Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shrek Forever After ~ Good Family Fun

Wow. Where have I been?

We took the kids to see Shrek Forever After 3D last night. Friday is always pizza and movie night but we decided to celebrate Daddy's new job with a "New Release" at the theater. It was Puddin Pop's first time watching in the theater. The movie was good. Fiona Rocked her Warrior side, Shrek and Donkey were their usual selves and Puss'n Boots was caught without his protective clothing, all soft and chubby. The story line taught a clear message which is always good. I was most in awe of the 3D. Even the previews were in 3D and I'm not sure what rock I've been hiding under. 3D Rocks. We watched Coraline in 3D, at home, it just wasn't the same.

Last week we received this gift pack from Activision and MomCentral.


I love Shrek. A storybook, Mad Libs and the new Shrek Forever After game for the Wii. Puddin Pop claimed the book, which is delightfully illustrated, Handsome snagged the Mad Libs, which were one of my favorites as a kid, and we grabbed the Wii controllers to sit and play the game. Rated Everyone 10+ (for the fight scenes) we felt comfortable allowing both kids (4 and 6) to play the game with an adult...just in case.

We had been playing the game all week. There are battles with witches and pumpkins but it's mild violence and nothing graphic. I know some people would be bothered by this for young kids but I'm of the belief that if we play together and Hubster and I are explaining what our expectations are pertaining to this behavior it becomes a learning activity as well as some good family fun.

Shrek Forever After encourages team play. Similar to the Lego series of games, different characters have different talents and all must participate to get the job done. We played this in pairs for two reasons. 1) We only have two nunchucks. 2) Handsome really like to be where the action is. Playing with only two people allows for one-on-one time as well as gives him the opportunity to change to whichever character is needed to get the task done. We will probably be adding the extra two nunchucks to our accessories to be able to all play together. I hope the family play without the ability to change characters during play will prove to be a beneficial bonding time, especially for my two highly competitive (with each other) children.

It was fun to see the Movie after playing the game for a while. Both kids recognized different parts from the game. It was fun to see them recognize and put together the different parts of the storyline. We've now officially seen all the Shrek movies and are a little sad there will be no more. At least we have the game to continue the adventure. The book to remind us of one of our favorite characters, and the Mad Libs to create our own stories.


I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Activision and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Wordless Wednesday~ 80's Day at the Elementary School

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just Taking a Moment

Yay.

Hubster got the confirmation letter for his new job. He'll be starting on June 1st. It's been over three months since he started talking to this group and it was the only job he really wanted. It's a relief in this economy to once again feel secure. We've spent the last couple months looking into better deals with cell phone, cable, Internet, and car insurance companies. I think we have found the best deals with all of these providers and have skimmed our usages down to fit our budget. If we can continue to minimize and reduce our spending (we previously already paid off all our credit cards and re-negotiated our mortgage) we will actually be way better off in the future. The kids may get help with college yet:)

Thanks to Hubster for sticking it out when the rest of us doubted you!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday

Tuesday is for randomness. If you don't believe me check out The Un Mom and all the linkers. Everyone's playing and it's tons of fun.

randomtuesday


Did Russell really think he'd win Survivor? Does he not realize that he's missing the likeable component? He doesn't get it. I hope they don't let him play again. I can't watch him another season. I wanted Parvarti to win but...Oh well.

Do you ever feel like you just can't keep up with technology? We used to have all the new stuff...and then we had kids. Not only is it not financially possible but everything changes so fast.
I was all over Napster when it was free and now the thought of downloading to ipods and mp3 players stumps me. My CD/tape player works just fine. Don't judge. I feel like my parents must have.

Puddin Pop has been watching Snow White the last two days. Why did I never notice how annoying her voice was? It's almost hard to hear her. Maybe because it's so whiny and I've learned to tune that out?

MSN has trial versions of games. You can download and try them for one hour. There used to be a glitch and you could play longer as long as you didn't exit out of the game. Now at the one hour mark they close down. You can then decide if you want to buy it or not. Last week I tried a game and, I guess, downloaded the tool bar. BAD IDEA. Yesterday I realized they have a "game of the day". Instead of a one hour trial you can play the game until midnight. I got nothing done yesterday except...finishing the game. Today's game is Fishdom. I hope it sucks.

It's raining outside which for some reason makes me want chili. Anyone got a good recipe?

That's my random for today. Now go to The Un Mom and link up or read some more great random posts.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Joe Corbi's Crayola Pizzas

Here's a re-post from a year ago. The rest of these pizza are still in the freezer. I should have pulled them out for our sleepover a couple weeks back. Just loking at them, though, makes me feel as though I've taken a dose of appetite suppressants, that or I feel too nauseous to eat.


