Archives For tech

#BagItForward donation preparation

I really like the idea of helping others. But…I am sooo busy!

I really am. And I am a homeschool, stay at home mom. I do not even have a 9 a.m. meeting or a child spitting up on me. (I do, at this exact moment have a dog throwing up somewhere, but I am not going to get that yet). I have something to share with you.

One thing that is making helping others easier for me lately are these Simple Service projects I heard about online with Champions for kids. Companies like Walmart and Elmers are giving loads of help as well.

This month I got a Bag It Forward Mission.

Grin. School supplies! I am such a geek and I love school supplies.

For this Bag It Forward mission I got to get some quality school supplies like Elmer’s items (and of course Perry stuff) at Walmart, and get some friends and neighbors to help me create a donation.

From there, all kinds of fun ensued. Seriously! I got to download a cute App, help children in need in two different ways, experience how much kids love to help and have a fun party experience.

You can see all that happened on my Google+ story here:

The first thing I did was go to Walmart and check out the Elmer’s 1st Day App. I found the carousel with supply lists:

Walmart school lists

Elmers 1st Day of School App

See the QR code?

This is a Free App for iPhone and Android. Just snap a picture, create a memory and share with your friends and family.

And, get this – you will also help children in need receive school supplies just by taking a picture!

So HOW exactly does this App really help others?

“For every picture uploaded with the 1st day app, Elmer’s will donate one product to the Kids in Need Foundation and is proud to help with a donation of up to 200,000 products.”

1st day app, Elmers

After downloading my app, I got to shop.

Em shopping school supplies

Bag It Forward with Elmers

My helper!

Bag it Forward donation

As we checked out, I thought about ways to collect extra donations from my friends, neighbors and family. My daughter and I were throwing a crafting party and it seemed perfect make this very personal to some of the kids and to ask them to bring some extra school supplies to donate!

I expected a few items, but the girls, ranging in age from 7 to 16, brought tons of things. I think kids are so generous. They often just need a little direction on how to help—even if my direction was just get some supplies. I love these Simple Service Projects.

I was so proud of the little girls who all took this so seriously. Not only did the girls bring many staple supplies, glue, paper, glue sticks, markers, crayons and binders, they also brought some fun supplies with Disney characters like Perry. I know those will make some little child smile!

#BagItForward donation

I was thinking of donating our supplies to the Boys and Girls Club close to me. But I walked into church this Sunday morning and saw that our church doing a Cherokee Ministry School Supply Collection (for the Cherokee Compassionate Ministries in North Carolina).

Cherokee Ministry Supply Collection

I immediately felt that this was the perfect way to share our donation. I cannot wait to tell the girls this is where our donation ended up!

You can also support The Bag It Forward Mission in your town.  Download the App and/or visit Walmart and pick up some great Elmer’s School supplies to donate to support the First Day App and the idea of helping other schoolchildren in need with the Bag It Forward project. Because EVERY child should have some special new supplies for back to school!

See Bag It Forward on Pinterest or visit Elmer’s: Elmer’s on Facebook and Elmer’s on Twitter

Where should you go to download the app?

The 1st Day™ app is available now for download on iPhone and Android mobile devices via QR (Quick Response) code scan; codes can be found on select Elmer’s glue bottles and will be displayed in stores where school supplies are sold.

Also, the app is available for download directly from the iTunes Store and Google Play or here: 1st Day App download

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollectiveBias™ and Elmers.  #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric.

Have you heard of the new app Family Bible Adventures?

A few months ago, I reviewed some wonderful videos for kids from Rising Star Studios, called Meteor and friends. I really loved these!

Now, the same studio, in partnership with Faith Inkubators, has released a new App that is an interactive Bible experience for children.

The App has several parts, using videos with animated illustrations, games, quizzes and songs to teach children about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Em and I checked it out and from what I see, the original app contains a lot of content, with 5 major Bible stories and accompanying games and quizzes and music for each story. The app is set up so you can add to your collection within this same app, and eventually, I suppose, have most of the major Bible stories.

This first App tells five Gospel stories, beginning with Christ’s birth.

So what did we think?

Well, I think Emma said it best:

“The pictures and voices are a bit weird, but it tells the stories. The games and quizzes and coloring pages are so fun. And, the music is the best,” says Emma.

I agree. The narrating character is a Rev. Fink and I don’t love his voice, but Emma didn’t seem to care as much as I did. The story animation illustrations seemed kind of…what’s the word?? Maybe cheeky. Silly to me. BUT, the storylines were very biblical and I began to get used to this style. I think this was a personal feeling on my part. I am going to ask our children’s pastor what she thinks, she is a bit “cooler” than I am and knows what the kids like!

With that said, I DO like this app. I like how the stories are reinforced by the games and quizzes. I think Kids will really retain the information. I LOVE, Love the music. There is a “jukebox” and this application works really well. The songs are all straight scripture and are gentle and sweet. Emma played with listening to the music quite a bit. I would pay more just for this music. My daughter has been coloring on the coloring pages like crazy. Just a lot of thinks to do in one little app. I am impressed. RECOMMENDED!

