Interactive Homework Helper: Wise ‘Ol Owl Blackboard Calculator

We were sent the Wise ‘Ol Owl Blackboard Calculator in exchange for our honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Learning got a ‘lil more fun around here for Evan and the twins with the Wise ‘Ol Owl Blackboard Calculator from Singing Machine. With three different languages and the basic math functions, there are plenty of learning opportunities for my ‘lil ones.

Wise ‘Ol Owl Blackboard Calculator

Wise 'Ol Owl Blackboard Calculator

Here are the basic details on this calculator, the first educational toy that Singing Machine (known for their in-home karaoke systems) has created for preschoolers and early learners:

The Wise Ol’ Owl Blackboard calculator teaches kids basic math functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in three different languages (English, Spanish, & French). The interactive calculator includes a large LCD display for easy viewing and has playful sounds that engages kids to learn. For kids age 4 and up the Wise Ol’ Owl is available for a suggested retail price of $24.99 and sold through major mass merchandisers and online retailers, including Walmart, and Amazon.

Evan (with the help of Big Sis) was excited to share his thoughts over on our YouTube Channel:

So tell us – are you interested in making learning fun, getting homework done faster, or picking up some math facts in another language with this calculator? What makes you excited about it?

Splashlings Medical Center and Wave 2 Blind Bags

[Review Disclaimer] Today we’re opening up the Splashlings Medical Center and Wave 2 Blind Bags. If you’ve not yet heard, Splashlings are a set of collectible toys that my kids (ages 8 and 6) are obsessed with. They are ocean-themed and include over 200 characters to collect and trade. Our favorites are the mermaids and the sparkly treasures.

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The Splashlings Medical Center lets your child pretend to be doctor – a like when their mama accidentally drops one of the precious ones. They can measure height and weight, conduct an exam, or even take an x-ray of their characters.

Each set we opened came with blind bags – actually ultra-cool shells – that keep some of the characters a mystery. Part of the fun is opening up the sets and seeing who is hiding inside. According to Arianna, duplicates aren’t a problem – they give kids a trade or let them enjoy as twins. But the best part is when you find characters who are not common (the Splashlings call these rare, ultra-rare color change, and super treasure).

Splashlings Medical Center

Check out our video to see what happened when Arianna opened up the Medical Center, a 6-pack (with two surprises), a 12-pack (with two surprises), and a blind bag star-fish shell.

PRO TIPS:

  • Keep some Splashlings Collector’s Shells on hand for those moments when you catch your kiddo being good.
  • Use ICE COLD water to change the color of your ultra-rare color change Splashlings. This didn’t go so well in our video until we did so!
  • Store your Splashlings in a cool container (Arianna uses a pencil box) so their siblings don’t lose them (Arianna’s tip).

As an 80’s kid, it’s really cool to know my kids are enjoying collectibles brought to them by the same creator that brought Pound Puppies® to my life – Mike Bowling.

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Splashlings are available at Walmart, Toys R Us, Justice, and Amazon. MSRP starts at $3.99 for the shells to $19.99 for the larger playsets.

In addition to the complete line of collectibles, fans can collect Upper Deck trading cards and tap into the Splashlings Official Checklist & Collector’s Guide companion app, offering a fun way to keep track of their growing toy and card collections.  The brand will see apparel, bedding and food/beverage products in the coming year. Splashlings assortments are available at Toys “R” Us, Amazon, Justice Stores, and Walmart beginning February 1, 2017.

Stay up to date with Splashlings via Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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My First Telescope

*articles may contain affiliate links* Evan received the GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope in exchange for this review. 

My little scientist Evan loves the outdoors. Between gardening, playing soccer, checking on his ant farm…I’m honestly not sure how he has time for any of the things he likes to do inside! When I heard about the GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope from Educational Insights, I knew that it was something perfect for him.

my first telescope

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My First Telescope

Here are some of the features of this telescope, designed specifically for little scientists ages 4-6…

  • Focus-free, easy-setup (we had it put together in a minute flat!)
  • 10x Magnification with wide field of vision, built-in diagonal mirror, and lens cap
  • Two large eyepieces with comfy goggle and nose cut-out guide for perfect eye placement
  • Adjustable tripod for tabletop viewing (collapsible for easy storage)
  • Multilingual instructional guide showcasing the phases of the moon

Evan started out checking out things like trees and house in the distance during the day and worked his way up to seeing the moon and stars at night. We just might have a ‘lil boy who is up around the clock watching all the things in his ‘lil world around our house, huh?

kid telescope

If you’d like to pick up your own My First Telescope, they are available through Educational Insights or Amazon. This one is recommended for children ages 4-6.

Arianna was gifted a telescope by Grandma and Pop Pop last summer, also from Educational Insights. She wanted to suggest it for other big sisters out there! *wink*

Be sure to go visit Educational Insights on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for information other neat kiddo learning products.

