that are inmportant to him, like his own name and his favorite characters.  It's so amazing to watch him learn all these new things.  I am enjoying every second of it!

So I am curious, how do you get your kids to embrace summer reading?

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Friday, July 16, 2010

Leapfrog Customer Care

After a long stretch of bad luck, I finally found good customer care!  Leapfrog went above and beyond to help a rather loyal customer of theirs.  We have plenty of Leapfrog toys in our home.  To fully appreciate what Leapfrog did for us, let me tell you the story of my Leapfrog Didj.

I purchased my son's black Star Wars version of the Didj direct from the Leapfrog website in November 2008. I also got two games - the Star Wars game and the Foster's game. It was pre-loaded with Jet Pack Heroes. It worked fine for several months. I do not remember exactly when, but I do believe it was probably last June 2009 that I hooked it up to the Leapfrog Connect website to check progress, etc. I was required to run an update. After the update, the Didj wouldn't work at all. First, it just wouldn't read cartidges, so I ran it again, thinking perhaps I disconnected too soon or something. After I ran it again, It didn't power back up. I tried changing to new batteries and that didn't work. I tried looking up similar problems to see if there was a fix or something that others experienced. I didn't have time to call customer care about it, so I put it up on a shelf so that my son wouldn't see it (out of sight out of mind - he's three. And yes, he actually does play the games on his own). I somehow managed to also forget where I put it.

I finally just found it last month. I had put it on a shelf completely out of my own view. Now that I had it again, I put fresh batteries in it and hooked it up to the computer to try and see if a brand new update might fix the problem. When it was plugged into the computer, it did power on. I was able to run the update and my son could play Jetpack heroes because it was pre-loaded on to the system, but he couldn't play the cartidge games,  I tried cleaning the cartridge, but that didn't seem to work. I just get the little Didj character scratching his head telling me that he can't read the cartridge.

I happened to post about it on the Facebook fan page and the nice gal that moderates the Facebook page suggested that I call customer care for a replacement.  I was suprised because I felt that it had really been too long to expect anything from Leapfrog.   But I gave it a try.  Basically, they told me that since it was out of the 90 day warranty, I was out of luck.  So, just to keep the Facebook moderator in the loop, I told her what had happened when I contacted customer care.  She then took it into her own hands and I had a new Didj in my hands within a week!

The timing was pretty good because as you may have noticed from a previous post, we are having our living room repaired.  So this "new" toy will hopefully help to keep his mind off of the fact that our house is in complete disarray!  He was pretty excited to get his Star Wars game in there and start playing again.

Matthew was really happy to see his new Star Wars Didj.  Hopefully this one will last a lot longer!  He has already started to download new micromods and spend his rewards.  I only wish I knew how to transfer the things he had earned on the old Didj.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just entered a contest to win a V.Reader

Have you heard about the new V.Reader by Vtech?  It's kinda like a Kindle for kids.  I just entered a giveaway at Flying Giggles and Lollipops.  I am a big fan of Vtech toys. We have several Vtech toys at our house.  I have not had an opportunity to see a V.Reader in person, but I am sure that it will not be a disappointment.  For a review of the product, head over to Michelle's blog and read all about it.  She had the opportunity to test one out and review it for her readers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cake decorating

A while back, I took a few cake decorating classes at Michael's.  It was really great to try something like this.  I am generally not a creative nor crafty person.  So the idea of decorating a cake was a huge stretch for me.  The interest was brought about by my son's egg allergies.  For his birthday, I had to call around to a lot of different bakeries to try to find one that was willing to try to do an egg-free cake for us and decorate it.  It can be a challenge because the egg-free cakes tend to be more crumbly and harder to decorate.  I figured I may need to decorate my own cakes for him.

That first year, I did finally find a bakery that was willing to do this for us at the last possible moment.  Ater that I took the cake decorating classes.  Here are some of the cakes that I made in class.  (Not egg-free)

This is my very FIRST cake that I decorated. I ran out of time to use more colors, but I think it's pretty good for a first try. Let's hope my future attempts are better!

This was my second cake. The arms look a little funny because they sort of fell off of his body on the ride home from class.

This was my third and final cake for Course 1. I was going to wait a few months at least before going on to course #2. It's actually very time consuming to bake and decorate a cake every week.

Since I took this course, Wilton has completely re-invented their cake decorating classes.  From what I could tell, they now go over things in class like leveling and frosting the cake, which is someting that I could use some help with.  I may try to take the class again in the new format.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fisher Price customer service

It is so easy to find complaints on the web. It seems that when we are angry, we like to let the world know about it.

