Friday, September 9, 2011

Nickelodeon's Monkey Quest - Review & Giveaway

Since it's launch back in April, Nickelodeon's Monkey Quest (an innovative online game world for kids ages 8-12) has becomes one of the most visited kids virtual world sites, gaining over 3 MILLION registered users!!

Kids can create and customize a monkey avatar and chart their own adventures in the fantasy land of Ook, a cool and mysterious world where monkey's rule. Players join one of five tribes and band together against a dark force that threatens them all. Kids can benefit from the cooperative play as they need to work together to defeat enemies, solve puzzles and explore the ever changing world of Ook. As Nickelodeon has always been famous for, there is plenty of relatable goofy humor to keep kids entertained and engaged. 

What kid wouldn't like a game where you're a monkey jumping, swinging and battling your way through a new world? The level of violence (if you could call it that) is below mild, on par with what you'd find in a Mario Bros. game. I don't know about you, but I'd rather my child shoot bananas than guns in a game any day!

The best part about Monkey Quest is that it can be FREE to play. Kids can create their monkey, explore trails and play different levels of the game for free. If you find is already a serious gamer or you find that they really enjoy the game, there's a hybrid payment option in which you gain access to quests,unlimited trails, abilities, banana allowances and other elements of the game. Parents can choose a subscription plan or "pay as you go" through NickCash, Nickelodeon's online currency. 

I have a Monkey Quest Prize Pack to offer one lucky reader that includes a Monkey Quest tote bag, t-shirt and hat, as well as an Insider's Guide to help your child navigate the lank of Ook! All you need to do is leave a comment BEFORE 6 PM (EST) on Monday, September 12th and you're in the running! 

**In full disclosure, I received a free game card in exchange for sharing information about Monkey Quest with you here on my little slice of the web.**

Be sure to give Monkey Quest a "like" on Facebook too!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another first under our belts...

"My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never have to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to, 
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too...
Yeah, this, is my wish." 
- Rascal Flatts

He woke up just after 7. He was in a good mood. He wanted to watch Little Einsteins and have some toast for breakfast. Sometime between the day before yesterday and today, the bread went bed, so I made him a bagel. It wasn't to his liking, so then I made him an english muffin, which by the grace of God, satisfied him. 

He built a pirate ship with his blocks. I got him washed and brushed and dressed. He insisted his shirt made him look fat, but didn't request a different one. He asked me 10,000 times when it was time to go to the bus stop. 

Sean was more than ready for his first day of Kindergarten. 

I was the one having major some issues.

I hated putting him on that bus, saying goodbye, knowing I wouldn't see him for the entire day. I've had the privilege of being with him every day, all day for the past 5 years. He went to preschool last year, but he was gone a total of 3 hours and even that was a huge adjustment.

Imagine walking around all day without your right arm. You could manage, you could get around ok...but it would be a challenge, it would be uncomfortable. That's how I felt all day today. A huge important part of me was missing and as crazy as he drives me at times, I found it hard to function without him.

I fretted all day about whether or not he was okay. If he'd have trouble in the bathroom, if he'd eat his lunch...if he'd find the smell of the chicken nuggets offensive and have a meltdown in the cafeteria. Maybe it's because I'm a control freak, but I hate not knowing what goes on in every minute of his day.

I managed not to start crying until after he was on the bus and driving away. Every fiber of my being wanted to scoop him up and bring him home.

Being a Mom involves a lot of goodbyes...from the moment your child leaves your womb until they grow up and leave your house, it's one goodbye after another. I feel like I'm saying goodbye to him everyday...with each new accomplishment I say goodbye to a little piece of him that was and meet more of the boy he's becoming. 

Dear God, it's all happening too fast. Help me to slow myself down and remember just how precious each day is.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mat Kearney Young Love Album Review

"Hey Mama, hey hey Mama, don't want no drama, just a kiss before I leave..."

Now that I'm a Mama, music doesn't have the relevance in my life that it once did. There was a time when I knew the words to every hit song on the radio, now I'm lucky if I recognize the face of a current artist on a magazine cover at the check-out line. 

I was stoked to receive an advanced copy of Mat Kearney's new album, Young Love, to review. To have the chance to feel even a little bit hip and "in the know" in the music world. I hadn't heard of Mat Kearney prior to getting his CD in the mail. I thought this was his debut album, but after visiting his website, I learned it's his third. 

The album is quite diverse, each of the 10 tracks feeling like they'd be on a different album. Mat's voice is appealing, even somewhat soothing and it lends itself to somehow work for all the different genres you find on the album. The first track on the disc (and the first single) "Hey Mama" knocked it out of the park. It's catchy, the kind of song that gets you singing along and clapping your hands to the beat (the background beat in this song is clapping, but it actually works). My kids fell in love with "Hey Mama"! I had to play it 4 times in a row to appease them before I could continue listening to the rest of the album. :)

I was happy in the snappy, clappy, pop of "Hey Mama" and when I was finally able to move onto the second track, I found myself confused by white boy rap. As much as I try to like a white boy rapping, it just doesn't work for me. There's pop, alternative rock, dance, and yes...a little white boy's a unique album and definitely NOT boring. While the album was very different from what I expected it to be, I ended up falling in love with it in spite of myself. The more I've listened to it, the more I've liked it.

My favorite tracks? 1) Hey Mama, 6) Learning To Love Again, 8) She Got The Honey and 9) Young Dumb and In Love and 10) Rochester.

Mat will be at the TLA in Philly on 10/29...I would really love to see him live. :)

Check Mat Kearney out for yourself on his website and iTunes page and be sure to "like" him on Facebook.  

*In full disclosure, I received a free copy of this album as a member of the O2O Network in exchange for an honest review of it here on my blog.*