Our neighbor has been coming by each year for a fundraiser selling Joe Corbi's pizza since we moved in (6 years tomorrow). Originally they only had 3-4 pizza kits (crust, cheese, toppings) and two types of frozen cookie dough. Now they have branched out to bread stix, pretzels, and other treats. Last year we ordered crayola cookie dough. We received 4 tubs of various colored cookie dough and the kids loved making cookies with them. It was like creating with playdoh but with the added bonus of baking and eating your creations.


This year I decided to try the Crayola Pizza kit. We received a box with 8 rectangular pizza crusts (personal size) 4 pink and 4 blue (not a typo). The box also had 2 each of orange, pink, red and green pizza sauce, and 8 individual packs of cheese. I let the kids pick their colors and make their own pizzas tonight and they had a BLAST! I have to admit that Boog's pizza tasted much better than PP's. I'm not sure if it was the sauce or the crust, but her's just had a funny taste to it...to me. Both kids ate their entire pizza and want to know when they can make them again. Do these look good to you?



PP making her VERY Pink Pizza



Boog decided to go with a Blue crust and Orange sauce



Here they are watching them bake



Ta Da! The finished products. (Boog added pepperoni to his)



So if you want to have a good time with the kids making pizzas, these were a ton of fun. If you want to actually EAT the pizza, go with one of their other pizza kits. Just a recommendation based on my tastes. The kids loved them.









Friday, May 14, 2010

So many Questions My Head is Spinning

I hope Hubster got disability insurance with our Cobra package because someone is about to get hurt. I'm just not sure who yet. I think it may even be me that deserves a good beating...

Handsome does well in school. He's in the top reading group, does well in Math and excels in Science and Social Studies. We got his final progress report home yesterday and he received his first "N" (Needs Improvement) for Work Study. This is the work he's supposed to be doing in class. It wasn't a total shock. He had problems earlier where he was playing around during centers and not completing his work. He was even disturbing other kids which caused him to be at a table by himself for a full month. He hated that and we thought the problem was resolved. Fail.

Two weeks ago we received a note from the teacher attached to a stack of Incomplete (in class) assignments. We made him complete all 13 that night. It took less than 30 minutes. We've been asking him (probably the wrong person to ask) each day if he completed his classwork and he's been telling us "yes". He claimed he was all caught up. Fail (again).

This morning he wanted to switch to a different back pack and when Hubster was helping him he came across a packet of Incomplete worksheets in his front pocket. This is where I start blaming myself. I've been letting Hubster help with homework each night since he is out of work. I haven't even been in his backpack other than to put his lunch in. Mommy=Fail. I'm pretty sure I would have seen these sheets. Handsome says he took them out of his classwork folder when they had a substitute...last week. He didn't want the teacher to know he didn't finish and thought "getting rid of the evidence" was a better idea. He went through a bunch of emotions when we found them. First he was sad. "I feel like such a bad boy." That's his manipulation to make us feel sorry for him. When he realized we were going to take them to the teacher to find out what the deal was he got angry. "Why did Dad have to go through my back pack?" "It's all his fault." "No one would ever know if he hadn't done that." He was beside himself. Fear, anger, sadness...Off to school we go.

The teacher was visibly surprised that she hadn't noticed. Each week they bring home all their classwork. Wouldn't she have noticed sheets missing when grading? I don't know the system. I'm going to know the system before the day is done. I'm also spending more time on homework (catching up the classwork) this weekend.

Basically he tried to get one over on everybody. Upset he got caught. No reason not to have finished it in class. It's not hard for him. He's not disrupting others. What is he doing? Why didn't the teacher realize he was just sitting there doing nothing? Why didn't we? Why is he lying about it? How do we get him to focus and complete his work? How do we make him understand the lying is unacceptable and the most concerning? So many questions. Time for some answers!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

We're Lovin' It. Sonicare for Kids ~ Review



When Mom Central asked if I was interested in reviewing the new Sonicare Toothbrush for Kids. I knew this was something I must have. Handsome, my (almost) 7 year old, does a great job of brushing his teeth twice a day but his sister, 4 year old Puddin Pop, hems and haws each and every time. I thought a fun, new toothbrush, and the chance to help Mommy "review" a product would benefit both of us in this activity.

Monday morning Puddin Pop came down with strep and the doctor said "You'll need to get a new tooth brush after 48 hours." Tuesday morning our new Sonicare toothbrush arrived. Puddin Pop was so excited to try it out. Unfortunately she would have to wait until the following evening to give it a try. It was a good lesson for her in patience.

The Sonicare for Kids toothbrush comes with two brush heads. A small one for children 4-6 and a larger one for kids 7 and up. One for each of my precious babies. Explaining to Puddin Pop that they weren't really sharing toothbrushes, which we've taught them is not a good thing, was a little tricky but she finally understood.



The Sonicare for Kids toothbrush is designed to foster good brushing habits and has a timer that increases to get kids up to the recommended two minutes of brush time. With signal beeps, it also reminds them to hit different areas to ensure a full cleanse. Two speeds, for the different age groups, allows for the right amount of vibration appropriate for each.