Well, this is not another complaint. I’d like to offer some praise for the wonderful customer service that I received from Fisher Price.

My son got the Go Diego Go Animal Rescue Center for Christmas last year. A few weeks ago, he decided that he wanted to take Diego with him when we went out and about. Well, during the course of our outing, he lost Diego. And what is Diego’s Rescue Center without Diego???

I went to the toy store to see if they sold any Diego figures that would be the right size for his Rescue Center, but they were a bit bigger.

So I decided to call Fisher Price to find out if it was possible to purchase a replacement. Not only were they very kind and friendly, she said that they could send a replacement bag at no charge! And they did.

I got a bag with Diego, plus a couple of the other pieces from the set. I went to their website and found that you can order replacement parts, when available, and this set would have cost $8.00.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect them to continually send out free toys, but I think it is great that they do in some cases.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recipe: Bean Pot Chili Frito Pie

I used my Venetian Home Beanpot and it filled all the way to the top.

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
1) 14 1/2oz. bag of original Fritos
1) 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1) 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
3) 15oz. cans Hormel Chili, 2 with beans, 1 no beans
1) 16oz. package Velveeta, cut in 3/4 – 1″ cubes

In a large pot, add all ingredients, except the Velveeta and Fritos, to the drained, browned ground beef. Stir well and cook over low for about 15 – 20 minutes. Layer 1/4 of the Fritos into the bottom of the beanpot, followed by 1/3 of the chili, then poke in 1/3 of the velveeta cubes, evenly. Repeat this layering 2 more times. Crumble the remaining fritos and scatter over the top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Plumbing woes

About 10 days ago, we had to call a plumber to unclog our bathtub.  We tried to unclog it, but had no luck.  The plumber was here for about 5 minutes and then busted a pipe in the wall!  About 25 gallons of water came down through our living room ceiling and onto the floor.  Their first reaction?  It wasn't their fault!
Are you kidding me?  Their defense was that we had the "wrong" type of pipe in our wall.  Nevermind whether or not he looked to see what type of pipe we had or if he took reasonable care.

This happened one day before my husband was scheduled to take vacation.  The plumber told him to call around and get some quotes for the work.  So, my husband did so and as a result, had to call off of work the day before his vacation.  Since he works third shift, he had been awake for well over 24 hours to deal with this mess.

It took three estimates and two days for the plumber to finally realize that he would have to contact the corporate office and go through his insurance.  I don't know if he thought that 25 gallons of water breaking through the ceiling would be a small job.

After we faxed him the estimates, my husband tried calling him numerous times but the phone rang busy all morning.  When I had my lunch break at work, I called from my cell phone and got right through.  I didn't mince words with the guy.  I simply asked him what progress had been made and asked for the number of the corporate office and his insurance company.  He again tried to tell me that it wasn't really their fault because we had the wrong kind of pipe in our wall.  I told him that I don't really care what kind of pipe we had.  Other plumbers never seemed to have a problem with the pipe and I want my house fixed.  Even my three year old is upset about it.

Finally after 5 days, we were able to get a water remediation specialist in our house to bust up the ceiling and get the mold cleaned up and water dried out.  This was also my husband's birthday.

Now we are on day 10 and we are still living with a big hole in our ceiling and no real answers on when we can get a contractor in to rebuild our ceiling.  My husband's one week vacation is over.  Scheduling contractors will be a bit tricky now since he needs to sleep during the day and I do not get any vacation time at work.  If I take a day off, I do not get paid.

I am a bit angry about this and I do wonder if they would also owe us for lost vacation and/or lost wages.

Hopefully we will get some news today and it will be good news.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Twillight Saga... or Port Charles

I have many friends, whom I love dearly, that are huge fans of the Twillight Saga.  With so much excitement over the latest installment that starts playing in theatres tomorrow, I figured I'd see what all the fuss is about.  So, I finally watched the first two Twillight movies.  Sorry to say, I was not at all impressed.

The first problem was the supposed deep love between Edward and Bella.  When did this happen?  They had very few words and a few relatively meaningless encounters.  They didn't give the viewer anything of substance in order to establigh this undying love.  It was kind of like falling in love with a guy who works the drive in window at McDonald's.

But let's pretend that we do have enough of a plotline to establish that these two are in love.  What about the one dimensional characters?  I am not sure if it was the actors, directors, or the way it was writtien, but there was no passion to these characters.  The words and emotion did not match.  They proclaimed their love with as much feeling as you might say, "Would you like fries with that?"

