Posts Tagged ‘Mom Central Canada’

Picture It Picture Books – Illustrated by Your Child

Books are big in our house as I’m sure you can guess from the Write a Review Wednesday posts every week. I love how books encourage learning, discovery and imagination. So when the folks at Mom Central Canada told me about Picture It Picture Books, I was interested to see these first hand how these would work.

The concept behind Picture It Picture Books is to tap into your child’s creative imagination. The stories are already written and your child adds the illustrations, sharing their interpretation of the story being told. There are currently 6 different titles available and the subject matter varies depending on your child’s interest. For younger kids there’s My Alphabet where kids illustrate something for each letter, something that might be more personal to them.

For older kids (and by older I mean maybe six or seven), there’s Captain Zane or The Moon Story. These are closer to stories to actual stories you might read and your child adds the illustrations.

The sample we were sent was Imagining Me, a story about your child. This isn’t really a story but rather a collection of pages about your child’s interests: their job when they grow-up, a wacky hairdo, playing with their best friend. I thought the Picture It Picture Books would be appealing to my 8-year old who has a current fascination with illustrating her own stories, but the sample didn’t appeal to her at all. She has a few books like this, books that she can customize based on her preferences and she had no interest in doing another one. This wouldn’t be one of the books I would have chosen either. For a book about your child, some of the pages are very specific and are of topics kids might have no interest in.

My 6-year old decided he liked a few of the pages, like developing a vehicle or designing a new toy (as his job) but that was the extent of his interest. I would love to see one of the more story oriented books to see if there would be more interest; the kids would actually be illustrating pictures of a story versus more of a workbook type activity (like the alphabet or Imagining Me).

The finished books do make great keepsakes for your kids as they grow-up or maybe even something to give to grandma (a story to read together when visiting and something grandma can enjoy because of the personal illustrations).

You can find the Picture It Picture Books on their website or at other stores and markets across the country.

I want to thanks the folks at Mom Central Canada and Picture It Picture Books for sending the review copy along to me.

My Living Stories Interactive E-Books for Kids

I’m no slouch when it comes to exposing my kids to technology. I think it can be a great tool in entertaining and educating kids. I’m also a big fan of children’s books which is one reason why I review great printed books each Wednesday as part of Write a Review Wednesday.

So I was excited when Mom Central Canada gave me the chance to try My Living Stories, an interactive e-book for kids that works on your iPhone and iPod Touch (and iPad as we discovered when we experimented with the app).

My Living Stories are interactive stories based on childhood classic tales like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Tortoise and the Hare, King Midas and Princess and the Pea.

Now e-books on the iPhone aren’t new, we have a few and my kids, especially my 3-year-old, love them. They are great when we’re on a road trip, waiting in the Doctor’s office or out doing grocery shopping. My Living Stories are easy to navigate and offer subtle animation and sound throughout the story to entertain kids. They are a simple page forward, page back format so there’s no worries about kids, especially young kids, getting confused or needing mom’s assistance to use the app. But the best feature about My Living Stories, what makes it stand out from other e-books, is that you can record your own narration, right on your iPhone!

Each story, which you can buy at the iTunes store for $1.99 Cdn, comes already narrated with a young child’s voice. Readers can choose to listen to the narration, listen with just the music so they can read the story themselves or read recorded narration, recorded by you or grandma or the babysitter or anyone your child would enjoy hearing the story being read from.

My 3-year-old loves hearing stories from her older 8-year-old sister so I had my oldest daughter record a story (she loved doing it). The steps are easy and can be done right on your iPhone (no need to download separate software and copy things from your computer). Just choose record and you’re set. You record each page separately and you can hear your recording after you’re done in case you want to record it again. My 8-year-old loved this. She was able to do this on her own and even added in her own sound-effects as she went along. You can record up to 4 different narrations of the same story so your child can choose from a story being read to them by mom or dad or grandma or big sister. And even though it’s the same story, each narration offers a unique feel adding extra life to the story itself.

My 3-year-old enjoyed hearing her sister reading the book and loved the little animations. We have an iPad so the story fills the screen, almost like a book in her lap, but using My Living Stories on the iPhone would be just as enjoyable and easy to use too. My 3-year-old picked up the navigation quickly and loved listening to the different audio voices. She now wants to record her own voice.

There are a lot of iPhone apps out there for kids but ones I really enjoy are the ones that make use of the iPhones technology. Having the ability to record and edit a stories narration is an amazing idea. The only issue I found with My Living Stories was the placement of the text to read when recording the story. The text appears plain, along the bottom of the page, like a script, which is fine since it’s just there for you to read. But the some words were covered by the page forward, page back arrows. At times we were guessing what the words were since we couldn’t read them. This could be a little frustrating for the person making the recording.

