Monday, September 19

Mechatars!! Robot Review & Giveaway!

www.mechatars.com
Meet our new friend, Wrexx.

We got this bad boy last week and have been playing with it since. Wrexx is one of a new line of toys robots called Mechatars. Mechatars blend real world/online play from iLoveRobots.com

And that? Blew. my. mind.
I guess I'm an old lady, or we deny our kids the finer toys in life, because I had no idea these things existed.

Straight out of the box, Wrexx connected to his wireless remote. Then, Mr. Bossy Wrexxpants demanded we connect him to the computer "to download critical data." The downloading and data collecting took several minutes, and we used the time to read up on the Mechatar warfare. Apparently, it's us and the robots vs. The Swarm. Whoever they are. Bad guys, obviously. 
The Boy loves anything remote, anything mechanical, anything digital, and anything that scares the bejeebees out of his sisters (and dog). Wrexx fit the bill. He had a good enough time just playing with the wobbly-legged robot, making it chase the girls. And me. 

Jeremy and I got online before The Boy did. We keep a close eye on what he plays online, and how often (which is to say: not much, and not long). The Mechaverse is an online game where the Mechatars battle the baddies with all kinds of "elemental" weapons. It's pretty advanced stuff for a seven year old, though I think older kids would love it. 

You can personalize nearly every step of the Mechatar experience, and The Boy particularly liked that part. The picking out of stuff. We didn't spend much time in the Mechaverse, but it seems to be a pretty cool way to integrate real word play into an online setting.

For now, The Boy is (and the girls are) happy to play with the IRL version of Wrexx. The Dog? She's not so thrilled. 



So, you want to win one, right? 

You totally can! Right here!

Here's what to do:
  • Visit www.Mechatars.com
  • In order to see the Mechatar line up, you'll need to click on “play now” then “register” but no information needs to be submitted.
  • Check out the Mechatar lineup and decide which Mechatar you'd would most like to win.
  • Leave a comment here telling me which one you choose.
  • Bonus entry: Tweet this text and link...  "Super exciting Mechatar robot review and giveaway from the very pretty @SavannahB! http://bit.ly/np5Njx #CleverRobot #spon"
  • Easy peasy. One. Two. Threesy

I'll keep this post open until Wednesday, September 28, and then one lucky gal (or guy. Hey, guy readers!) will win a Mechatar of their very own. 
(iloveRobots will do their best to fulfill the request for the model you choose, although they can’t guaranteed the specific model due to stock limitations.)

If, on the off chance that you don't win, you can always visitb iLoveRobots.com and buy one for the kiddo(s) in your life. Special secret bonus: Enter the code MECHMOM and get 10% off!








I was selected to participate in this sponsored post series by Clever Girls Collective. I can only assume it's because I'm so pretty, but it probably also had to do with the fact that I have three toy-crazy kids that live in my house. Rent free! In any case, all of the opinions are my own. Although, I may add that The Boy's opinion was thus: "Awwweeeesooooommmeeee!"

Monday, September 12

Doing Good Involves a Little *Doing*


Thanks to Walgreens for sponsoring my writing. Help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote.




We live in a culture and in an economy that sometimes overlooks the value in simply doing good.
The parents of Little Leaguers turn a ball game into a bar-room brawl. The checkbook says it's impossible to give back. The hours in the day are often too few to really invest the kind of time we'd like to spend helping others. All the obligations within our own homes sometimes make it feel like we have nothing left to give to anyone we're not bound to by blood.

Which is exactly why Jeremy and I try to have an on-going conversation about servant-hood, stewardship, compassion, and grace with the Bees. Every time we pull to the side of the road to let an ambulance or fire truck pass with its lights flashing, we say a prayer for whoever is in need, and for the responders who are on their way to help. Each time my husband rolls down his window to hand a five dollar bill to someone holding a sign, we talk about how God calls us to love each other. Whenever we excavate under the kids' beds and find toys we haven't seen in six months, we put them in a bag and take them to a local battered women and children's ministry. All those free samples of formula and diapers we got each time we left the hospital with a new baby? Went straight to a ministry devoted to teaching families how to be families. With every new season and every few inches my children grow, their clothes are donated to Soul Food Cafe, which in turn hands them out free of charge.

photo credit
These are little things, tiny things, that barely interrupt the flow of our abundant days. But we are teaching our kids to be mindful of the world and the people around them. They are learning to extend a hand to people in their own community, but also around the world. Each Christmas, we buy animals from Heifer International, not to build a farm in our own backyard, but to teach a family half the world away to care for livestock, and to give them a way to make a living where before there was no way.

And still, there is more we can do.

There is always so. much. more. One Thanksgiving, we loaded up a shopping cart with food that would make for a delicious meal, then donated all of it to a local church who would be feeding the hungry. But we haven't done it since. We could, if we would take the time to do it. Driving by the Habitat for Humanity village, and explaining the work they do for our neighbors in town, is not the same as taking my children to a work day, and handing them a brush and a bucket of paint. Taking five boxes of macaroni and cheese to church once a month is not nearly as effective as having the kids hand out the boxes on Tuesday mornings at Soul Food.
Max & the Toronto Blue Jays' Habitat story here.

We tell the Bees about doing good, but what good is it if we don't show them? If we don't train them to see ways to help someone else, every day, how will they know what to look for?

It is so easy to overlook the pain and the need that permeates the world around us. It is harder to do something about it.

What can you do today to make your small slice of the world better? How can you initiate a shift in your own thinking, in your own actions?








Don't forget to help Walgreens help others! Visit their Facebook page here to learn about their charitable partners and decide which cause Walgreens will donate to with a quick vote. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Tuesday, September 6

Newbery Medal Reading Challenge

It seems I'm all about challenges lately.

The Boy and I have taken on a new reading challenge. Really, I just said to him, "Hey, I have this idea," and he said, "sounds good, Ma."

We are going to read at least one Newbery Medal Winner or Honor book from each year since the award's inception in 1922.
Together, we've already read a few medal winners: 
The Tale of Desperaux 
Mr. Popper's Penguins
The Invention of Hugo Cabret

I was excited to learn that several of my most favorite books when I was younger were all Newbery Medal winners. Proves, once again, that I've got great taste. 

The Boy and I spend an hour last night jumping from web page to web page, in a very methodical- and yet easy peasy- fashion. 

We'd start here, with a list of all the winners and books of honor. 
Then, we'd hop over to GoodReads.com to check out the book(s) we picked. If we both liked the synopsis, we'd add it to The Boy's TBR list.
Next, we checked our local library's database and, if we were lucky and they have copies of the books we wanted, we'd request them online. 

Et voilĂ .
There we have it. 

We only made it up the list to 1950, because it was bedtime. So far his Good Reads shelf has 51 books read, and 84 to-read. He reads an average of 3 chapter books a week, a fact of which I am purty jealous. 

I will chronicle each of books we read here, and I'll try to convince him to let me interview him on his thoughts about each book. Better than writing a book report, right?

We'll start the challenge as soon as the library emails me to say they have our books ready. Right now he's reading The Mayflower Adventure, and he has Fantastic Mr. Fox and Sideways Stories from Wayside School lined up next. 

I imagine we'll be at this challenge for a while, and at any time during our progress, I'd love if y'all would give us book recommendations, even if they aren't award winners. Our only requirement? Awesomeness.