Another thing that did not escape me is the similarities between these first two movies and the now defunct soap opera "Port Charles".  To give a basic rundown of the vampire story of both....

A young innocent girl comes to town to live with her father.  She meets a nice young man whom she is friends with and he is in love with her.  She meets a vampire and is drawn in to his mysterious demeanor.  They fall in love madly and deeply.  She turns away from all her friends and wants to be turned into a vampire.  He wants her to marry him.  Her best guy friend who also is in love with her, tries his best to make her see that the vampire is no good for her.  She doesn't listen. 

Did anyone else notice the similarity?  Sure, there are a lot more elements involved in the Port Charles storyline.  And Michael Easton and Kelly Monaco put a TON of passion into those characters. 

I did not read the books at all, so I can't comment on that. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toy Story 3 - Falling with Style (product review)

My son just got the Toy Story 3 Hot Wheels Falling With Style track.  The concept is absolutely great.  The idea is that this is just like the scene in the first movie (which is replayed in the third one) where Buzz Lightyear is trying to prove that he really can fly and winds up "flying" through Andy's room on the "loopy loop" (as my son calls it).
Here's the problem, the car itself is not balanced correctly, especially with Buzz Lightyear attached to the car, to successfully make it through the loop.  My son has a lot of other Hot Wheel cars, so we tried a few other cars and a lot of those ones did work.  I also had to take a few similar pieces from his old "loopy loop" to make this one work better.  The tabs they include to attach the tracks together is a lot flimsier than the ones we got in the Toys R Us Fast Lane brand double loop.
I think that if you already have other tracks that can work with this, it would be great.  I need to try a few more height options and see if it works better, but so far, the suggested 30 inches did not work too well with just the items in the box.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

VTech's new MobiGo

I have been reading a lot of reviews on the Vtech MobiGo which is slated to be released in August.  (It's already available at Toys R Us).  It seems like a pretty neat toy.  My son saw some of the demo videos online and we looked at the list of game titles that will be available.  He has informed me that he wants the Superhero Squad game for his birthday.  I thought it was even more cute to find out that he wants it because his daddy (a police officer) works with Spiderman to fight the bad guys. We went to Toys R Us last weekend and saw the demo version in the store.  I'd like to get it for him, but we do already have the VMotion and the VSmile Pocket.  He really enjoys those games and they are not compatible with the new system.  It will be a tough decision to invest the money on a new game system.  He does already also have a Nintendo DS, but I'd rather have him put that aside for a little while and play more age-appropriate games.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Survival of Scripted Television

I may be in the minority, but I am not a fan of Reality Shows.  I am not into The Bachelor, American Idol, Big Brother, or any of the other shows that have been taking over Prime Time TV.  I would rather watch a scripted show that tells a great story, gives a good laugh, or evokes a few tears.

Over the last few years, I have seen many shows with great potential get cancelled before anyone even knew they were on TV.  For instance, did you see the new show on ABC called Romantically Challenged that starred Alyssa Milano?  If you blinked you might have missed it.  It premiered in April and was cancelled in May.  Four episodes aired.  Yes, just four episodes.  I think it had great potential, but we will never know.  I follow Alyssa Milano on Twitter and that's why I knew the show was on.  It's also how I found out it was cancelled.  Would you believe she heard of the cancellation through a TV Guide tweet?  WOW!  Perhaps ABC wanted to give us more Dancing With the (Fake) Stars (like Kate Gosselin).

Speaking of Kate Gosselin, why in the world do we keep paying attention to her?  Eh, I'm not even going to go there.

With the number of shows that were cancelled without a true ending over the last few years, I think I may want to just give up on new shows.  For instance, what ever happened to Tru Calling, The 4400, The Dead Zone, Moonlight,  The Ex List (another 4 episode run), Samantha Who?, and I am sure there are plenty that I can't even think of at the moment.

Why should I get invested in a new show, just to have the networks pull the plug too soon?

Glad to see some of my favorites return like Castle, Chuck, Bones, Supernatural Smallville, Big Bang Theory, Burn Notice...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Barefoot books website

You probably didn't know this, but I have a Barefoot Books website.  I signed up for it a few years ago, but have never sold a thing.  It's a darn good thing that it's free!  But I do love books! 

