Skwooshi as you start to pull it apart!
If you are like me, I try to stay away from most art projects because they just wind up being too messy. That was until I discovered Skwooshi-a moldable dough that is mess free, easy to clean up and never dries out! Valerie and I were asked to test out this NEW product that launches in Columbus today, and nationwide in September! We were both given samples last week and our kids went nuts over this stuff! Skwooshi Color Maker!
At my house, my kids ripped open the packages and immediately wanted to play with it but I told them to read the instructions first! (Kid testers ages: 11, 8 and 5 years old) The Skwooshi dough looks like a rectangle brick when it comes out of the containers. It doesn't seem very soft at first because you have the "mold it" with your hands until it softens. When you pull it apart it sort of feels like sand and it pulls apart like taffy!
The kids dove into it right away and started using the "Activity Kit." The Activity Kit included: a cutting tool to chop down the Skwooshi into smaller parts, a roller to create the pattern design on the Skwooshi, cookie cutters to make designs (circle, square, cloud and star), a Brick Maker to make long bricks and a Tube and Plunger to make layered bricks. The rectangular storage boxes also contain patterns on the inside so you can also make an imprint on the dough too! The "Color Maker" was also used to mix two colors together to make a round swirl pattern. (see pictures!) Skwooshi entertained my kids at least an hour or more! (Surprisingly, it was my oldest kid who wound up playing with it the longest!) What my kids made with Skwooshi!
The only suggestions I would make to improve the product is the Tube and Plunger. Do not fill the Skwooshi dough to the top because it is very hard to get out! My husband was able to push out the giant brick out of the tube and I told the kids not to fill it up to the top again. A small amount of dough is what kids are able to push out on their own. Valerie's kids said that the dough isn't as sturdy as some other dough as they have used in the past but that didn't stop them from having hours of fun!
Finally, there is a chart on the back of the box which encourages you to mix the base colors to make new colors. (i.e. red and blue make purple) My son still wants to figure out a formula to make the colors to "go back" to their original colors since his sisters started mixing all of the colors together! Looks like we will be heading out to stores to buy some more soon! Skwooshi is available in Columbus at Toys R Us, Learning Express and Larson's Toys and Games.
Skwooshi is giving away an Activity Set and 2 pack of colors to 5 of our readers! Click here on details of how to enter!
Full Disclosure: Social Moms Around Columbus was given product in exchange for a review-as always opinions are our own!
DRAGONS was the theme of the circus and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey had show stopping thrills in every act. Ninjas were also plentiful including a hilarious clown act of Ninja Epic Fails. I still personally love the Trapeze Act and the Motorcycles in the cage. Little Joe was hoping a person would jump from a high platform into a teeny tiny pool like on the cartoons, but all he got was a teeny tiny lap dog jumping into a net from about 5 feet of the ground. The dog act was super cutie. My daughter enjoyed the humor with the old fashioned clown act of a Princess trapped in a high tower. I liked the music during the clown act "Rescue Me". Of course no one can leave with out buying something (or maybe you have stronger will power?). We didn't go for any of the light up spinning thing-a-ma-bobs....we got FUNNEL CAKE FRIES! They smelled divine and were deliciously fattening...right to the hips..sigh. We had a great time and thank you Jonathon Iverson the AMAZING Ring Master for mesmerizing us with a stunning powerful voice. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is truly the GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!
Boys and sports: it seems to go hand in hand right? " Don't cry" "Shake it off" or "Get in there" are just some of the comments that I hear parents saying to their kids. (Boys and girls!)
But what if your son isn't the "sports star?" What if he just starts kicking the dirt during the baseball game or picks the grass on the soccer field? Is it time to move on or try another sport? How many sports does a parent try before they determine that their son may just not be the "sports kid?" I think that some moms aren't as concerned about this as their fathers. I think men who are fathers, link their own masculinity to their sons being "sports stars."
In my own family, I knew my son would not be the "sports star" and I am 100 percent okay with it. I know he is a smart kid and his strengths just lie elsewhere. My son continues to play sports but I know it is not his passion. I am just happy that he gets some physical activity. (No, not just playing video games!) Also, I am glad that he has continued to play the same sports year to year as he has simply improved his skills over the years.
We've tried Boy Scouts for a few years but to me that is more of parent/child activity when they are young. Other parents have had their boys take piano lessons or do karate. What about hip-hop (or another form of dance class) or drama? I know some parents cringe at the thought of their boys taking a dance class; yes, their is some gender bias. There just seems to be more opportunities for girls to try a variety of activities: dance, cheerleading, sports, Girl Scouts, etc.
What activities have you had your son try other than sports?
I attended my first Thirty-One party in the Fall of 2008. I had thought about joining for a year and cannot believe that I took an entire year to decide. Thirty- One has been a part of my life for almost four years now and it has been such a blessing to me, my family, and our lives.