ITUNE GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY

The folks at Mom Central Canada and My Living Stories are so excited about their new interactive e-books for kids that they’re offering up a gift card giveaway to my blog readers. That’s you! Simply tell me which 1 of the 5 My Living Stories e-books you think your child would enjoy and who would they like to hear narrate it for them. By telling me that you’ll be entered for a chance to win one (1) $25 iTunes Gift Card (which can now be used to buy apps). Leave your comment before August 6 because after that I will be choosing one name randomly. Participants are more then welcome to enter this giveaway on other blogs (there will be a few running this same contest), however, you can only win 1 iTunes gift card. And sorry, this contest is only open to Canadian residents.

I am participating in the My Living Stories program by Mom Central on behalf of Decode Entertainment. I received 3 free apps an da gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Flip Friday: Merry Christmas

I’ve been trying out my Flip Mino HD from Mom Central Canada and Flip. Christmas is a perfect time to use it too. How else would we be able to share this Christmas greeting with you:

The built-in FlipShare software enables me to edit and share my video anywhere there’s a computer (home, the office, the in-laws house). The Flip Mini HD also has a place to attach a tripod which comes in handy if you want to avoid camera shake.

This Christmas I’m looking forward to catching some of those surprised looks and squeals of excitement you just can’t capture in still images. And as it’s Christmas, I have a gift for you too. Thanks to Mom Central Canada and Flip I have one Flip Mini HD to give away this month. To enter visit my first Flip For the Holidays post. For a bonus entry, come back and leave a comment on this post with a Christmas greeting. That’s it. But hurry, contest ends December 31, 2009 (Canadian residents 18 years and older only).

Disney Princesses on Ice

We had the chance to attend the Toronto showing of Disney on Ice: Princess Classics earlier this week as special guests of Mom Central Canada. My youngest daughter was thrilled. She insisted on dressing appropriately for the event.

Ready to greet the Princesses

The show is running in the Roger’s Center in downtown Toronto. If you’ve been in the Roger’s Center you know it’s huge, but they set-up the stage in half the area and kept the seating close. We had great seats near the front, but the view was great from any of the available seats.

The costumes were spectacular and most of the princess stories you’re familiar with were part of the show (not the new Princess and the Frog though). Placed in two acts, the first act covered a main, familar scene from the story of Aladin, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Mulan and Little Mermaid. I should point out that only one scene was shown and they all ended without the prince discovering the princess. I mention that because my seveon-year old noticed it and made mention of it at the end of each scene, a little disappointed. But the prince eventually does find the princess in each story and how it’s done is wonderful.

The second act is all about Cinderella, a quick retelling of the main scenes. You’ll find yourself humming and singing along with all the familiar music.

This video was taken with the compact Flip Mini HD

The performers do an amaing job involving the audience too, by talking to them, interacting with them, performing right in front of them on various parts of the ice. The use of smoke and indoor sparklers also add to the magical feel of the show.

The Disney on Ice: Princess Classics is running until December 27, 2009. And if you use the special Mom Central Canada code (MMC) you may still be able to get tickets for $11 each when you buy four or more tickets (Monday to Friday, excluding Friday evenings) or $4 off all weekend shows. *

To take advantage of this deal, visit TicketMaster.ca and enter the promotional code MCC.

Watching Disney on Ice: Princess Classics was a great way to kick off our Christmas vacation. Even my five-year old son who didn’t want anything to do with Princesses, really enjoyed himsel. His favourite of course was Mulan.

* Not valid for rink side or VIP seating. Cannot be combined with other offers. Service charge and handling fees will apply.

Flip for the Holidays

In our house Christmas is for the kids. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I enjoy the holidays but I think we enjoy it so much more since having our own kids. There’s something about the excitement and surprise and wonderment that kids exude around the  holidays. And because they grow and change and mature, quickly, I want to capture as much of each stage as I can.

Pictures are great, they certainly show the changes kids go through and if caught at the right moment, they can show excitement and surprise and wonder. But somethings are best captured on video. There’s a whole other feeling and dimension to video.

The Flip Mino HD

In enters the Flip Mino HD. This compact, light-weight video camera weights 3.3 oz which is lighter and more compact than most cell phones. You can record up to 60 minutes of video at a resolution of 1280×720. The Flip Mino HD starts up quickly enabling you to capture impromptu video; you can start recording 3-seconds after the camera turns on. The Flip Mino HD has a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery that can charged with the pop-out USB connection or a power adaptor (sold separately). The USB is tucked into the camera itself and only pops-out when you want to connect to your computer. This ensures the USB doesn’t get damaged as it’s tucked out of the way.

