Activision Family Games Summit

This Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Activision will be hosting a special family games summit in New York City. However, they are also going to broadcast the event online for all of us to see. The summit will allow us to see what Activision is coming out with this holiday season! What a great way to get you started on the hot toys for your family this holiday season. There will also be a panel of experts to talk about it hosted by mother of two Soleil Moon Frye, also know for her role as Punky Brewster. 🙂

In the meantime, you can register for the Activision Family Games Summit and be part of the discussion. On Tuesday, you can follow the hashtag #ATVIFamGames on Twitter and follow the summit @ATVI_Family. The summit will begin at 12PM noon CST. For all of you joining me as a token of thanks for participating, I am giving away Activision’s Nintendo 3DS Bratz Fashion Boutique game along with the Bratz Boutique Yasmin Chic & Co. Doll. To enter, you MUST be register for the summit, you MUST participate in the summit and lastly, comment below what your Twitter name is. Thank you and good luck! 🙂

Disclosure: I will be receiving a gift box as I have been selected as an Activision Family Games Summit online host. No compensation was received. The opinions expressed are my own.

Holiday Showcase: Moshi Monsters

Moshi Monsters is an online world of adoptable pet monsters aimed at boys and girls aged 6–12, with 65 million registered users worldwide. Children choose from one of six virtual pet monsters that they can create, name and nurture. Once their pet has been customized, players can navigate their way around Monstro City, taking the daily puzzle challenge to earn “Rox” (virtual currency), playing games, personalizing their room, reading stories and communicating with friends in a safe environment.

Following its online success, Moshi Monsters has expanded commercially with physical products, including toys, the number-one selling kids’ magazine in the UK (Moshi Monsters magazine), a best-selling DS video game, a music album, books, membership cards, trading cards and even pasta (?!).

In time for the holiday season, Moshi Monsters will be introducing a new Nintendo DS™ and Nintendo 3DS™ game called “Moshi Monsters™: Moshlings™ Theme Park,” which should be hit for your grade-school kids.

One lucky Real Posh Mom readers will win The Moshi Monster Magazine + 24 hours FREE play online. To enter, answer the following question: “What’s your favorite theme park?” Giveaway ends November 16, 2012 at 5PM.

Holiday Showcase: Skylanders Giants

You know you live in a house full of gamers when you personally know the staff at your local GameStop. As I walk around the game store, I found the Skylanders figures cute. I wasn’t really sure how they were incorporated in a video game, but I noticed that Activision publishes this game, so they probably know what they are doing. It should be noted that I am NOT a gamer. 😉 I was quickly educated that Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure combined a physical and digital toy experience, redefining a new model of children’s play.

With the success of the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure comes a new saga for this video game. The sequel, Skylanders Giants, is a whole new game, not an add on to the original Skylanders. It is designed to allow your kids to bring their characters over from the previous game. Since all of the character data is stored on the physical model, your kids can easily bring that character into the new game. In fact, any Skylander they bring from the original game to Giants will be upgraded. This is great news for Skylanders fans as the the original figures will not be devalued by the newcomers.

Seeing the new Skylanders Giants figures at Time to Play Holiday Showcase, I am happy to recognize the same high level of design and craft being spent on each one. They are much bigger than the original models, and they bring their massive size into the game world as well. There is one Giant for each of the Skylanders‘ elements. Giants are able to interact with enemies and the landscape in a very different way than normal Skylanders. Like the previous game, Skylanders Giants will be available for just about every platform, and the characters are completely cross-platform. I absolutely LOVE this! If you’re still playing the original game, there’s backwards compatible content too.

In addition to the toys and the game, there is also a vast (and FREE!) virtual world online at Skylanders Universe. It’s one stop shop for Skylanders fans providing hours of added value play for kids and tweens with creative and engaging elements. Your kids will have fun entering the portal and building their army of Skylanders this holiday season!

Holiday Showcase: LeapFrog

Is the expensive iPad or Playstation Vita on your child’s wishlist? Then, you’ll be happy to know that LeapFrog has created two devices that will fit your budget and educate at the same time. LeapPad 2 is really the ultimate toy for children. With its tablet-like features, touchscreen, and stylus, the LeapPad 2 satisfies that curiosity. The device is well-built and well-designed. The technical specifications aren’t as large of a boost compared to what you might see in a smartphone or a video game console. It’s an excellent investment in your child’s early learning skills and an entertainment device that keeps their active minds busy. This device is designed for kids 3-9 years old.

(Left) LeapsterGS (Right) LeapPad2

Next is the Leapster GS. The Leapster GS is a great device for fast-action LeapFrog games because of its size and button controls.  It comes with a built-in microphone and back-facing camera.  This Leapster GS is designed for kids who are 4 to 9 years old.

As far as software, you’ll be glad to know that both systems are essentially backwards compatible. So whether you were using cartridges or downloading apps (priced from $5-$25) from LeapFrog‘s store, all of that content can go back and forth between the devices. That said, the LeapPad 2 comes pre-installed with a music player and a few creativity apps.

Last but not least, the LeapPad 2 has a Disney Princess-themed bundle that includes a case and other goodies for an extra $30.

Holiday Showcase: StoryBots

You may recognize hilarious political videos of brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis as the creative faces behind JibJab. As the years have gone by, they have established new roles – daddy!  At the recent Time to Play Toy Showcase, I was able to talk to this duo where they introduced me to their new venture, StoryBots™, a multi-platform entertainment property for kids and parents.

“We see how technology is radically changing the way kids engage with content in our own homes,” said the Spiridellis brothers. “Our kids don’t watch TV. They watch Netflix on the iPad. We’re fired up to use technology not only to distribute children’s entertainment, but to reinvent the storytelling formats themselves.” The StoryBots are brightly colored, infinitely curious little creatures who live in the world beneath our screens (iPhones, iPads, computers, televisions). Their mission is to make learning fun for kids – and life easier for parents – by offering personalized eBooks, videos and more.

One of the ways the Spiridellis brothers are reinventing storytelling is with personalization. With a few clicks, taps or swipes, parents can upload a photo of their child and insert him or her into the center of the action, alongside the StoryBots, using the company’s Starring You® technology.

StoryBots Starring You StoryBooks is a FREE iPad app that enables parents to create personalized, animated eBooks that include their child’s name and face in the stories. The app comes with one free book, and parents can sign up to receive a new book every month for $3.99. They can buy additional titles for just $1.99 each. Today, there are 18 books available with themes ranging from giant pizza and circus escapades to trucks and princesses.

The StoryBots Beep & Boop iPhone app turns learning good behavior into a game kids love, bringing old-school reward chart systems into the 21st century. Parents give kids BEEPs for good behavior and BOOPs as reprimands. Parents can use the app to create goals and prizes to motivate and celebrate their children’s achievements.

One lucky Real Posh Mom readers will win The StoryBots ABC Jamboree, a collection of 26 one-minute, foot-tapping music videos designed to help kids recognize the sounds and shapes of the letters of the alphabet. To enter, answer the following question: “What’s your favorite letter and why?” Giveaway ends Sunday, October 14, 2012 at 5PM.

MTV RE:DEFINE Art Pops in Dallas

RE:DEFINE returns to The Goss-Michael Foundation for its second year on Saturday, September 22, 2012. This dynamic pop exhibition and auction will bring together iconic and specially-commissioned photography and artworks by established and emerging talent, including Mat Collishaw, Ralf Kaspers, Ryan McGinness, Michael Craig Martin and Jen Stark.

Artist: Marc Quinn

All proceeds from sales will benefit the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. The MTV Staying Alive Foundation is a global HIV prevention and awareness charity that is 100% donor funded. The Foundation operates with a simple vision – to stop the spread of HIV before it starts. By funding young people running grassroots prevention projects, and producing content that raises awareness to global youth, the Foundation fights HIV the smart way.

Artist: Michael Craig-Martin

Tickets are available here starting at $350. The event begins at 7PM. In addition to the exhibition and auction, the event is complemented by a dynamic range of supporting activities, including a 100 ft public mural in downtown Dallas by Lee Baker, exclusive limited edition RE:DEFINE t-shirts designed by Parra, a specially-commissioned fine art print edition by Mark Webber and live painting at the gala auction by Dave White.

Artist: Michael Reisch
Artist: Ralf Kaspers
Artist: Ryan McGinness

Dancing with the Rockettes

I was invited to workout with the Radio City Rockettes, hosted by Pfizer – the makers of Caltrate® and Centrum®. We literally went backstage into the REAL workout rooms the Rockettes use. We started to dance, where the Rockettes taught us the famous Wooden Soldier. You do this by moving your hips while never bending your knees with your arms straight by your side. It’s a great gluteus maximus workout!

Photo from ClassyMommy.com

We also learned how they fan kick. In order to feel stable, the Rockettes “feel the fabric,” which is where you lightly brush the person back standing next to you BUT not actually touching them. The left hand goes on the next woman’s lower back, and the right arm on the next woman’s upper back, giving the illusion of locked arms. Now began these leg kicks! The Rockettes use the term kicking “Eye High” for what they do – truly they are physically amazing!

Photo from ClassyMommy.com

After the dancing we learned more about the Rockettes.

  • The height of a Rockette ranges from 5’6″ to 5’10.”  They give the illusion of them being the same height by putting the tallest Rockettes in the middle and the shortest on the end.
  • Every Radio City Rockettes has to tryout every year.
  • All Rockettes wear 2.5 inch heels.
  • They are expected to kick 300 kicks per show.
  • They rehearse from 10AM to 5PM six days a week beginning in September for their Radio City Christmas Spectacular. That’s a lot of kicking!

It was a dream come true to dance with the Rockettes. It was also fun to know that I had one qualification of a Rockette. I am tall enough to be one. 😉

Thank you to Pfizer the makers of Caltrate® and Centrum® for sponsoring the event.  “Feeling Young” is so important as you get older.  Stay active, eat right and care for your body by taking a multivitamin and calcium.

Oogieloves Lifts Off to Theatres in Oogost

One of the great things about summertime is the opening of children’s movies. Unfortunately nowadays, it is hard to find a kid’s film that is Rated G. Let me introduce you to The Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure.

The Oogieloves revolves around three friends trying to retrieve the five most magical balloons in all of Lovelyloveville before returning to their cottage in time for a surprise birthday party. What’s more, the poster clearly states that the film is from “the marketing visionary who brought you Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine”. If there’s one thing that kids are guaranteed to go crazy for, it’s a marketing visionary. 😉

Producer Kenn Viselman, the man who brought Teletubbies and Thomas over to American TV, explains how the Oogieloves is different than other movies.

I just got that what we need to do is allow children to be children, allow them to behave the way they would behave. And so if we created a film that allowed for that, that actually embraced it and encouraged it, we would have an incredibly different experience — not only would it be a different experience on the screen, but it would be a much more successful experience on the shelf.

It’s is an interactive movie experience. While the Oogieloves get to dance and sing onscreen, the kids in the audience get to dance and sing along with them. Instead of having to pay big dollars at a kid’s concert, your family has the chance to move along with the movies characters for a fraction of the price. In my opinion, this film is geared toward kids ages 2 to 7.

The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure is released on 29 Oogust. Oogust isn’t a real word by the way, but you have probably worked that out already. 😉

Target First Saturday Hits the Mark

Nasher Sculpture Center and Target have partnered up on the first Saturday of every month providing FREE admission to this beautiful museum from 10AM-12PM. They provide children’s activities like an art scavenger hunt, kids’ art activity (where the kids’ “get their hands dirty”), sculpture demo, family tours and story time with the Dallas Public Library.

As you enter into the museum, each child receives a gift bag with information about the center and an art scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt uses a picture of part of the art, and the kids (and parents) search around the museum to find out what the art is called and who created it. Kids are great explorers, and this activity really challenges the kids to look and study the art. I LOVE IT!

As we are searching for art, we run into other exhibits at the museum that we LOVE. Currently at the Nasher, they have an interactive art called “Cuddle on the Tightrope.” Wow! The kids thought this was “sooo cool” & thought the colors were “pretty.”This exhibit is only available until September 9, 2012, so you better head to the museum and check it out soon.

After exploring the museum and “cuddling on the tightrope,” we were hungry. Nasher has a wonderful cafe with Wolfgang Puck’s delicious seasonal sandwiches, salads and soups prepared with farmer’s market produce, artisanal breads and locally-supplied ingredients. They have NasherKids meals that are delicious AND healthy.

Thank you to Target for providing an opportunity for my kids to enjoy art AND to Nasher for have great exhibits for them experience it!

Nasher Sculture Center
2001 Flora St.
Dallas, Texas

Taste Addison Turns 20

Taste Addison turns 20 this weekend, May 18 – 20, 2012, and will offers a tasty weekend blend of food, music and family fun. This three-day festival features over 60 Addison restaurants serving generous samplings of their menus at reduced prices, national musical entertainment, celebrity chef demonstrations and wine tasting seminars, carnival rides, midway games, award-winning children’s entertainment, and more.

My top three restaurants and dishes that you need to taste:

Thai Star‘s Khao Soi
Chamberlain’s Fish Market & Grill‘s Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Maine Lobster And Chive Mash Potatoes, Coca-Cola Candied Carrots, Butter Braised Scallions, Champagne Beurre Blanc, Port Wine Reduction And Fried Mint Leaves
Los Lupes’ Tacos De Trompo Al Pastor

A “taste” of Taste Addison 2012 includes national musical entertainment featuring Mat Kearney, Wade Bowen, Rhett Miller & The Serial Lady Killers and The Dirty Guv’nahs. Special features this year include the Taste of Troubadour, TX stage and children’s entertainment Dr. Seuss’ “Go, Dog. Go!” To complement the menu, the festival includes fun activities like carnival rides, midway games, arts and crafts, and children’s entertainment.

Here are more details for you!
Friday, May 18, from 6 p.m. to midnight
Saturday, May 19, from Noon to midnight
Sunday, May 20, from Noon to 5 p.m.

Come enjoy the best food and entertainment that Addison has to offer!

Addison Circle Park
4970 Addison Circle Drive
Addison, Texas