Friday, September 26, 2008

Woogi World - the place to be?

When MomCentral put out a call for interested parents to review Woogi World, I was super excited. My son doesn't normally do computer games, but that's mainly because the boy can't seem to sit still for more than 30 seconds. I was hoping that maybe THIS website would capture his attention.

Woogi World is a website for kids filled with all sorts of educational games and ways to earn prizes. A child can chose a Woogi, name him/her, dress him/her and even decorate the Woogi's house (aka wigwam). Plus, there's some great information for parents as well as grandparents. And the site offers "basic internet training" for kids on how to navigate through cyberspace safely. According to the site, children can "safely experiment with and practice behavior in a microcosm that they’ll eventually need to know and display when they explore the much broader, unsecured and precarious online world." Kids can earn extra points for completing this training. Oh and? No advertising of any outside products. No advertising at all, actually.

So what did we think? It started out promising. There's a cute little game your child can play with the mouse while the site downloads. But overall, we found things a bit confusing.

At times, when it asks for user name, we'd enter my son's Woogi name. And when it asks to enter a passcode, I'd enter the one we had set up but it would get rejected. It would ask for an email address but sometimes that didn't work either. Then you are taken to the "Bulletin Board". There wasn't an obvious place for the games. (You have to close the bulletin board window to get to the game area.)

My son also had some frustration with some of the game stuff. All he wanted to do is let the Woogi roam around and explore what was on the site but soon found himself underwhelmed and frustrated. After hearing my son whine, "Mmoooomm. I can't get this to wwwooorrrrkkk" about eight times every five minutes, I'd get frustrated too. And we'd do something else. I went back to the site with him three different times and it was pretty much the same experience each time. (I went to the site several times more but I didn't get much farther than he did.)

But at one point, we did find a great game that we played over and over again. We had to work as a team and it turned into a really fun experience. Basic membership is free and the more advanced is just $6.95 a month.

But for kids like Seth, who aren't big on sitting still? You might want to wait a bit before you sign them up.
This review was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What a circus!

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Children of all ages. Welcome. To the greatest show on earth!"

You know what I'm talking about, right? The circus! The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Baby’s Circus to be exact.

And now, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have created a little something called "Baby's First Circus". The program was created with U.S. parents and babies (12 months old and younger) in mind. If you go to the Ringling Bros site, you can sign up to receive a voucher for a free ticket to any Ringling Bros. performance, (valid for any date, any place) as well as a personalized certificate for baby. Sign up the older kiddos and they get a free personalized Ringling Bros. commemorative certificate. Visit the site to participate.

Thanks to the peeps at MomCentral, you an get a 20% discount code for Ringling Bros. performance coming your way. Enter code: MCC. (The code is valid for the circus shows in the following cities:)

Indianapolis, IN - Sept. 4-7, 2008
Kansas City, MO - Sept. 10-14, 2008
Grand Rapids, MI - Sept. 18-21, 2008
Denver, CO - Oct. 2-13, 2008
Boston, MA – Oct. 8-13, 2008
Cleveland, OH - Oct. 24 - Nov. 2
Chicago, IL - Nov. 6 - 30, 2008
St. Louis, MO - Nov. 6-9, 2008
Auburn Hills, MI - Nov. 12 - 16, 2008
Highland Heights, KY - Feb 27 - Mar. 1, 2009
Cincinnati, OH - Mar. 4 - 8, 2008

Don't forget to check out their website. (We had to keep refreshing the main page because my son loves the train and music!) Click on the "Amazing Animals" section then over to various animals featured to get great factoids. Or spend some time in the "Fun Zone" and play "Clown Cannon" or "CircusFit".

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Do the right thing

I'd never heard of the Liberty Mutual Responsibility Project until recently through MomCentral. But it sounded interesting. So I took a gander.

According to the website, the project was created after an overwhelming response to a Liberty Mutual commercial about the kindness of strangers. According to the site, "we thought, if one TV spot from Liberty Mutual can get people thinking and talking about responsibility, imagine what could happen if we went a step further? So we created a series of short films, and this website, as an exploration of what it means to do the right thing."

My son and I looked at the site together, watching a few of the shorts. Sometimes the concept of "responsibility" can be difficult to describe. But the site did get us talking. The site lists questions you can ask your child or debate with others and it reinforced some of the ideas we've talked about.

We especially liked "Hot Seat." Anyone who's worked in an office can relate and will get a giggle out of this animated tale of office bunnies who, upon finding themselves in possession of a broken office chair sneakily pawn the chair it off on other unsuspecting worker bunnies.

The website isn't just for parents or kids. It is for everyone. And its a pretty great idea.

This post was written on behalf of MomCentral.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pizza Hut's new pasta (easy-peasy and cheesy!)

Our family loves Pizza Hut pizza. So when offered a chance to try their newest pasta dish, "Premium Bacon, Mac 'n Cheese", I was very excited. I mean, who doesn't like free food? Especially when there is minimal clean-up afterwards?

We'd tried another pasta dish by Pizza Hut a few months back. It was ok. But we were especially interested in this newest product. You see, our son LOVES mac 'n cheese from a certain restaurant that the hubby and I despise. We only go there so "the boy" can eat his weight in macaroni. But the quality of the rest of the food the restaurant produces is getting so crappy that we've stopped going there all together. We were hoping he'd love this dish as much or more.

But he didn't. He ate a few bites then whined. (This is not uncommon so Pizza Hut, don't take it personally.) He's not used to the bacon taste. And that's a bummer because the hubby and I really liked this dish. Its very cheesy and the bacon gives it a very nice flavor. We think this boy is just plain strange. Really. Who doesn't like bacon?

This is a great dish to get when you have a casual party and don't want to cook. Order up a few pizzas, a few pasta dishes and make a salad. Easy Peasy. Or for those little kids who love hot dogs and macaroni? Cut up a few dogs and serve mixed in with the cheesy pasta. If you've got little bacon lovers in your family (who also love cheesy noodles) this is a good choice.

The Tuscan pastas are $12.99. The special comes with five breadsticks and feeds a family of four. (Although if you have teen boys who really like pasta? You'd better order an extra pan.)

Leave a comment here or on my main blog between now and Tuesday letting me know you're interested. I'll choose three winners and Pizza Hut will send you the gift certificate!