And after you’ve recorded your video, you can edit it and share it with others using the pre-loaded software on the Flip Mino HD. You can also view your video on your TV with the supplied AV cables. The simple control buttons are on the backside of the camera; all that’s required is a light touch over them (they’re flat on the camera versus buttons that stick out which adds to the slim look of the Flip Mino HD). The buttons are also backlit in case you happen to be shooting in a dark environment.

Win a Flip Mino HD

Who wouldn’t want a video camera to record those holiday memories, special moments and just everyday events, especially a camera that’s small and light enough to fit into your pocket. Well Flip ( @flipvideocanada) and Mom Central Canada ( @mc_canada) want to give you, one of you at least, your own Flip Mino HD video camera. To enter all you need to do is tell me who on your Christmas list you would give a Flip Mino HD to and why.  But be sure to tell me before December 31, 2009 because that’s when this contest closes (open to Canadian residents 18 years or older).

Bonus Entry: tweet the following and come back and post a comment letting me know you did (only counts as one bonus entry)

I’d flip to win a Flip from @mc_canada and @flipvideocanada http://bit.ly/6Wb3v3 #flip4holiday

Flip Fridays

I just received my Flip Mino HD and at first sight it seem great, certainly based on everything Flip says it can do. Now the real fun begins. Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting my Flip Mino HD video camera to the test and with the holidays and three kids I’ll have plenty of material to work with. I’ll be posting my thoughts and a clip or two on Flip Friday (December 18 and December 25) so be sure to come back and read my posts.

Another Bonus Entry

If reading about my thoughts on the Flip Mino HD isn’t enough incentive, you’ll have a chance for another bonus entry, on each Flip Friday post. Tomorrow is the first Flip Friday too. That’s four (4) possible entries for your own fabulous Flip Mino HD.

Good Luck. Let the flipping begin!

Update: Random.org picked Rebecca. Congratulations. Thanks for everyone who entered.

A Parent is Born: What’s your advice?

A small package with big needs

A small package with big needs

I knew becoming a mom would be an adjustment and have challenges, as well as rewards of course, but I think I was a little naive. Okay, really naive. 

When I was expecting my first child I had my maternity leave all planned out. Along with spending quality time with my daughter interacting, learning and reading books together, I’d practice my yoga, learn a new recipe or two and work on my writing. 

Then reality hit! 

Through a lot of trial and error and a few tears I did learn a few things that first year, many tips that helped with coping with my next two children: 

  • Get on a daycare list right away. Even if you’re only thinking about returning to work, get yourself on a daycare list as soon as you can. Daycare spots, good daycare spots, are hard to come by. And don’t limit it to just one daycare. I was on five wait lists but only one came available when my leave was up.
  • Establish a bedtime routine early. Whether it’s a bath and a story or a message and a song, create a nighttime routine with your child and practice it daily. I didn’t have a regular routine for my first born and I think that made getting her to sleep at night difficult.
  • Every child is different. Having learned from my first born there are certainly things I did differently with my other two kids. But each child is different so don’t stress over the fact that something that worked with one child doesn’t work with another.
  • Set a realistic daily goal for yourself. At home with a baby it seems like you’ll have all sorts of free time, but kids require a lot of attention and energy. When planning your day limit your schedule to just one thing, like getting the laundry done or vacuuming the living room. It may not seem like much but between feeding and napping and playing and diapering you’ll find your day quickly disappears. Having one item on your schedule that you can accomplish won’t seem overwhelming.

Share Your Advice and Win 

I’m sure you learned a few things from raising your own kids. Or maybe there are a few things you wish other parents shared with you before you became a parent yourself. Pampers realizes how hard it is to be a new parent so they are creating Tip Sheets full of useful information and they need your help. They’re looking to you, the experts, for your best parenting tips to include. Visit Mom Central’s site and share either your best tip for parents returning to work or sleep tips for mom and baby and it might just appear in the ‘A Parent is Born’ collection for new parents to read. Plus you’ll also be entered to win one of twenty-five $20 gift cards or the grand prize of $500 cash. But be quick, Mom Central is only accepting tips until December 10, 2009 so get yours in now

I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central and received gift to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Review: Character is the Key

The role as parent is never easy. We are responsible for feeding and dressing and caring and teaching our kids. And as parents we relish our roles, no matter how difficult. But some times the things our children learn from us are things we didn’t mean to teach them.

As my children get older and exert more of their independence, I’m encountering more disruptive behavior, especially with my seven year old daughter. And you know whatever behavior my seven year old is displaying, my two younger kids (5 and 2) will mimic, especially the behavior I don’t want to see.  And secretly, as I watch them, I know some of that behavior is modeled from what they see in my or my husband: yelling when frustrated or no listening when tired.

GetAttachment.aspxSo when Mom Central offered me the chance to read and review Character is the Key: How to Unlock the Best in Our Children and Ourselves, I was more than a little interested. The book, written by Sara Dimerman, is designed to help families work together toward understanding the influence parents have on their children’s behavior and how work together to develop the character you want them to have.

The book is divided into three sections:

Section 1 – provides parents with the ground work toward understanding what values and characteristics they want their children to exemplify and what role parents play in setting that example.

Section 2 – is really the heart of the book, discussing how to conduct family meetings and establishing your family plan. These meetings and the plan ensure all family members, not just the parents, have input in the direction the family is going and how everyone is progressing to toward these goals. This section also includes feedback from families who have gone through the process already. These stories illustrate that your plan can be achieved.

Section 3 – discusses how to set-up monthly family meetings, focusing on one of the ten characteristics in detail. Each characteristic chapter includes a family activity created by Dynamix to help illustrate the characteristic being discussed. Plus these activities are great for learning and discovering and growing together as a family.

Before I even read the book I knew,  like many parents, that kids learn from our examples, good and bad. What is encouraging is the stories included in the book from other families show that I’m not alone in struggling with this concern. And beyond that, these families were able to take control and make change happen. Along with examples, the book helps you think about and examine what characteristics you want your kids to have, what type of people you want them to be now and in the future. The book provides you with a number of questions to ask yourself. The book goes beyond just providing information. It is designed to be an interactive tool, with questions, topics and worksheets to get you started. Plus all the worksheets included in the book are available online.

My kids may be young, but what better stage to start instilling future characteristics and adjusting the examples I’ve set. We’re looking forward to our first family meeting and seeing where that takes us. For more information on the book and additional resources, visit the site Character is the Key.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Character is the Key: How to Unlock the Best in Our Children and Ourselves and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Mom Central comes to Canada

momAre you familiar with Mom Central? It’s a great online resource for busy moms containing household tips, parenting solutions, product reviews and more. Looking for information on getting your toddler to bed, Mom Central can help. Trying to find ways to instill healthy eating habits in your kids, Mom Central can help. You’ll find answers to these and many other topics and forums that will be of interest to all moms.

Mom Central also tests and reviews many products that are a perfect fit for moms and their families. Moms, just like you, test and provide feedback on these products through their Mom Testing Panel.

Founder Stacy DeBroff describes Mom Central best as “…a resource for busy Moms – a place where Moms can trust they’ll find helpful information they need to make their lives easier.”

Now in Canada.

But the best part is……Mom Central is now in Canada! Yes, Mom Central has realized that although we have many similarities to our neighbouring US moms, we are in deed different. And sometimes we can’t find those US products up in in the north and visa-versa. So now they have set-up a  Canadian Mom Testing Panel. And they’re looking for amazing Canadian moms like you to join their team (no blog required).

Canadian Mom Testing Panel.

As a member of the Canadian Mom Testing Panel, you’ll get access to new products before they hit the store shelves. Share your opinion with leading brand manufacturers and help make products better for moms like you. You’ll also get a chance to learn and share your thoughts with other moms and maybe even get the opportunity to pass along coupons and other promotions that moms in your network would enjoy.

Sign-up now to be part of Canadian team.

But there’s more…

Join to win 1 of 5 Canon PowerShot Cameras

Join to win 1 of 5 Canon PowerShot Cameras

And if that wasn’t enough incentive to join the Canadian Mom Testing Panel, how about a Canon PowerShot Camera? Yup, if you sign-up to join the Canadian Mom Testing Panel between June 1 and June 30, 2009, you’ll be entered in a random draw to win 1 of 5 Canon PowerShot Cameras (Contest is open to Canadian residents only. Contest runs from June1, 2009 to June 30, 2009. Draw date will take place on July 6, 2009. Winners will be notified by email)

So what’s stopping you? Sign-up now to be a member of the Canadian Mom Testing Panel AND enter to win 1 of 5 Canon PowerShot Cameras.

Mom Central on Twitter.

And if you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow Mom Central Canada (@MC_Canada) to keep in the know and find out the latest news.

Good Luck!