I love that I can feel successful in my business, yet still find plenty of time for my family. The $99 I spent to join has turned into more than an investment for me. Thirty -One has not only helped me to give our family financial freedom, but has also been great for my self esteem and has given me friends.
I am Jenny... a Thirty-One girl, a wife, a mother of three beautiful children, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and I love all Thirty-One has to offer.Check out my Giveaway here on SMAC and my website! Good luck and I look forward to meeting you at a future Thirty-One party! ~Jenny
Valerie ~Blogger Babe
I know, I know..total fashionista! The weather in Nashville, TN would not make up its mind when we ventured south in February. The kids and I decided to take advantage of the long President's Day weekend and visit our friends who recently moved to Nashville, TN.
Nashville has been on my list for sometime but I was also a little nervous to drive just me and the kids. Sounds crazy, but I have not driven on any trips that far by myself since college days. Luckily my kids are older and I just stand in the hallway like a short order cook..."3 socks, 3 underwear, 3 pants...."
The day we left it was clear for the most part and the drive was easy. The kids were excited to see their friends and I was too! My friend Donna is really great at finding neat things to do in a new town and she had it all planned out.
First up was Historic Franklin, TN. Very quaint downtown area with little shops and pubs. It reminded me of downtown Powell, OH. The weather was trying hard to snow flurry that day and I was convinced Ohio weather was following me! We went in and out of all kinds of shops, but the kids thought the Toy Store was the best! It was very fun looking at old fashioned toys and a whole area dedicated to Civil War History. I took the time to explain to Little Joe about the Civil War and he got a replica Musket. I tried out a Pink Double Barrel, kids thought I was hilarious! After shopping we headed to Puckett's for lunch. I decided to have them hit me with some Sweet Tea, but was warned that if you're not used to sweet tea you will probably get a cavity. Little Joe and I decided to try sweet tea shooters. TOO SWEET! I ordered a half n half. Donna suggested we try the Fried Green Beans! No problem finishing those off because they were delicious!
Next was an ALL DAY excursion.... In the morning we headed to Cooter's, the Dukes of Hazards Museum. Very fun and great pic of the General Lee. The museum was filled with Dukes of Hazards everything! If this was a favorite show of yours, I would put this on the list and it's FREE.
Then we headed downtown Nashville to soak up some Honky Tonk. We walked by the Ryman, listened to a band play in the The Stage, boot and hat shopped and last stop was the Wild Horse Saloon for country line dance lessons! Do you like my hat? My kids favorite part was the band at The Stage! (check out pics below)
Now, a quick freshen up and ladies night out at a Historic Speakeasy, The Patterson House. The Patterson House is so mysterious. Just looks like a random building on a corner. When entering there is a small waiting area and some "House Rules" posted (see below). When you enter they pull back a velvet curtain and its like a step back in time. SORRY, no pictures allowed in the speakeasy! All kinds of bottles of liquor missing labels of course. Little menus at your spot with all kinds of drinks I had never heard of. I ended up with a vodka drink with strawberries ground by hand in front of me with a dash of cinnamon. it was divine. The Patterson is a must see ladies!
Ahh... time to go home to OHIO...home of the Buckeyes. Farewell to TN, don't worry this city girl will be back!
Our greeting when we arrived to our bowling lane!
Last Thursday, I attended the VIP grand opening of the Star Lanes Bowling Boutique. I was excited to check out the new bowling place located in front of Polaris Mall. I was allowed to bring one guest so I brought my friend Marci. (Gotta have a friend to go bowling, right??) Upon entry, you notice that whole place is fairly dark with surrounding bright blue lighting and tv screens from the bar area. (Like a nightclub)
Marci and I decided to take a lap around the place before deciding what to do first. We went to the game room, checked out the bowling area, the bar area, billards area and the Events room/VIP area. Since there were a lot of people, we decided that we should try out bowling first. (There are 14 lanes) We went to "Guest Services" area where we got our bowling shoes and our assigned lane. They also asked for both our names. When we arrived at our lane, our names were already listed on the computer screen! We also noticed there are blue leather sofas in each lane. No cheap seats to sit on and put on your bowling shoes around here! There are also tables in front of the blue leather couches for you to place your drinks/food. Another nice perk about the tables is that you are able to put your shoes underneath the table!
Bowling area with 4 tv sports screens and tv montior above your lane to see your bowling scores!
This place is all high-tech with touchscreens in front of your lane and TV screens above for you to see your scores. Across the 14 lanes, there are 4 giant screens showing sports games. The lanes are dark with various bright lights flickering around. There is an actual "lane" (two stripes and hash marks) so that you can see where you need to throw your ball down the lane!