Experience Columbus: The Columbus Zoo

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

‘lil Blogger me is supposed to sit down and right yinz a stellar post about the #1 Zoo in the United States. The Columbus Zoo. The zoo that I knew as an elementary school kid  that now my children beg to go back to. It’s a post that’s been spinning in my head for weeks (among five zillion other things that we have going on in our ‘lil world).

But I mean, seriously. How am I supposed to put words to paper about how incredible the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is?

Maybe it’s telling you that Jack Hanna is kinda a big deal there, and he’s made sure that the animals have plenty of space and real-to-life habitats in this zoo.

Or that the Zoo has a really awesome “Hoofit” Program with the local health plan, telling you ways to stay healthy & hydrated during your visit. (By the way, we walked/ran the zoo twice and I had almost 30,000 steps that day between the trip and my morning 5k.)

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Or the fact that you can get super close to the elephants (our favorite).

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But maybe you’d want to hear about how good the brand new Heart of Africa exhibit is, complete with a great lunch spot, camel rides, and giraffe feedings.

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Or that there are manatees in the aquarium.

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I’m sure my mom and dad want to check in on the gorillas that I know Jack and I kept them at for hours during our visits.

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And Jack will totally be jealous to hear about Dinosaur Island, which was well worth the 45 minute wait and near potty accident to take a 3-minute boat ride around a river of dinosaurs.

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And Grandma and Pop Pop would not be surprised to know that Greg’s kids like snakes.

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And you all want to see our family photos from the trip, too (source: Kaman’s Art Shoppes).

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There are just way to many things to tell you and show you and gush about. And while I don’t want to mix up my ‘Burgh loyalty (’cause our zoo is pretty awesome), I’ll tell you that the Columbus Zoo deserves its accolades. I can push out of my mind that I am pretty sure the attached waterpark, Zoombezi Bay, was probably crowded because it was oh so hot that I spent way too much money on water bottles to keep us hydrated throughout the day. And I’ll forget the fact that even after two loops, we still missed stuff because the path isn’t straight (but totally keeps you on your toes). Or that I got super frustrated in the Discovery Reef because there were too many people in there trying to catch a break in the A/C. Because lemme tell you. This zoo is incredible.

Bonus? The polar bears swim. Lots. They get it.

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If you get it and want to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, head over here to learn more about tickets (including how to add Zoombezi Bay to your entry — we are going back in July to take advantage of this!). And HERE to see more of our photos!!!

Protect with Speck

*articles may contain affiliate links*

Just in time for Father’s Day, Speck Products has some options to protect your guy’s mobile devices while on the go.

As a stay-at-home dad, Greg typically keeps his iPad Mini handy for the meltdown moments that might happen while out and about with Evan and Ari. And let’s be for real – he likes to have it for trips, too. While I love the man, he’s dropped his share of devices (hence why he didn’t have a smartphone until recent). (And he is not alone…more on that below.)

When I was asked to check out Speck’s products for iPads, I knew Greg would love the DuraFolio which is available for the iPad Air and mini. It provides military grade protection and doesn’t add the bulk. So, while I don’t want him dropping his iPad, I know if he does, it’s safe. The fact that it is a slim case (almost like a wrap!) means that it won’t take up much more space than it would out of the box. We’ve both enjoyed the built-in stand, too. With this kick-stand style stand, we’ve been able to prop the iPad up on the kitchen counter and keep tabs on the baseball games while cooking dinner.

DuraFolio from Speck
Source: Speck Products

If your guy is particular about colors, there are several options including blacks, blues, slates, and reds. (Moms, there is even a pink one for you.) We got the “Deep Sea” (shown above) and it’s a perfect fit with my summer bag patterns…and my Galaxy case (which you can see if you click here then click “Caribbean Blue / Deep Sea Blue”). (Even moms like me have a habit of dropping phones!) *wink*

Luckily, the only features we’ve been able to really, truly test are the fit and the stand – no dropping so far! I trust that this case will keep Greg’s iPad Mini nice and safe. 

The DuraFolio is available for iPad Air for $69.95 and iPad mini for $59.95 at  speckproducts.com.

If a day to day case isn’t quite what you are looking for and you want to give the dad in your life a tool to help keep the kids busy in the backseat, consider the ShowFolio. This is Speck’s first in-car folio case. “It frees the user to take their iPad more places and provides multiple benefits due to the seamless shift in functionality from in-car viewing mount to folio.”

ShowFolio Speck
Source: Speck Products

The ShowFolio is available at Target and speck speckproducts.com in two colors for $69.95.

And for the techie in your life that doesn’t have an iPad? Speck Products has plenty of tools to keep your technologies protected. Bonuses? Free Shipping. One Year Warranty. Super engaged social communities (trust me – they tweeted me and engaged on Instagram!). Go check them out at http://www.speckproducts.com/ today!

 

How to Lose A Lemur

Disclaimer: I was provided with the product(s) reviewed and/or given away below. All opinions are 100% my own.

