I’m in Love with the XBox 360

Xbox-360-250GB-Special-Edition-kinect-Sensor-and-Kinect-Adventures.jpgI have to admit it. I feel like I’m cheating on my Wii. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Wii – but a few days ago a package arrived on my doorstep and the moment I assembled it, I was hooked. You see, my family was one of the first on the planet who got to experience the XBox 360 before its official release in stores and now that retailers have opened the floodgates, I hear those X-Boxes are flying off the shelves!
But let me get back to the task at hand. My review of the XBox 360. Well, here’s the first thing – I can actually beat my kids at the games. Okay – maybe I shouldn’t gloat but when you remove the controllers from the game equation, adults don’t necessarily make fools of themselves. Okay, strike that – with the XBox 360, you get to see yourself on TV looking really silly because the game takes pictures and video of you in motion!
kinectsports-play.jpgSo far, we got the chance to try out 6 games and while I have my favorite – Dance Central, my son is all about Kinect Sports where he absolutely loves the boxing game. Between the cool music and the realistic feel to getting your lights punched out, I have to admit, the boxing ring game is pretty awesome. You know what else is great? Soccer. My son challenged me to that game and while I kicked his tail the first game, kicking like a mad woman, he brought up his game several notches and scored four straight goals against me in game two.
I also tried out Your Shape Fitness Evolved which features workouts by Men’s Health and Women’s Health. I tried the kick boxing and the tai chi workouts and while I did feel the burn with the boxing, what I didn’t like is that the sensor totally scans your body and shows it on the screen – which means yours truly looked like a big blob. Sure I now know I have to lose weight – which is the sole purpose for the game but I would so love for that sensor to act like a skinny mirror instead.
Kinect-Adventures.jpgNext on our list was Kinect Adventures – this one is a favorite among all our family members. The cool thing about this game is that you can pair up in a raft and then go careening down a river while picking up tons of coins along the way. The cool thing is, you totally feel like you’re in the boat and riding those waves and even if you crash into poles and bump into rocks, you don’t die – you just keep on going!
Which leads me to Kinect Joy Ride. Similar to Kinect Adventures, this time you’re at the wheel of a car and you’re steering your way on a race track, jumping out of the car and landing back on the ground, doing stunts and you do not need a controller to drive! Just your two hands and your body. You can also race each other on the open road or the track – it’s a pure adrenaline rush and once again, you use your body to win the game.
Next up, Kinectimals – for the ultimate animal lover, this incredible game enables you to befriend a cub (you pick Bengal Tiger, Lion, Panther, Cheetah or Leopard) and then you take a journey with your pet using your voice and body to interact with the cub. Do you realize how cool it is to play with a pet that doesn’t ruin the furniture? If only I knew about Kinectimals before we adopted our psychotic cat that has wreaked havoc upon my couches.
Xbox-360-Kinect-Dance-Central-Video-Game.jpgLast, but not least is my favorite game of all…Dance Central. If you’re a fan of “Dancing with the Stars” then you are totally going to love this experience. You select your avatar (my son is partial to Angel, I went for Aubrey) and you dance to pop, rock and funk hits. My personal best was the routine I performed with Angel as my guide when we rocked out to “Funky Town.” The cool thing about Dance Central is that you can break down the routine and practice it, or you can give the entire dance a try by following the moves of the dancer on the screen. You then earn points for your fancy footwork. You can even challenge family and friends to a dance off. There are at least 20 songs to choose from and as you master the game, you unlock more difficult routines. LOVE IT!!!
So now that I’ve given you a review of all the games we received, our next post will tackle all the online options that you can receive if you opt to connect to XBox Live. To find out more about the 360 XBox visit their website and get ready to transform your gaming experience!

