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Book Review – Camp Nana Papa

campnanaWhenever I see parents and they look relaxed like they have just enjoyed an evening out. I think, they have family nearby that took care of their kids for FREE. Donnie Cranfill’s new book, Camp Nana Papa with illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler celebrates the special bond between grandparents and grandkids. All that is great but my boys gravitated to the activities pages in the back of the book. The story centers around Nick and Sarah spending time with their Nana and Papa doing cool outdoor things like fishing and going to the zoo. My boys took time away from the actual story to interrupt with tales of things they have done with their grandparents so in a way the book serves more as a introduction to book club style conversations and tangents.  Perhaps this summer we will be able to write our own chapter at Camp Daddy takes a nap while other people watch his kids.

Product Review – Estes Rockets

rocketOne of the joys of parenting is getting to re-create childhood memories with your own children. Of course this rarely goes well as they either don’t care or can never appreciate things the way you did (since they are different people no matter how much we try and make our own clones). However, one thing that I loved from summer camp was making and launching model rockets. The boys are now able to enjoy this as much as I did because, come on, they are rockets. Estes makes a full line of rockets for all skill levels. Most model rockets use the engines that are flammable and use an igniter etc. My boys aren’t quite ready for that level of NASA just yet. Thankfully, they make a line of air rockets that don’t involve me having to explain to The Mommy why I burnt everyone’s eyebrows off. I have started a tradition of having a full launch countdown as each department gives us a go/no go for launch a and then these babies really soar. Soon LTD will be ready for the engine rockets but for now he is content to pound the Sonic Boom which is so hardcore that it goes up to 150 feet. It makes the Stomp Rocket look like home made inventor trying to turn the washing machine into the ship from Interstellar. One added bonus is that when these bad boys lands a mile away I make the kids run and get them so by the time we get home they are ready for naps.

Cheese with that Whine

fanBB has been in full Three-nager mode lately and never is this more pronounced then at bedtime. His whining is particularly brutal when we just want him to go to sleep so we can watch The Blacklist. No matter how late we let him stay up with condition that if he stays up he won’t get a bed time story he of course still demands one. He also requests to go in our bed as another arrow in his quiver of delay tricks. However, lately he has picked a real doozy. He now objects to the ceiling fan being on. It is on the slowest speed and is perfect for when we don’t need the ac but it is a little warm upstairs. So in full whine he insists it be shut off in his room but of course it goes back on when he is asleep. The very latest was last night as LTD finally lost another tooth that had been stubbornly hanging on for months and the tooth fairy was to visit. BB spent many minutes whining about how he didn’t want the tooth fairy to come and so we had to make a devils bargain with LTD telling him the tooth fairy would not come at the same time winking and quietly telling LTD that of course she was coming. While part of me doesn’t want him to grow out of this innocent phase I really could do without the constant whining.

Product Review – KoalaSafe

koalaLTD has long been a slave to the iPad and now BB is getting in on the action. They only stop using it when the battery dies but now we are trying something different. The device that looks nothing like a Koala but is called KoalaSafe plugs into the wall and then goes all Big Brother on the screens. You can set time limits that shut off the internet and also block sites and apps plus enforce safe search on different engines. Another feature that we haven’t used to much since the boys are still pretty young is what I call the NSA feature. You can see how your household usage compares to other families and monitors if there is a jump in your own site use. Of course in an ironic twist you monitor everything from the app on your phone (do as I say not as I do). Now let’s hope The Mommy doesn’t get any ideas about blocking certain sites I frequent.

Book Review – There is a Tribe of Kids

tribeIn a sea of endless children’s books I’m still always impressed when I find one that is elegant and dare I say beautiful. Lane Smith uses sponge-paint art to make There is a Tribe of Kids pop. The tale follows boy on an epic journey through our natural world. Each setting he encounters whether it be elephants, butterflies or the ocean he learns about different “tribes” but continues searching. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I think you can guess what he finds at the end (hint: see book title). The story is easy to follow and the art captures the beauty of nature in almost magical fashion. All of which is to say none of that matters to BB who just likes the whales.

