Keeping Kids Busy on Summer Road Trips


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I’m sure you’ve been there before. You’ve packed snacks, shoved your luggage, roller blades and tennis rackets in the trunk, jerry rigged the bike rack to the car, gassed up and are finally ready to hit the open road. What you may fail to anticipate however, is the bumper to bumper traffic you’ll be sitting in while your kids pester you from the back seat with the dreaded question – Are We There Yet???
As a road trip warrior, I’ve got some great game and gadget options that’ll keep kids of varying ages entertained as you traverse the highways and byways of our glorious country. So what’s the secret behind a smooth summer road trip with your family? Here’s our Fave Five:
big_nintendodsixl_00.jpg1. Nintendo DSi XL – We received a complimentary DSi XL to review when it was first released this spring and my kids have been fighting over it ever since it arrived on our doorstep. So what’s so great about about the DSi XL? Well, the screen is way bigger than the traditional DSi, there’s also built-in educational software including Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: Arts Edition and a comprehensive dictionary – which my husband loves since he’s a walking thesaurus – but more on him later. There’s even an option to create your own digital short movies complete with audio…I’ve even created a few Peanuts movies of my own since I’m proficient at stick figures, Snoopy and Woodstock. As with the Lite, XL owners are also able to download games through the Nintendo DSi Shop and create and share photos – which my kids happen to love!!! Of course, there are also plenty of game options – including the brand new Mario Party 8 for DS , Atari Sandlot Sluggers, Style Savvy and one of my personal faves – Scribblenauts!
Screen shot 2010-06-03 at 4.13.01 PM.png 2. Bring Books to Life with Your iPhone, iTouch or iPad – Whenever my kids are completely bored, they ask me to hand over my iPhone so they can download apps to pass the time away. But thanks to the folks at MobiStories, I now have the upperhand! If you want to really knock your kids socks off, then try out the latest innovation in children’s book technology with the debut of The Marvelous Toy – a digital and musical children’s book now available on MobiStories on PC’s, iPhones, iTouch and the iPad. Your kids will be mesmerized as they touch the screen and the images are literally brought to life in front of their eyes. Plus, in addition to their latest release, Mobistories offers a host of downloadable picture book options for kids ages 2-10.
3. A DVD Double Feature – Turn your laptop into a movie screen or better yet, pick up an inexpensive DVD player you can strap to the back of your seat so that your kids can catch their favorite movies – incidentally, “Alice in Wonderland” was just released this week on DVD and in my house, “The Tooth Fairy” is a current must-see (at least a dozen times or more). And hopefully, if you’re not driving, you can grab a seat in the middle, whip out a bag of popcorn and watch right along with them. Another option, take the quiet time to read on your Kindle, iPad or crack open a good book…now that’s a novel idea!
MadLibs.jpg4. Mad Libs – If your kids are proficient at potty words (ie. poop, fart, etc), they will have an absolute blast filling in the blanks to the age old road trip conversation starter – Mad Libs. We actually gave these out at my daughter’s birthday party and they have taken up permanent residence in our car. Funny, but when I used to play with Mad Libs way back when, I thought my stories were hilarious too.
5. The License Plate Math Game – I have to give credit to my husband on this one. Whenever we’re in the car, he will encourage the kids to add the numbers in a license plate and whoever gets the answer quicker, wins the points. They do the same thing with the alphabet – they look for every letter in the alphabet and call it out as a car is whizzing by. Obviously, the driver should not participate in this game, but my hubby can’t help himself – he’s very competitive.Thumbnail image for licenseplates.jpg
Do you have any summer road trip tips? We’d love to hear them!

The Find’s Fave of the Day

TOMS Shoes – Giving Back One Pair of Shoes at a Time

Tomsshoes
How can a single pair of TOM’s shoes change the world? Well, according to TOMS shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, it can save lives – one shoe at a time. While traveling in Argentina in 2006 Blake found that many children had no shoes to protect their feet. In response Blake founded TOMS and returned later that year to give 10,000 pairs of shoes to deserving children all thanks to the purchases made by TOMS customers. So a single pair of shoes can change a life and perhaps the world.

We took the time to chat with a member of the TOMS team to learn more about this innovative and socially conscious company.

1. What is the inspiration behind the new Wrap Boot?
The TOMS Wrap Boot is inspired by the colorful leg wraps worn by Argentine Polo horses. Blake authored a short story that tells the tale of a newly-wed young woman who, to win back the attention of her Polo champion husband, wrapped her legs with the brilliant elastic creating a sassy, flirtatious look. Read the full story and see the looks here!

2. Tell us what happens on a typical “Shoe Drop Tour”.
An Argentina Shoe Drop Tour is a group experience where volunteers hand-place matched pairs of TOMS Shoes on children’s feet and explore some of the country’s most intriguing neighborhoods and activities.

3. How can our readers get involved in the TOMS movement?
– Buy TOMS and wear them daily – share the One for One movement with everyone you meet!
– Stay connected through our emails, Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter
– Share the documentary: YouTube.com/TOMSshoes
– Be part of the TOMS family by applying for an internship on your campus, at TOMS HQ, or on the road as a TOMS Vagabond
Apply to go on a TOMS Shoe Drop Tour

4. What are the various ways an individual can make a difference?
Know that as a consumer you can choose products that offer sustainability, giving, and positivity at their core. TOMS guarantees that for every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. In the end, “the more you give, the more you live!”

5. What can our readers look forward to in the upcoming collections for TOMS shoes?
TOMS remains true to the classic lines of the Argentine alpargata shoe, but you can look forward to fresh new variations this summer and laces this fall!

Coupon Code: TOMSbday valid for 5% off at www.TOMSshoes.com and expires 5/15.

The “This Economy Blows” Fave Five

Since it’s officially spring break, I figured I’d give some shout outs to five things we’re doing with our family since we’ve decided to stay home due to this ridiculously depressing recession.
1. Take your brood to see Monsters vs. Aliens in a movie theater that is frequented by no one. Strange but true, we took our kids to see this flick yesterday and while I admit maybe no one was at the movies because it was a beautiful day, this marked the first time in our lives that we were the only four people in the theater. I guess spending $31 on tickets and $9 on two sodas is starting to grate on people’s nerves.
2. Get ready to make matzoh balls, matzoh brei, matzoh kugel, and matzoh cake. In less than 48 hours it will be all matzoh, all the time. At least for the Feldmans. Stay tuned for some fabulous recipes in tomorrow’s blog – including a matzoh brei with splenda that’s to die for. (shrug shoulders after you read that sentence).
3. Search online for places you’d like to visit if you suddenly won the lottery. Just got an email today from JetBlue offering amazing rates to St. Maarten. Clicked on the link and thought, “wow, they are not kidding.” Then realized I just paid our taxes, my daughter’s sleepaway camp bill, the orthodontist and still have to pay the property taxes and instantly came to my senses.
4. Watch Jurassic Park instead of Space Chimps (good choice) because the damn cable company blocked us from ordering a pay per view flick because we couldn’t remember our secret pin. Considering I never even created a secret pin, I think Optimum Online has officially lost our pay per view business for life. Hello Verizon Vios, I think it’s time to make a switch.
5. Promise myself that when I hit New York Sports Club tomorrow morning that I will truly work up a sweat. No more watching the morning news and reading my latest book of the moment while pedaling on the recumbent bike at a snail’s pace. With six weeks left until shorts season, I’m ready to kick it into high gear or else risk another season of cankles and knee fat.

The Thursday Fave Five

Today’s Fave Five centers on my favorite topic…entertainment. This week, we got the chance to speak with two stars in one day, so we figured we’d give a little link love to some of our favorite Role Mommies and Role Daddy celebrities!
1. Today, we got the chance to meet Roscoe Orman, also known as SesameStreetDad on Twitter or to your kids…Gordon from Sesame Street! Gordon is the chief storyteller for AudibleKids.com and we took part in a private lunch with some of our favorite mom bloggers at Mommasaid.net, Melissa Chapman at Time Out NY Kids and NYC Moms Blog, Vanessa at Chef Druck Musings and New Jersey Moms Blog, Suzanne at Green Baby, Esti at Primetime Parenting and Lori at Bored in the Burbs, Wendy at Babies Gotta Have It and Phillipa at JuiceBoxJungle. Plus, some of the moms brought their kids and they were mesmerized by Roscoe and his special impression of Elmo. More news to come soon on the great offerings by AudibleKids.
2. We also got to interview one of our favorite reality TV hosts, Phil Keoghan, the host of the Emmy award-winning series “The Amazing Race” on CBS. Phil is about to embark on a 30 city bike tour to raise money for MS and he hopes to cover 100 miles each day until he makes it to New York in time for the finale of “Race” in May. Visit www.philridesacrossamerica.com and to listen in to our interview, click on the link below:

3. 04_06_09.jpgBest magazine cover of the week…Valerie Bertinelli on the cover of People Magazine sporting a bikini. I have always loved her and was so impressed last year by her Jenny Craig weight loss success that I joined too and lost weight. Of course, I gained it back and am continuing to diet yet again, but either way, Valerie – you’re an inspiration to yo yo dieters everywhere!
4. I know there are lots of movies coming out over the next few weeks, but top on my list is Monsters vs. Aliens (gotta love Reese Witherspoon and Seth Rogen) and 17 Again (gotta love Matthew Perry and Zac Ephron). I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to fill up on some popcorn and diet coke and laugh right along with my kids.
5. Since I’ve been hitting the gym a few days each week, I’ve been tuning into one of my favorite morning talk shows…“Live with Regis & Kelly.” I don’t know about you, but no matter what new show or morning talk duo hits the airwaves, nobody can beat Regis and Kelly – they are hilarious, great storytellers and make my 20 minutes on the elliptical fly by. Oh, and am totally loving bad hair week. I’m a sucker for makeovers.
Have an item you want to submit for Fave Five? Then what are you waiting for? Email us at beth@rolemommy.com.

The Wednesday Fave Five

Today’s Fave Five will focus on finances because in light of this ridiculously bad economy, we could all use a little cheap advice on how to save money, where to find great deals and who is giving the best advice during these trying times.
1. As much as I love surfing the web, I also enjoy reading insightful articles from The Bottom Line, a custom published weekly newsletter offering tips on everything from investments to retirement, health and much more. If you’ve got 10 minutes, then that’ll give you just enough time to read Bottom Line from cover to cover.
2. If you’re looking to save big on the homefront, then visit Mom Advice, whose founder, Amy Clark is featured in this month’s Redbook Magazine. Check out her blog on the No Spend Challenge where Amy offers tips on how to make it through 30 days without splurging on useless items.
3. If you’re looking for deals on the best shopping finds on the web, then here’s a simple solution…visit The Find and their new blog, The Find Buzz which shares the inside scoop on the latest steals and deals.
4. I never really watch financial news, but lately, I’ve found my self gravitating toward CNN and MSNBC since they’ve been featuring stories and experts offering great advice and leads on how to find a job, reinvent yourself, pursue a new passion and much more. Favorite segment yesterday was on CEO’s who became pizza delivery men and taxi drivers. Maybe we should all just go back into farming and call it a day.
5. On April 2, Jean Chatzky, author of the new bestseller “The Difference” will be doing a free chat on Liveperson.com. If you’re in need of some great advice on how to manage your finances and prosper even in tough economic times, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear directly from Chatzky who will be available to answer your questions at Liveperson.
To hear some of Jean’s tips in the meantime, the click on the video below…

Tuesday Fave Fives

Today’s favorites range from fabulous finds to incredibly touching blog posts, to freebies to Late Night TV news to fabulous shopping blogs. So without further ado, here’s are our Tuesday Fave Fives…
1. I’ve been surfing Twitter for most of the night and during that time, I came across the following posts from two courageous mom bloggers who are going through some scary and difficult times with their infants. Visit Meagan Francis and My Charming Kids to read their heart wrenching stories.
2. Check out this post in today’s Momlogic community involving the dangers of leaving children in cars. Another reason to slow down and stop living your life on auto pilot.
3. In case you’re wondering or in case you care, David Letterman finally decided to get married. I guess he was tired of having people call his girlfriend Regina, his Baby Mama.
4. Over at Freebies for Mom are some important essentials. Free toilet paper! Hey, what are you waiting for? This is a freebie that anyone can use…over and over and over again!
5. Loving the Popshopology blog. Reviews are featured each day for trendy, techy and out of the ordinary finds. Gotta love the meat pillows. Yes, meat pillows. Don’t believe me? Then click here to check it out.

The Wednesday Fave Five

We know you’ve been sitting on pins and needles wondering when we’d be posting our fave five of the day…well you’re wait is finally over. Thanks to everyone who submitted a fave for the day and if you’ve got something we should know about, then what are you waiting for?
image001.gif1. It’s Hip Hop Baby This innovative multicultural education series encourages learning and achieving key developmental milestones by getting kids moving and grooving with hip hop music. Created by Emmy-winning children’s television producer Candi Carter with inspiration from her young son, Hip Hop Baby has received the thumbs up from nationally recognized pediatrician and television personality, Dr. Lisa Thornton and celebrity parent advocates including NBA legend Bob Lanier and Grey’s Anatomy actor Justin Chambers. Visit Amazon and order Hip Hop Baby today!
2. No More Fattening Road Trip Meals! A new mobile application for BlackBerry and iPhone makes eating out at fast food and casual dining restaurants a healthier experience. GoodFoodNearYou is the first free web and mobile service to search for location-based restaurant nutrition information anywhere in the U.S. Just think…instead of ordering the usual fries witha diet coke at McDonald’s, GoodFoodNearYou will help you find tons of restaurant food options that are healthier and have lower calories, fat, and carbs. Visit GoodFoodNearYou on the web and get directions to download the free mobile apps.
3. Calling All Jr. Cooks! If you’ve got a kid with a penchant for cooking, then do we have an opportunity for them! Jr. Chefs of America is holding open casting calls in Los Angeles to find the next best kid chef that will be featured in original webisodes on their site! To find out more, visit Jr. Chefs of America today!
4. No More Junk Mail! The first day of spring is this Friday, March 20, and ProQuo has a great idea to kick off your spring cleaning activities with the family – get rid of all that unwanted junk mail clogging up your mailbox…and did you know that the average American receives about 848 pieces of unwanted junkmail per year (Yahoo Green). ProQuo offers an easy to use, one-stop Web site that helps stop up to 90% of your unwanted junk mail with just a few clicks of a button. By logging into ProQuo, you can take control of who gets access to your personal information, and choose which catalogs, credit cards and other offers you would like to receive, dramatically cutting down wasted solicitations and important mail clumped in with offers that you don’t want.
5. Favorite Facebook Application of the Day – Thanks to Flixster, I am now officially hooked on any Facebook quiz that revolves around 80’s movie trivia. I aced the 80’s movie quiz, but missed one on 80’s hunks – I think I screwed up on a trick question with that hottie from Sixteen Candles. Anyway, if your Facebook page hasn’t been invaded with that quiz yet, don’t fall for that multiple choice question that has Jake Ryan as an answer – it’ll do you in every time.
Related Posts:
The Tuesday Fave Five

The Tuesday Fave Five

It wasn’t easy, but we’ve finally managed to uncover our latest fave five of the day. So get ready to be informed, enlightened, inspired and entertained!
1. The best e mail forward of the day. Hand sanitizer among kids is highly dangerous if swallowed. Who knew? Snopes did.
2. Thanks to Vanessa at Chef Druck for posting a blog about the beauty of Tweetdeck. Until reading that post, I didn’t know it existed. Vanessa, you just rocked my Twitter world.
3. Traveling Mom’s top Spring break vacations. Still haven’t made plans for Spring Break? Have no fear, TMOM’s bloggers have some great vacation options for your family.
4. Dora the Sexy Explorer. Just as my little girl approaches her tween years, so does Dora the Explorer! Take a look at the latest photo of Senorita Dorita and tell me if you think she’s too sexy for middle school.
5. Hilarious blog alert…Check out Suburban Jungle and laugh until your sides hurt.
Related Entry:
The Monday Fave Five

The Monday Fave Five

Spent the weekend on the lookout for some fabulous faves – from movies, to TV, music, weight loss and more, check out our latest picks and let your fingers do the clicking.
1. Economical birthday party options ….the movie theater morning fiesta. The concept in theory is a good one – you pool your resources, chip in with another family, the theater accommodates more than 100 kids – they get free popcorn and soda at 10 am and then they get to sit and watch the latest Disney release, Race to Witch Mountain. Oh, and did I mention the birthday boys also get their name on the marquis? Well, it is a great idea – if the kids actually behave during the movie. Aside from the popcorn throwing, the standing up, running up and down the aisles and the incessant talking during the movie, it was a huge success. Favorite movie moment – seeing the original Tony and Tia from Escape to Witch Mountain make a surprise appearance in the new film.
2. Get some sleep and lose some weight. Finally – now I know why I’m not shedding pounds…I’m not sleeping enough. According to Weight Watchers, if you don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep per night, you’re sabotaging your weight loss goals. In light of national sleep awareness month, Americans can start giving sleep as much importance as food and water. Moreover, getting only 5-6 hours of sleep is the health equivalent of being 40 pounds overweight! This month, Jason Carpenter, Men’s editor of WeightWatchers.com, can provide a day-to-day regimen by sharing some tips and tricks on how to get more Z’s. So what are you “weighting” for???
3. Terrific Web Show for Moms…Wrote a post about how to become a Vlogging superstar that appeared on Twittermoms and one of the commenters sent a link to their vlog and it is hysterical. Check out Lipstick N’ Laundry and see for yourself!
4. Stop the presses…Rick Springfield is back! Caught this newsflash from the fabulous gals at Cool Mom Picks. Did you know that Rick Springfield (yes, remember Noah Drake from General Hospital) has a new lullaby CD out for babies. Now if Frisco Jones comes out with a CD for tweens, I am so all over that one.
5. Funniest weekend TV moment…SNL’s hilarious version of “The View” ladies at Disneyland.

If you missed our last Fave Five, then click here.