Strawberry Shortcake’s 30th Anniversary Bash

More check-ins at Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter 2
Powered by Whrrl

Recently, I got the chance to celebrate a very special milestone at Alice’s Tea Cup in New York City with some of my favorite parenting bloggers and their great looking kids. Joined by fabulous co-host Kim Coleman, parents, grandparents and kids came out to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Strawberry Shortcake in an event sponsored by American Greetings Properties. As the moms reminisced about their favorite Strawberry Shortcake moments (Dina at Babycenter admitted having posters of Strawberry Shortcake on her bedroom wall), the kids had a blast, dancing with life-sized cartoon friends and posing for photos. Plus, there was face painting, a caricature artist, computer games and yummy food – from grilled cheese to scones, tea sandwiches and more! Take a look…

At the event, the kids were introduced to”Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures” which began airing nationwide October 10th on The Hub, a new TV network for kids and their families. The Hub is a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Hasbro, Inc. and the series follows Strawberry Shortcake and her five berry best friends Blueberry Muffin, Plum Pudding, Raspberry Torte, Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue in the whimsical land of Berry Bitty City, a tiny world underneath the leaves of a berry patch. Keeping with contemporary nutritional concerns, both Strawberry Shortcake and her magical home, Berry Bitty City, reflect a fruit-friendly atmosphere.
In addition to seeing a sneak peak of the Strawberry Shortcake series, the kids were also treated to previews of “Twisted Whiskers” which had parents and kids laughing out loud, and “Maryoku Yummy,” a cartoon about a magical place called Nozomu — where children’s Wishes go to be cared for and nurtured until they are granted!
In addition, Hasbro has created a special 30th Anniversary three pack of dolls that includes replicas of three original characters – Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Tart and Orange Blossom – exactly as they appeared in 1980. Each doll is outfitted in her classic fruit-themed pinafore and bonnet and emits their classic fruit scent. We actually got to do a sniff test at the event and the signature Strawberry Shortcake smells were there! The retro-inspired collection will be available on TysToyBox.com and www.hasbrotoyshop.com beginning this November (for ages 3 years & up, approximate retail price: $29.99).
An array of digital offerings are also launching this month including a new Berry Happy Birthday theme on StrawberryShortcake.com which features fun-filled activities to throw your berry own Strawberry Shortcake party. StrawberryShortcake.com also includes a section for parents filled with nostalgic Strawberry Shortcake fun facts and timeless recipes for moms and daughters to enjoy together. Additionally, Strawberry Shortcake is introducing her first-ever iPhone application this fall where players are tasked with helping Strawberry Shortcake prepare for a big party at her Berry Cafe and fill all of her smoothie orders.
For more information about Strawberry Shortcake and her magical fruit-filled world, visit www.strawberryshortcake.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/strawberryshortcake.

Three Must Have Wii Games

As the holiday season approaches, here at Role Mommy we have product testers (my children) rigorously trying out products that are about to hit stores and sharing their honest opinions about what games their friends should tell their moms they want come gift giving time.
Recently, we got the chance to have a party with my kids – compliments of Nintendo and Domino’s Pizza and during that time, we played several new games. Here’s an overview of all of them and you can decide which ones to add to your shopping list!
wii-party-box-012.jpgWii Party – The cool thing about Wii Party is that up to four members of your family can play at the same time! That means no one has to argue over who goes first. Plus, in addition to the games you can play in pairs (we were particularly proficient at the sinking ship balance game) there are over 80 mini games to play – from a Mario style Board Game to Bingo to kart racing, zombie games and more, I love the fact that there are so many options and you don’t have to play the same game over and over again. Plus, the controllers come to life during the games – they vibrate, they chirp and do all kinds of cool things that’ll entertain kids and adults. The game retails for $49.99 (not including additional Wii controllers)
Kirby’s Epic Yarn – When I first tried this game out by myself, I thought that it seemed a bit young for my kids (my son is 8 and my daughter was 11). Boy, how wrong I was! When the game arrived, my son couldn’t stop playing it and then exclaimed – “Mom, this is the best game ever!” The great thing about the game is its creativity. Kirby has been transformed into a ball of yarn and has to defeat all kind of yarn type creatures in Yarn world. He can also turn himself into a yarn car, swing a piece of yarn to vanquish enemies and of course, capture lots of points along the way. The levels get progressively harder which makes it totally exciting for my kids since they love competing against one another to make it to more challenging parts of the game. Check out the trailer below for a sneak peak. The game was released last week for $49.99, so run, don’t walk to make sure it’s on your child’s must-have list!