Puddin Pop used to stand at the mirror with her toothbrush in hand and debate whether she was going to brush alone or have me do it. She'd always insist on doing it herself and then just stand there making faces in the mirror. After 5 minutes or so she would Insist I do it. On days when we were running late, Ive gotten her set up and walked away to do other things only to find her toothbrush with toothpaste still on it, sitting on the counter when we come in for night-time brushing.

Things have changed.

On her first use of the Sonicare she came down singing to Daddy "I used my new Sonicare and I loved it." She no longer hems and haws, but instead immediately starts brushing and doesn't stop until the brush turns off. I like knowing the brush will gradually (over the next 90 days) increase her time until she is up to 2 minutes. I'm pretty sure she won't even notice.

Handsome is also thrilled with the new brush. Although he's not super excited with the yellow cover (It comes with 3 different covers to make the brush look like new. They stick on so we will switch when the yellow one comes loose) he loves the feel of the brush in his mouth. When asked what he likes best he replied (It tickles the roof of my mouth and that's fun."

Sonicare for Kids is currently available Nationwide at Wal-Mart, Target, and at Amazon.com. I may have not been inclined to purchase this based on the cost, but having seen what a difference it makes in our routine and the fact that it removes 75% more plaque than manual toothbrushes while helping teach good oral habits, it's definitely worth every penny.



I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Sonicare and received a free Sonicare For Kids toothbrush to facilitate my review.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

I just got back from helping with the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon at Handsome's school. So the teachers could enjoy their lunch, four of us volunteered to "transport" the kids to and from the lunchroom. Seeing as Handsome is only in first grade and has taken his lunch all but one day last year I was really unaware of how the lunch line worked. Lucky for me, all the kids were very helpful and coached me along.

The choices for the k-2nd graders was nachos or ham sandwich with the choice of corn or rice. The kids are lined up with bag lunches first, then choice one (broken up by side one or side two) and the choice two (divided by sides as well). I am amazed at the amount of kids that get school lunch. I don't remember it being like that when I was a kid. Maybe 3 kids (and sometimes none) brought their lunches to school.

The older kids were given the first two choices and a 3rd choice of BBQ chicken. Some classes go to the bathroom on their way back from lunch and some do not. One class had "monitors" within the class and boy were they all quiet. I'm not sure how one gets picked to be a monitor but 5 of the 25 kids had bright pink index cards and a pen and were instructed to write down the names of any classmates they observed talking. These kids weren't too popular when I went to school and no one volunteered for the position. These kids were serious. Clicking their pens in the direction of those talking, ready to write at a moments notice. One little monitor had written down five names and had multiple check marks next to some. I think it was a special thing they did since the teacher wouldn't be with them. It worked.

After we were done we were treated to leftovers from the luncheon. Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, Salad and Baked Potatoes, courtesy of Outback. Yum. I'm pretty sure at some point someone decided I should be on the PTA board or at least a committee. Most the board members will be leaving within the next year or two as their children will move on to the middle school. I figure I have 8 years before both my kids get through. I should have kept that a secret. It was nice to meet some new people and discuss everything from the new school opening, the stopping of transportation, and kids who travel to play sports to more personal stuff like affordable life insurance quotes (Insurance Salesman in the group) End of Year PTA Party, and Parenting stuff in general. I'm really glad I volunteered and look forward to doing more next year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tropicana Juicy Rewards ~ Deal(s) of the Day

If you are not already collecting Juicy Rewards off the Tropicana tops you are missing out. We've used points for $5 worth of tokens at Chuck E Cheese (twice) and for buy one get one tickets at the Living museum where the kids can get up close with all sorts of animals and marine life.



Each day Tropicana lists a Deal of the Day. With things like discounted movie tickets through Fandango to their latest offer of the chance to win $1000. I spent 3 points on that. They are giving away a total of $24,000. Wish me luck? Right now you can get $15 off any purchase over $49.99 at 1-800-Flowers. Just in time for Mother's Day. Of course you have to have points. It's as easy as logging in and entering the code from the tops of the juice you're already buying. You are buying Tropicana, right?

I was guilty of buying the "sweeter"-not-really-juice for the kids and decided to switch because it's better for them and I like REAL orange juice. It tasted funny to them at first (my fault) so I used a little trick my dad used with us. I added a splash of grenadine. It adds a little sweetness and makes for a "really cool looking" (Handsome's words) morning beverage. Try it.

Rewards range from discounts on Family activities to outdoor apparel and supplies. I'm really hoping they come out with a deal on outdoor chair cushions . I'd totally spend all my points on that. They really have something for everyone and the lists keep growing. Check it out.

I am part of the Mom Central Juicy Insiders and have received Juicy Reward points and a gift card for my time on this project.

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