When I was about 4 years old, I was the youngest kid on the block.  All the "big" kids were in school all day every day.  But I didn't want to be the "baby".  In the apartment downstairs, there were two little girls who just finished first grade!  I remember their names were Tammy and Brenda.  They went to a private school so they were allowed to keep their books at the end of the year.  When they finished first grade, they gave me some of their reading books.  I remember paying very close attention to the segments on Sesame Street, The Letter People, and The Electric Company where the taught pronunciation.  I would then go haul myself into the bedroom and practice reading.  Finally one day, I came out of the room and told my mom I wanted to show her something.  Then I read her a complete story out of the book.  She was actually suprised and takes no credit for teaching me to read.

I started Kindergarten in 1979.   Back in the old days, kids didn't have to know much before entering Kindergarten.  So it was unusual for a kid to know how to read.  I remember they sent me to the first grade class at the beginning of the year and had me read to them.  Thinking back, I can't imagine why they had me do that.  It seems kind of strange now.  But I still remember standing at the front of the room and reading to these first graders who seemed so incredibly big and scary.  But I sucked it up and read my book.

I guess that's where my love of books began.  My favorite book was a book called Frisker.  Which was first published in 1956.  My mom has a cassette tape of me reading that book.  I hope to record my son reading his first book too.  I know that my mom and I both enjoyed listening to it when I got older.

When I was pregnant with my son, one of the first things that I wanted to do was start his book collection.  I knew right away that I wanted to try to pass along that same love of reading on to him.  And so far, it's working.  He's three years old and not yet reading, but he does enjoy his story time at night.  He usually sleeps with the books we read before bed.

I started my Barefoot books website shortly after my son was born.  They have some really great books.  It might be worth taking a peek at the website.  See if there is anything that might interest you or your child.

Click on the image below for a fun music video!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Q&A with Brandon Barash (Johnny Zacchara on General Hospital)

The following never-before-seen interview with Brandon Barash of General Hospital, the actor who plays Johnny Zacchara interview was shared today with us (General Hospital Brand Ambassadors).  

Q: What would you do if you could turn back time?
A: I would meet Benjamin Franklin.

Q: What do you do in your down time?
A: I like playing music, standing on my head, walking around in nature -- and if I’m really feeling ambitious, I’ll do all three at the same time.

Q: What is the best way to prepare for a love scene?
A: The best way to prepare for a love scene is by spending lots of hours at the gym.

Q: What is your favorite sport?
A: Basketball – college or NBA.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t an actor?
A: If I could not act I would NOT be one of those people who give you tickets for expired parking meter. I would be a surgeon or a police office in Alaska. Only in Alaska.

Q: Describe your perfect date.
A: My perfect date is being with a girl I can talk to.

Q: What is one of your favorite things to do?
A: When it is just me and my dad my favorite thing is to sit outside, drink a scotch and talk about nothing.

Q: What do you do for Thanksgiving?
A: I spend Thanksgiving with both sides of my large extended family.

Q: describe your most memorable moment on GH.
A: When Jonny was shot 5 times and survived it, recovered and went to a wedding the next day.

Q: What was the most memorable moment of pop culture in 2009?
A: Clearly it was when we lost the late and great MJ.

(I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other General Hospital branded items to facilitate my review.)

I am a General Hospital Amabassador

Recently, I became a General Hospital Ambassador.  It's a program where a bunch of moms get to help promote General Hospital.  I have been watching General Hospital since roughly 1990.  I have seen many beloved characters and actors come and go over the years.  I even followed a few of them over to the short lives spin-off  "Port Charles".  (I'll have to blog about that another time).  I am thankful to have the opportunity to help promote a great show and one of my favorite genres.  Let's save our soaps!

Stay tuned and check out my blogs.  I may have some insider info for you in the near future!

(I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other General Hospital branded items to facilitate my review.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New job starting next week

I am starting a new job next week.  I have so many mixed feelings about it.  The good news is that I will get a paycheck.  :-)     The job is temporary to start.  So after the initial "getting to know you" phase, then we will see if we like each other well enough to commit to the relationship.

Today, I took a drive to see how long it will take me to get there.  It took me about 35 minites to get there going the "least use of freeways" route.  On the way home, I took the "fastest" route which saved me about 5 minutes, not that big of a deal.

The down sides are that I will have to pay $75 a month for parking, a longer commute, and later hours before I will get home.  I am probably looking at getting home about 6:45pm.  Those are the things that are kind of bothering me.

I really don't know a whole lot about the job.  So it's possible that I could love the job and the people.  If I am hired on as permanent, then the benefits are pretty good from what I understand.

I am very nervous about this, especially since I am not really sure what I want to do. 

I will still persue my Real Estate career and really hope that takes off for me.  I'd like the flexibility of the job.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bean Pot Taco Soup

Because it's one of my newer stoneware pieces,  I search the web frequently for Bean Pot recipes.  I have been trying a variety of recipes and so far all of them have been greaat.

If you have a hard time cooking meat until is is tender and juicy, you might want to try cooking in a bean pot.

Here's a recipe that I just found and would like to try next.

Bean Pot Taco Soup

1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
1 Can of Corn
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Can of Pinto Beans
1 packet of Ranch Dressing Mix
1 packet of Taco Seasoning

Mix together in beanpot. Microwave for 25 min or until hot – stirring occasionally. Top with sour cream & cheese before serving then add corn chips!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Should a toddler be allowed to play with a Nintendo DS?

When my son was just under two years old, I was playing Super Mario Brothers on MY Nintendo DS.  It was never intended for him.  After watching me play the game once, he wanted to give it a try.  I figured that he would get bored with it pretty quickly, so I let him have a try.  My to my amazement, he played the game well from the very start!  I thought it was amusing and amazing!!  So that Christmas, I got him the Leapster.  I figured that it would be a good alternative for him.  Well, the downside is that because he was only two years old, he doesn't know Math or how to read, which is somewhat required for all Leapster games.  Drat!  The Nintendo DS is so much easier because there are plenty of E rated games that do not require reading.  So after my husband got me a new DS for Christmas, I decided to give my old one to our son.

Well, it has snowballed since then.  He is still only three years old now, but he can play Nintendo DS games like a champ.  He plays much better than I do.  (No, I am not jealous.)  But sometimes I wonder if this can be a bad thing.  It certainly has it's ups and downs.

I have noticed that with certain games he can become a bit more aggressive, so I do try to steer clear of those games.  I have tried to steer him toward the Leapster games, but that attempt has failed most of the times.  Sure, he plays his Leapster sometimes, but not as much as that Nintendo DS.  It's good for long car rides and getting him to sit still in a restaurant for longer than five minutes.

I don't allow him to take it to social gatherings, such as a family get-together for the holidays.  But that really doesn't help when most of the bigger kids have brought their DS with them.  I feel like a family gathering is for socializing with people, not for burying your head in a video game, which is what he would do.  But when he sees the other kids with their game systems, the only thing he wants to do is have a turn with it.  And when that kid doesn't want to share their DS (which is totally their call), then all heck breaks loose.  My three year old is being taught to share and now this older kid is not sharing.  Oy-vey!  Now what?

I am not about to give in and let him bring his DS with him.  There is just too much that can go wrong in that scenario.  And I am trying to get him interested in other things so that he doesn't become a video game junkie. 

But I do have to admit that sometimes it is nice to have a long stretch of time to do laundry or something while he's playing a round of Kirby.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I entered a contest to win a copy of the "Your Baby Can Read" Program

I just entered a contest at J. leigh designz for a Your Baby Can Read Starter Kit.  It looks like it is primarily marketed for babies, although their ads claim  that it can be used for kids up to age 5.  Since my son is three years old, I don't really want to spend a ton of money on this if it really is not meant for his age range.  We have been working on learning our letter names this week.  He seems to be able to catch on to what we are doing, but after today's review, I am not sure how much it is sticking.  This week we learned letters A thru D.  Today, when played games to review the four letters we have done so far, he seemed to be guessing.  He also used to know the alphabet song pretty well, but he seems to have forgotten the end of it now.  It would be interesting to see how this program would add to what we have been doing.


My Review of Poingo Story Reader 2 Pack Set: Toy Story and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Originally submitted at Toys R Us

Venture into the story with Poingo! Move Poingo around the page to interact and play with two Disney favorites, Mickey Mouse and Toy Story. Connect Poingo to your PC or Mac to receive bonus content, free music and more!

This shows improvements!
By Mattsmum from Parma, OH on 1/1/2010
4out of 5
Pros: Page-Turner, Well Written, Engaging characters, Easy To Read, Informative
Best Uses: Younger Readers
Describe Yourself: Everyday Reader
My son got the Mickey Mouse book for Christmas this year. This book is a wonderful improvement over the books that came with the Poingo Pen. In the other books, no matter where you touch in the story section, it would begin from the beginning. This makes it hard to follow along, or even pause between paragraphs to discuss the pictures or anything. In this new version, you can touch the pen at the beginning of any paragraph on the page. So at least you can plan to pick up close to where you may have left off if your child goes astray. The additional activites are fun too. My son loved doing the Hot Dog Dance along with the book. Yes, it had the actual song and broke it down to teah how each character does the dance. My son three year old had a blast with that part. I hope to see mre improvements to this system.