PokePark-Pikachus-Adventure_nWii_BOX-tempboxart_160w.jpgPokePark Wii – Pikachu’s Adventure – Put Pokémon in an adventure game on the Wii and you’re sure to have instant fans. My son whipped this one open pretty quickly once it arrived on our doorstep and instantly guided Pikachu through a forest filled with all kinds of interesting Pokémon creatures. In PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure, Pikachu heads to the PokéPark to find the missing Sky Prism Pieces, collecting points along the way. Cha ching! The game was released on November 1 and retails for $49.99.
For more new Wii games, including great picks for the DS, visit the Nintendo site today.

POLITICIANS: STOP SPAMMING ME!!!

Screen shot 2010-11-02 at 8.42.36 AM.pngOkay – I’ve about had it. It is officially Election Day which means after today the emails, the crank calls, the signs, the flyers and the dirty campaign ads will be gone! I have to say, I remember about three years ago signing up to receive emails from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. At times, I actually was interested in what they were sending to me – the invites for private dinners that would cost me at least 1,000 dollars if I actually took them up on my offer; the promises they planned to make if they landed the top spot in Washington and much much more.
But a funny thing happened after President Obama took office and Hillary Clinton began travelling around the globe as Secretary of State. The emailing didn’t stop. In fact, I’m convinced that the Democratic Party took my sign of being interested in the election to mean that I wanted to be on every single mailing list they were shooting out to unsuspecting voters like me. And that meant that suddenly, without warning, even though I never remember signing up to receive anything from Kristin Gillibrand, I was soon becoming her BFF – receiving at least 3-5 emails per week. Coming from behind was Chuck Schumer – who I really do like since my dad knew him before he actually became a big time senator when he lived in Brooklyn and would make appearances at school events and civic meetings.
Today, I also received an email from Mitch Stewart – he’s Barack Obama’s official e-newsletter representative. I receive emails from Mitch at least five times a week. And the emails usually have cliches in the subject head. Today it’s: Organizing for America: It’s Game Time.
I also received an email today from Representative Chris Van Hollen – I have no idea who the heck he is but he thanked me for his support (no problem Chris) and then encouraged me to use social media to spread the word about voting, the Democrats, yada yada yada.
There were plenty more emails I received, but these were just a few that found their way into my mailbox this morning.
And let us not forget the phone calls. I don’t know about you, but I personally love it when my home phone and business line ring at the exact same time and I pick one of them up only to hear a recorded message from a politician who starts spouting about the importance of voting, or shares their track record on certain issues. Last week I hung up on John McCain (my husband is Republican). Honestly, if the real John McCain had called our house, I would not have slammed the phone down back into the receiver. It’s just that when politicians reduce themselves to the role of telemarketers, I am not buying.
Let’s move on to the airwaves. This past Saturday, I was watching News12 Westchester and caught a heated debate between Suzi Oppenheimer and Bob Cohen. Both seemed interesting enough until Suzi was asked a question and she proceeded to hurl about a dozen insults Bob’s way, including calling him a slum lord. Yikes. Now if Bob is a slum lord, then Suzi – way to go – but if there is any inkling, that maybe, just maybe he’s not really that bad, I would call those comments slanderous. Why do politicians feel the need to bring out the awful backgrounds of their opponents instead of discussing what they will honestly do differently when they are in office? Can anyone please tell me why no one can stop the rising costs of my property taxes? Honestly, if someone came into office and told me they could reduce our taxes by a few thousand dollars, then they’d get my vote.
What will not get my vote are crank callers, spammers, sour grapes politicians who delight in hurling insults or threatening each other (sorry Carl Paladino – had to call you out on that one). What will get my vote are the politicians who go old school – like Amy Paulin – who actually came out to New Rochelle this week to judge a community Halloween parade in Wilmot Woods. It was funny, when I first saw her, I thought she was a woman dressed up as Amy Paulin and then discovered it was really her. Way to go Amy – thanks for actually paying a visit and meeting your neighbors face to face then emailing us into submission.
So now that I’ve aired my complaints about the current state of campaigning, here’s my two cents. Politicians – please stop spamming me. If you want to call me – then seriously, pick up the phone and don’t use your recorded voice. Invite me out – but don’t make me pay to meet you. Give a speech that puts faith back in the system and don’t abuse social media. If you have a Facebook fan page, great – that means people are interested in hearing what you have to say. But do not clog my inbox every day with emails I never signed up for in the first place. Please get back to the basics – find out what we care about and what bugs us and work hard to try to address those issues. And if you can’t do that, then maybe it’s time to hang up the phone, lay off mailchimp and find another line of work.