The app is designed with the FAITH 5 concept in mind. This stands for Faith Acts In The Home and is a 5 step nightly process for having caring conversations every night in the home – teaching prayer and openness in the home.

What’s inside Family Bible Adventures HD:

  • 5 beautiful motion storybook videos – God’s Big Plan, Mary’s Song, The Birth of Jesus, Baptism & Wilderness, and Fishing For People.
  • 5 great original songs taken from scripture.
  • A fun quiz with each story to reinforce the message.
  • A music Jukebox to play all your favorite songs in whatever order you like.
  • An awesome match game with Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty settings (with art and sounds from the stories)
  • A custom coloring book featuring artwork AND a built in music player to listen to your favorite FBA songs while you draw.
  • Parent’s Corner shares with you the FAITH 5 concept– five easy steps to help keep your family together in a world that could tear it apart. – Share, Read, Talk, Pray and Bless.

You can find out more at Do go “like” them on facebook!

FAMILY BIBLE ADVENTURES HD trailer from Rising Star Studios on Vimeo.

*I received the Family Bible Adventure app in order to do this review. I have given my honest opinion.

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Always ice cream site

My daughter uses Always Ice Cream and I have a little nephew checking out Clever Dragons.

This online gaming and social site is, to me, very well managed. They have moderators and security and parents are given updates on the girls and boys activities on the site.

Many of the games are educational, but some stuff is just plain fun, too. Looking at safe funny videos on here, keeps your kids off of some of those questionable sites!

There really is tons to do. This online community and educational site for girls ages k-8, is one Emma does not tire of. I hear great things about the boy one, too. Read my original review. They often have deals and you can try them out for free.

Right now, through April 10th, the company is offering Family Lifetime Memberships for families of many children with an introductory offer of $149 instead of $259 for 4 children!

The offer will only be good for 10 days. After that a Spring Special for individual lifetime memberships is coming!

Note—if you have more than 4 children k-8, contact the company for your special deals.

Go try it:

This Holiday Season, I am glad to support those who support others!

PS: I also have some of these storybook apps and they are precious. I actually blogged about them when they first came out~so cute.  Curious? You can read my post here: Ruckus Storybook Apps. (But come click through these links here to support St. Judes).

The Official Word:

Ruckus Media Group, the global children’s media company, announced today that it has partnered for the first time with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for the annual Thanks and Giving campaign, a holiday program that asks shoppers to “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not,” while shopping this holiday season.

Ruckus will donate to St. Jude 100% of the net proceeds ($1.39) of the company’s classic Read-Play-and-Record Along Rabbit Ears interactive storybooks from November 15 – December 31, 2011.  Customers will be supporting the hospital’s lifesaving work of finding cures and saving children with deadly diseases with each app download of the following titles, all specially priced at $1.99 during the campaign:

“By participating in our Thanks and Giving campaign, Ruckus Media Group joins an illustrious list of some of the most compassionate businesses and great brands in the country,” said Marlo Thomas, national outreach director for St. Jude. “The commitment of Ruckus Media and their customers to this campaign helps ensure that the children of St. Jude get the chance to enjoy many more holidays for years to come.”

To purchase Ruckus’ interactive storybooks for iOS mobile devices and help support this campaign during the holiday season, visit the Ruckus Media Group page at iTunes. To learn more about the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign or to make a donation visit or call 1-800-4STJUDE. 






She likes the game so much, now she wants a Pillow Pet:)

Have you heard about Pillow Pets? These are snuggly little pillow creatures such as unicorns and turtles, Ladybugs and dinosaurs. Kids seem to love them. My child included.

And…wait for it…

As of October 25, kids can take playing with their pillow pets into a whole other dimension, while playing Pillow Pets™ game for Nintendo DS. My opinion? This is a safe, pleasant little Nintendo DS game for young children.

From a child’s point of view:


  • Exploration: Explore the Dreamlands of the Pillow Pets, such as Rainbow Valley, the Forest, the Palace.
  • Goal: Find and Collect 16 Pillow Pets you can name and customize with all kinds of accessories.
  • Collect rewards and bonuses along the way.

The best age range for this game: I would say about 4-8, young players with little to some gaming experience.

The graphics are bright and cheery:

Pillow Pets™ game for Nintendo DS is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB and retails for around $19.99.

For more information, visit: Purchase Pillow Pets on

I received a copy of  Pillow Pets™ to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and have given my opinion.


Looking for a new DS game for your kids? I like this one.

Explore an island, cook s’mores, craft a campfire…even escape from monkeys with Mama and Papa, in this just released island adventure game. You can choose to play as Mama’s son or daughter.

Camping Mama has over 100 different stylus games and 38 levels of play.  The game is rated E and it really is. The graphics, activities and humor are all very kid friendly. I like that the theme is on family and that you explore and create to help Mama. Sometimes, you get assistance from Mama or Papa, depending on the activity. I also noticed there is a lot of positive feedback when you win, which is fun for kids.

This game is making ME wish we were camping. The bugs are adorable.