I’ll admit, I’m not great at making new friends. You might be really surprised to hear that, but it’s true. Because I moved around a lot as a kid, I think I have a hard time about it.

Maybe that’s why I connected with How To Lose A Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon. Lemurs, one-by-one, begin following a little boy who wants nothing to do with the following until he realizes he is far from home. That’s when he understands that making new friends isn’t such a bad thing.

Arianna and Evan adored this lovable book and on the first read were able to “back track” the path back to home with the troop of lemurs.

How To Lose A Lemur

 

If you’re interested in finding out How to Lose a Lemur, you’re in luck. I’ve been asked to give a copy away to one of my readers! You can snag a chance by entering this giveaway. If you don’t win, you can pick up a copy from Sterling Publishing for $14.95.

This giveaway is open to US Only, 18+ and ends on Saturday, March 22 at 11:59 PM. 

Monster Mini Golf

Disclaimer: My family received admission to Monster Mini Golf compliments of US Family Guide. All opinions, however, remain my own.

Friday night, I wanted to surprise the family with a date night. We headed out to Monroeville to Monster Mini Golf.  It’s a glow in the dark indoor mini golf attraction, perfect for this cold winter days.

As I expected, Evan was a ‘lil afraid when we first walked in. He did warm up a bit…at least until he saw and heard “the rumble box” on the far end of the course. (If your ‘lil one is easily scared, pass until they are a ‘lil older.) Arianna, was absolutely in love with the atmosphere.

Monster Mini Golf
Monster Mini Golf

Like other times we’ve mini golfed as a family, they were “over it” about 9 holes in, but trooped through and we all had a fun time because of it. We didn’t keep score, but now I’m wishing I’d thought to download the scorecard app beforehand. (Juggling kids, clubs, and a scorecard isn’t exactly easy – this is a great option!)

Monster Mini Golf just might be on Arianna’s future birthday party list. While we were there, we toured the party rooms and were told about the options to party. You can bring in your own food, and parents golf free with the party kids. Here’s the scoop:

Want to enjoy your child’s party too? Our two posh and private party rooms give you a real party room, including a full refrigerator, microwave and your own TV. For something more than a cafeteria table set up in the corner somewhere, our year round, indoor facility provides you the peace of mind of not having to worry about the weather. Appropriate for all ages, our children’s party packages even allow the adults to golf with the party at no additional charge. So score a hole in one by checking out our party packages. Or stop in for a tour.

It doesn’t matter who had the best score on Friday, what mattered was that Monster Mini Golf was a fun place for us to take the kids and get out of the house together. We recommend you adding this to your list of things to do in Pittsburgh. The cost structure is pretty economical, too:

Monster Mini Golf Pricing
$9 for most adults, $8 if you are shorter than the alien here and FREE if shorter than the ‘lil one

Want to make your experience a ‘lil more glowy? There’s even Glowy Stuff n’at that you can buy before you hit the course. At the minimum, wear fun black-light friendly clothes!

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As you know, I’m all about saving money while having fun. To make your next family date night even more financially friendly, here’s a BOGO coupon from US Family Guide (it’s good through June 30, 2014). We hope you’ll check out Monster Mini Golf in Monroeville soon.

Review: Kiss My Face Peace Soap (#Sponsored)

Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of Kiss My Face soap to review in exchange with sharing my thoughts with you. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

The healthier I try to be when it comes to eating and running, the healthier choices I’m making in general. That’s why I felt like Kiss My Face Peace Soap would be worth reviewing–the motto of Kiss My Face is “Better Soap, Better World”, featuring 100% natural soaps for the bath, body, and hands.

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The particular scent I reviewed was “Grassy Mint”. To be honest with you, I have grass allergies, so I was skeptical that I’d like this scent. In the end, the scent was less grassy and more minty, like a gum. Upon washing, I didn’t smell like grass, but clean and minty. While the foam was some of the best foam I’ve encountered in soaps, I wouldn’t use this particular scent in the shower or bath.

Thanks to the color, it makes most sense to find its place on my downstairs bathroom counter. The kids will use it there a lot. That’s a good thing, since it’s 100% natural and has only 6 ingredients, I am not worried about it irritating their sensitive skin when they they wash a million times a day. Ahem.

The Peace Soap also comes in Lemongrass Clary Sage, Lavender Mandarin, and Pomegranate Acai. (I’d love to get my hands on some of the Lavender Mandarin or Pomegranate Acai, bet those would be great for the shower, and if they left my skin feeling half as soft as the Grassy Mint did, I’d be over the moon.)

Getting to the technical info–Kiss My Face Peace Soap is “100% natural all purpose pure castile soap”, including 6 ingredients (three of which are olive, coconut, and jojoba oils–let me tell you, these made my hands super soft). It’s safe, gentle, biodegradable, and can be used to clean pretty much anything.

You can find Kiss My Face Peace Soap for $2.99 (3.4 oz), $6.99 (8 oz.), or $8.99 (17 oz.) at KissMyFace.com or wherever natural body care products are sold.