During this time, we were served a variety of appetizers: chips and salsa, spinach and artichoke dip, short rib sliders, chicken pillows (chicken dumplings), and boneless breaded chicken bites. Everything was delicious! Waiters were also there to get our drinks. Marci and I bowled one game (time limit due the party event) and can you believe that we tied?
Game room area.
Next, it was back to check out the Events area. This is more of a private area
which includes a bar and 6 lanes. It is brighter in this room. When we stopped
in this room, we were served with crispy bread pudding bites with a sweet
dipping sauce! (Kids and adults would love this!)
Next up, was the game room! We took our Game Room Cards and went to the machine to load our information on it. This room features traditional games like Skee Ball and Air hockey as well as video games such as Pac Man, Doodle Jump and Fruit Ninja. In this area, you use a "Game Room Card" to load your dollar amount from the machine. This card will also keep track of your ticket points which you can redeem at the "Redemption" counter for prizes. I have to say that if I brought my kids here, keeping ticket points on your card instead of carrying the tickets is far easier on parents!! Marci and I played Skee Ball (yes, I beat Marci by winning more ticket points) and Air Hockey. (she beat me 6-4!)
Finally, it was back to the bar area where we could see people playing billards. (There are 2 billards tables.) It was here that I got a glass of wine and a waiter came by and asked if we wanted to
try fresh, warm out of the oven chocolate chip cookies! (Yes, please!)
Now, back to reality! As moms, we want to know prices of this kind of entertainment! During
most hours, the price of bowling is $5.95 per game and $3.95 for shoe rental. This pricing is not too far off from other bowling places around town. Game room prices vary based on the games you choose to play and how much you load on your card! (.25 a credit, video games can be high as 6-9 credits) Billards are $2 per game. There are various specials located on their "promotions" page which include "kids eat free on Wednesdays and Date Night Thursdays." There is a large selection of food to choose from on their menu that includes appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza and dessert. (Also, there are clearly marked items that are GF-gluten free) Prices range from $3.50-$14 for most food items. Again, all of the food was outstanding!
This is a great place for a girls night out, date night or for families. (families during the day) There are also various adult party packages and kids/teen birthday party packages. If you are looking for fun entertainment and great food, head to Star Lanes Polaris!
Full disclosure: Social Moms Around Columbus attended the VIP Grand Opening party event--as always, opinions are our own!
View from Club Level seats!
Have you been to Columbus Blue Jackets game yet?? If you are worried that the kids might be bored during the game, think again! ( 4 years old and up is what I would recommend)
There is loud pulsating music between plays, a plethora of concessions and a constant prizes given away throughout the game. Examples of prizes include: A mini-blimp that would drop a bag of into the stands, t-shirts being shot into the crowd, etc.
Tickets prices are from $25 (check out the weekend family value packs-$25 a seat include a ticket, hot dog, Pepsi, popcorn, Cold Stone Creamery Voucher and Ohio Health Ice Haus Skating pass) to $65. Parking will cost you $10 in the parking garages nearby.
I have been fortunate to have gone to 2 games this season for free. (Free company tickets!) I have never watched hockey before but I learned a few things about the game. There are three 20 minute quarters and 20 minute breaks in between. Plenty of time to walk the kids around the arena or go to the bathroom. Or for my kids; buy more concessions!
There is also a tiny kid playhouse and a small play area where kids hit the circles and they light up. (Located on the main floor)
Something else I learned about hockey; if both teams are scoreless, then teach team selects a player to shoot into the goal for a point (goalie is blocking the shot, of course!). Each player from the opposite team gets 3 chances to score a goal. Well, on the night we went the CBJ scored and we won the game 1-0! Finally, there was a fight that broke out during the game and I told my kids that this was just part of the game. (It looked fake to me since the refs let it go on for few minutes before the intervened!)
My kids had a great time and I am sure we will be back soon for another game!
Tips for Dealing with Your Child's Food Allergies
Food allergies can make life difficult for anyone. But children have the hardest time. Too young to fully understand the problem, dependent on adults to help them avoid allergens, and of an age when trying dangerous new things is taken for granted, children are especially vulnerable to food allergies. They're also the most common sufferers: Of the 220 to 520 million food allergy sufferers worldwide, most are children.
But there are simple steps parents can take to protect their children from harmful foods. Here are a few.
1. Communicate with Your Children's Educators
Schools are becoming much better informed than they used to be about child food allergies. This helps students avoid harmful foods such as eggs, peanuts and dairy. But teachers and school administrators need to know about your child's specific allergies and his or her dietary needs. They can't do their job if you don't keep them informed.