 

The Boss

wantEvery day after LTD and I pick up BB from preschool it seems like the boys fight in the car over LTD touching one of the toys that BB has left in the car since he can’t bring them into school. Yesterday, the yelling was particularly headache inducing and so I reminded LTD that as a 7 year old I can punish him and not BB. LTD knows exactly what this means but BB took my explanation and ran with it. He launched into a chorus of the phrase “I can do whatever I want.” In fact he started singing it. Least you think his ego would allow this seemingly momentary victory to be forgotten. Upon waking me up at 5 am this morning he leaned into my face to once again proclaim, I can do whatever I want.

Product Review – Name 5

GameName5LTD has a habit of wanting to play board games that are above his pay grade and BB has a habit of wanting to sit on my lap and be on my team. In that regard, LTD has been getting into the Endless Games release Name 5. In the vain of Scattergories and games that involve shouting things out Name 5 lives up to the title as the cards direct you to name 5 things as the timer counts down. Five seems doable but when the sand runs down staring at you, you do get jammed up. Of course even LTD can rock obvious categories like name 5 video games, but when we get into name five vegetables that begin with “a” he gets as BB says, Fwustrated. The game is fast paced enough to hold the boys attention but The Mommy doesn’t particularly enjoy the shouting. I’m sure as they get older and game play gets easier the volume will decrease (name 1 thing that isn’t true).

 

 

 

Book Review – Busy People

astronauntBB has been talking a lot about what he wants to be when he grows up. The latest is a Knight (not sure how well that pays). In that regard he has been digging Author Lucy George and Artist Ando Twin new series Busy People. Each book focuses on Astronaut, Doctor, Police Officer, Fire Fighter and Teacher. As the title suggest each tale focuses on the daily life and work of the above busy people. The explanations are easy to follow with wide eyed characters. I particlurly like the section at the end of the books that shows associated busy people like the Forensic scientist and Flight controllers. There is also a cool part showing equipment and uniform details that have led to BB declaring each one to be this year’s Halloween costume. Thankfully the book on Astronaut’s features a Robot lest LTD declare the series to young for him.

 

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

oralcancSoon I will take LTD to see his first “real” baseball game and that reminded me that it is now Oral Cancer Awareness Month. What is the connection, you are wondering. Chew or as they used to call it when I was in school, dip. Great Expressions offers some tips:

As baseball season gets underway and millions of impressionable children are exposed to chewing tobacco, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) seeks to help parents raise awareness of the dangers of dipping, while providing the following tips to help prevent a life-threatening disease, oral cancer:

  • Get moving: An active lifestyle is known to boost the immune system and help ward off cancer. Get moving with your children by taking nightly walks or playing games outdoors.
  • Brush and floss daily: Children learn by observing. By brushing and flossing your own teeth regularly, your children will learn how to keep up with their own dental hygiene. Pack a dental kit in their backpack for easy brushing after lunch at school.
  • Educate: Have an open conversation with your children about the dangers of tobacco products and excessive alcohol use. Spend time educating them while they are young, so they will be less likely to experiment as they get older, reducing the risk of cancer.
  • Study your family tree: Review your family’s history of head or neck cancer and be sure to note any history at your child’s next dentist visit. This will allow your dentist to discuss preventive measures and keep an eye on any changes.

Product Review – Fast Flip

fast flipLTD has long been into games and recently BB has joined him in theory if not in practice. Now that both kids enjoy Spot It. We have moved on to Fast Flip. The game is a little over BB’s pay grade but he plays in my lap and it is only slightly distracting. As with Spot It, Fast Flip wins me over for one simple reason, the games on last about 15 minutes (or less if BB dumps all the cards on the floor). Fundamentally a matching game Fast Flip features fruit and for obvious reasons fast flipping. For added difficulty you can also play with the included tiles. The compact nature of the game makes it super easy to travel with and store unlike Candy Land which is currently under my couch. The game is a bit of brain teaser so if you play with against a youngster you need to slow it down a bit and give yourself a handicap in order to not win every time.