The Dinner Mom’s Egg-cellent Brunch

Dinner for Busy Moms Author and Writer Jeanne Muchnick Cooks Up a Fabulous Brunch Courtest of Eggland’s Best
SANY0009.JPG
I’m a big proponent of eggs. I talk about breakfast for dinner a lot in my book, Dinner for Busy Moms. I also talk a about having hard-boiled eggs on hand for a quick protein to go in our first issue of Project You Magazine. Which is why I was so thrilled and darn-good “egg” cited (sorry: couldn’t resist!) to host an Eggland’s Best “Pink” party.
This year, Eggland’s Best is sponsoring the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the fight against breast cancer. All eggs — in extra large, large, and jumbo dozens now carry the “pink ribbon” to their iconic “EB” stamp. EB is also donating $50,000 to support the Komen for the Cure. (And yes, full disclosure — the company gave me money to host a party and educate my friends and neighbors not only about this deadly disease, but about how delicious and high in levels of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin Eggland’s Best are. They also contain 25% less saturated fat and 19% less cholesterol than regular eggs which make them a top choice in my family.)
My mom died from breast cancer so anything related to the fight against breast cancer is near and dear to my heart. In fact, I did the American Strides for Breast Cancer walk last Sunday with my 15-year-old daughter, Sydney, and the 3-Day Susan G. Komen Walk a few years ago with my sister.
Knowing I’m supporting a great cause while also whipping up breakfast made me happy. Seeing the pink ribbon on the eggs while I cracked them open reminded me of cooking with my mom and was a nice reminder of “old times.”
I also liked the recipes Eggland’s Best offers on its website because they’re so easy — even for a “non-cook” like me. I made the Autumn Omelette which was chock full of seasonal veggies. It was also low in calories and just plain DELISH.
I also created my own Muchnick “McMuffin” using six eggs, steamed broccoli from a bag (I’m all about convenience), a handful of cherry tomatoes and low-fat provolone cheese. I then beat together with a little low fat milk and some fresh rosemary, and put in pink ribbon cupcake holders and baked at 375 for 25 minutes. The result? Good…but I should have used more salt and pepper and I should have just placed the mixture directly in the muffin pan as the bottoms got a little soggy with the pink ribbon cups. My “EB Pink Party” also included banana bread. And, since I’m all about “fun,” I decorated my dining room table with egg slicers and scrapers and mashers from joie (www.msc-international.com) and got pink plates and napkins to go with our “pink” theme.
The autumn omelette was the hit of the party — as was my banana bread (the secret: mushy bananas) and unique egg decor. Everyone also enjoyed the pink cupcake theme. (I find sometimes just mixing up the containers — at least with kids — gets them eating something they might not normally.) My “Muchnick McMuffin” — is now something my girls can eat before school tomorrow (I made a lot). The Autumn Omelette, which came out exactly as it looks in the Eggland’s Best recipe page, is already gone. Take a look…

You can find more recipes, including a delicious sounding egg breakfast quesadilla I have on my radar for another Sunday morning at www.EgglandsBest.com. I also would love to hear YOUR thoughts on how you use eggs in non-traditional ways.
Disclosure: This compensated post is sponsored by Egglands Best.

Twitter Tuesdays with “The Talk”

the_talk_twitter_icon.jpgWe’ll be back again this Tuesday live tweeting during “The Talk,” a new daytime talk show which premiered last week on CBS and features Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini, Holly Robinson Peete, Sara Gilbert and Marissa Jaret Winokur.
Our tweet-up topic du jour will focus on Election Day – from the negative campaign ads to the issues that are most important to you. Just enter #TheTalk on www.tweetchat.com, follow @rolemommy, @TheTalk_CBS and you are good to go. Hope you can join us and if you have any Election Day posts you’d like to share, please comment now!
And if you missed today’s episode featuring Barry Manilow (love him), take a look at this clip: