Saturday, November 29, 2008

Win Stuff

Kim's got a light up nerf football to give away over at her new review blog.

I'm so hoping for this Wii and Wii Fit, but g'head and enter yourself if you want.

SoCal Mom is giving away a great basket of gifts plus some for SoCal residents.

And don't forget I'm giving away a didj here. Leave your comment by Dec. 6th.

You can also win one over at Who's the Boss?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Book Review: 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny

If you want a funny, light and entertaining read, you much check out 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching. If you want what sounds like an amazing third grade teacher, you'll have to move to Mountain View. I got this book and a sweet email from Phillip Done, the author, and I plowed right through it, enjoying every minute. I even gave it to my husband, which is pretty rare for me as his is highly selective about his reading, sticking mostly to classics like Hemingway and Faulkner (aack!) and soccer books. He is also loving it so far.

Phillip has a way of conveying how much he absolutely loves teaching while keeping it real, and really funny. I love how he is totally straightforward about his pain in the neck kids. Seems you can tell the trouble makers by how close they sit to the teacher. There is a story about a pet snake I can barely believe and will never forget. He conveys his frustration with the testing, which I am seeing even in 1st grade with this severe reduction in field trips. And yet, it never ventures into serious complaints, just frustrations mixed with anecdotes and the emotions of a teacher who loves his students and students who love their teacher.
My kids are still several years away from 3rd grade, but so far my favorite teachers and the ones you you could easily see in a mommy or daddy role, seeing their job was to go beyond educating. As he says in chapter 1 (I promise I read the whole thing):

"I put on Band-Aids and winter coats and school plays"
"I unpeel oranges that are too tight too"
"I leave 'shugar' and 'vilets' misspelled on their valentines"
and the one that made me tear up "I know when a child does not
understand. I know when a child is not telling the truth. I know
when a child was up to late last night. I know when a child needs help
finding a friend."

If you are like me and life is getting a bit too serious, or you are
starting to wonder if there is still hope for our education system, take a few
hours to read this book. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder what
school he's teaching at and whether the lack of pets at your kids' school is
doing irreversible harm.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Win a Didj

A little while back I and many of my fellow mommy bloggers wrote about an awesome event with Leapfrog. They give each of my kids a game system of their own (didj for the older one, Leapster2 for the preschooler), and the kids have been loving it. As Keegan said to his doctor yesterday "they had to switch to times, since I did all the adding and subtracting problems." The kid loves math and may just die over a new Star Wars math game. I'm not worried about my little guys reading, but from what I can see this can only help. Right now he covets the hero's game on the didj and has pretty much had enough of his Leapster2, but really, ya can't blame a company for starting with a tame game and wanting you to buy some more exciting ones. Although they really should include the $10 SD card needed to download the free computer games.

What I like is how you can see the learning paths of your child. Cool, ain't it?

Do you want on of these too? Well, I've got a brand new didj to give away right here. Plus, Leapfrog is throwing in three games: Hannah Montana, Indiana Jones and Nicktoons.

I'm going to keep this contest open for two weeks so you have until December 6th at midnight to:

  1. Leave a comment below and make sure there is a way to reach you by email.
  2. Post this on your blog for an extra entry, or if you don't have a blog let three friends know about the contest (include a comment, I'll trust you)
  3. Tell me one way you get your child, or would if you had one, to love reading.

I'll choose the winner on Sunday by random number generator or a name in a hat, and you should have this by the holidays.

Welcome One and All

Welcome to my new review blog. Here I'll be reviewing the stuff that makes my life worth living. Eh, who am I kidding, I'll review any freebies people want to send my way. Seriously, I won't review just anything (who's got time for that), but it'll probably be a mix of stuff I have and love and stuff I'm compelled to try because the offer sounds so awesome. And there will be some books because if there is one thing I'm addicted to, it's reading.

I love to shell out advice as well, but shy away from giving unsolicited advice since I'm a total wuss at heart, but if you want to know my favorite books (provided I read them in the last week and have not yet forgotten the names), make-up and hair products I swear by (this week) for curly hair and acne-prone skin, or methods of keeping my wild boys in line (scratch that, send me yours) ask away.