The graphics are so bright and creative. The sound is not annoying. Some of the activities are hilarious.

Crossing the river, getting away from bees, splunking, making fishing poles, setting up your camping tent are just a few of the things you get to do.

This game might be a great thing to get a child to get them ready to go camping. My daughter is already playing campfire now and asking when we can go camping.

Great characters and catchy music. In fact, right now, you can enter a contest to add a verse to the song in the trailer below.

The Official Word:

  • Explore the camp site and island as you play a mix of stylus-based cooking, crafting, treasure hunting, and action mini-games in the signature Mama format.
  • Experience nature in a variety of settings, such as the Forest, Mountains, and Seas in day, night, snow, and more!
  • Find treasure that you can use in further adventures, or even to decorate your camp.
  • Earn the highest achievement level by creating the rarest and strongest tools.
  • Collect insects, fish, treasure, and more, and then survey your collection in your scrap book. Aim to find everything!
  • Perfect mini games you’ve unlocked in Challenge Mode.

I really think video games can be good for helping kids learn fine motor skills and patience! Here is what Em thought:

Camping Mama: Outdoor Adventures, is available for Nintendo DS, with a retail price of $29.99 at retailers everywhere.


 Majesco Entertainment Company is a provider of video games for the mass market. More info can be found online at

I received a copy of Camping Mama to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and have given my opinion.



iPad App, Teddy’s Day Free!

Heather —  December 19, 2010


Just passing on a quick note about a sweet looking  and currently FREE app for those of you with iPads (luckies!)

“Auryn has made its digital storybook iPad app Teddy’s Day FREE for the holidays. The iPad app is currently in the Apple store top 50, and can be downloaded here:

“What Does My Teddy Do All Day?” is an enchanting, interactive storybook about a little girl’s curiosity about what her beloved teddy does when she’s away. Will you help her catch Teddy having fun and secret adventures? Kids will love immersing themselves in a world of wonder and imagination, where characters come to animated life and respond to playful taps and tickles. Special interactive elements, including a color drawing tablet, makes this app in a class of its own. “Teddy” is sure to win the hearts of kids and parents everywhere.”


Giveaway Closed. These new apps look delightful! I haven’t tried them out, because I just have the iTouch–these are currently for the iPod and iPad, but I love the samples and the voices of Meryl Streep and Robin Williams, just for starters. And, it says you can record voices for personalized storytelling. How wild!

Definitely storybooks for the 21st century!

Anyway, I’m going to pass on this information and–I can giveaway a set! Read on!

“Ruckus Media Group, has just released their first classic animated children’s story applications for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The company’s first apps draw from the award-winning Rabbit Ears Library and feature well-known classic children’s stories told by top Hollywood celebrities. Each Play-Read-and-Record-Along application is available for $3.99 through Apple’s iTunes App Store and includes a classic video, readable text story and the ability to record voices for personalized storytelling. You can check them out at Ruckus Media Group or, just buy them on itunes:

The Velveteen Rabbit – Told by Meryl Streep, illustrated by Dave Jorgenson with music by George Winston. No child should miss this classic story of a toy, stuffed rabbit and his quest to become real through the love of his owner.
Tom Thumb and the Knights of the Round Table – Told by John Cleese, illustrated by Tim Gabor with music by Elvis Costello. No bigger than his father’s thumb, tiny Tom Thumb is on a larger-than-life journey in the land of King Arthur where his small size leads to mishaps and adventure.
PECOSBILLICONPecos Bill – Told by Robin Williams, illustrated by Tim Raglin with music by Ry Cooder. Pecos Bill is the bravest, orneriest cowboy in the Wild West, and the tall tales of his adventures are full of fun. The tale is one of courage, strength and humor.
John Henry – Told by Denzel Washington, illustrated by Barry Jackson with music by B.B. King. The tale of Big John Henry and his hammer, faster than any machine, belongs in every child’s memory and has been a staple of American mythology for well over a hundred years.
Johnny Appleseed – Told by Garrison Keillor, illustrated by Stan Olson with music by Mark O’Connor. The true story of John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, who roamed the frontier planting apple trees and spreading goodwill is intimately tied to the domestication of America. Parents’ Choice Gold Award for audio.

“We create stories for mobile devices that entertain toddlers to teens from their fingers to their minds, at home or on the road—and invite their imaginations to grow,” said founder and CEO Robert Richter. “Our applications are ideal for today’s families who are perpetually ‘on the go.’ It’s our goal to immerse children in a world of imagination.”

Ruckus Mobile Media is currently developing original apps with bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators including Jon Scieszka, Rosemary Wells, Andrew Clements, Patricia MacLachlan and David Carter, among others, to create interactive works not possible within the pages of a printed book. The first two of these original applications, due next month, will be “Andrew Answers” by Alan Katz, author of “Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs” and “A Present for Milo” by Mike Austin.

For the mandatory entry, tell me which story you’d enjoy most!

For additional entries, you can:

I will choose a winner on 11/27/10. Giveaway is for US only. Please remember to leave a way for me to contact you in your comments!