2. Communicate with Your Child
This is even more critical. Your children are the ones on the front lines, and they are the ones who have to say no. Make sure your child keeps a list of foods to avoid. Children learn a lot by negative experience (no one wants to land in the hospital for anaphylaxis twice), but it's also important to teach them to read labels, ask questions when they're served, and not touch unknown foods. And reassure your children, make sure they know you're watching out for them.
3. Consider an Allergy-Conscious School
Generally speaking, the awareness of allergy concerns is improving in schools, but some are better than others. The best already have specific practices in place to keep allergic students from coming into contact with their particular allergens. These schools keep in touch with parents about those policies so parents are always up to date. If you're looking at schools, make sure to ask how they deal with childhood food allergies.
4. Give Your Child Safe Snacks
Give your child safe snacks to take to school, if that's allowed. Or write a list of safe snacks and share it with teachers. This gives other parents an idea of what they should and shouldn't send when snack food is shared.
5. Keep Your Child in Medication
Make sure your allergic child always has his or her allergy medications. Get an EpiPen and make sure it's always close to your child. Check the expiration date and buy a new pen when that date approaches. Take your child to an allergist and get whatever other prescriptions are necessary. Keep them filled, always.
6. Know What You're Dealing With
This should go without saying, but you should do whatever you have to, at the outset, to determine the exact cause of your child's allergy. This often isn't easy, but it's the single most critical piece of information you can have. Without it, you're shooting in the dark.
7. Give Your Child Information
Help your child learn as much as possible about his or her allergy and the dangers that come with it, as well as safety strategies, medications, and good eating habits. Have your child do some online research into the allergy and talk to other children with similar problems. Make sure your child understands that even trace amounts of allergy-inducing foods are dangerous.
8. Forgive Yourself the Emergencies
Emergencies and mistakes will happen. Your child may suffer a severe attack or even end up in the hospital. You certainly hope this doesn't happen, but as long as your child is OK in the end, chalk it up as a learning experience and move on. The last thing you or your child should do is live in constant fear.
Dealing with childhood food allergies on a daily bases can be a nightmare. Ask any parent who's had to do it. But some simple planning, coordination and communication can make things much easier for you and safer for your child. These eight steps should help.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
Outside the Columbus Children's Theatre!
When my older kids started school last August, I decided to take my 4 year old to the Columbus Children's Theatre to see "Sleeping Beauty." Tickets were reasonably priced ($11 per person) and I thought it would be fun for her and her friend! The Columbus Children's Theatre also encouraged the kids to "dress up" so off we went with our Sleeping Beauty costumes! (My daughter dressed up, NOT ME!)
The Columbus Children's Theatre is located near the North Market. There is street parking or garage parking nearby. (you can park in the North Market too!) Once inside the theatre, the usher walks you to your seats. Before the show starts, you are told that you cannot take pictures during the show. Also, they also inform us that there maybe some scary parts during the show or complete darkness at times. (That means tell your kids not be afraid or hold their hands!) I also liked the face that it a small theatre; nice, cozy and not overwhelming.
Once the show started, I noticed children we mostly acting in the play. (ages ranging 8-16) I did not do my homework and realized that kids are the ones who do most of the acting in all of these plays! (Yes, all of this information is on the web and the playbill!)
I was impressed with the acting skill of the kids-especially the girl who played Maleficent, the evil witch. My 4 year old daughter and her friend enjoyed the play. After the show, you could take some pictures with the actors. Since it was almost lunchtime, we walked down the street and ate lunch in the North Market. It was nice to see a "live" theatre show for kids at a reasonable price. I would come back here to take my older kids to experience this as well!
So, the time has come to take your daughter bra shopping. Sigh. She is growing up. Sniff. What happened to the undershirts and half camis? What about the bras with no padding and then padding but no real cup size? WHO TOOK MY LITTLE GIRL? Darn that puberty!
So now your daughter needs a REAL BRA. So, I'm sure your first thought is to go running into Victoria's Secret and buy bras, right? NO WAY JOSE is what I thought. I'm not going around all that lingerie. Being a sensible mom I went directly to Macy's, a reputable and I'm sure CONSERVATIVE department store.
On our way to Macy's I explained I was going to have her measured and that the lady working would be in the dressing room with us. My daughter seemed OK, but was giving me the rolling eyes look like "why is my MOM freaking out". WHATEVER! Breathe people!
I went up to the sales associate and stated my purpose: "My daughter needs a bra and she needs to be measured. This is her FIRST real bra and she is ONLY 10." The associate took us in a dressing room and measured and then went out to bring us some choices. When the associate returned my daughters eyes popped out and she said, "None of my Mom's bras look like that". The associate smiled and said these bras were from the juniors section and that she was young and could wear fun bras. As I stood glaring at the choices I had to shake my head and I repeated, "She's only 10". So we tried on the red demi cup with black lace and the black lace bra with push up padding and the hot pink and green zebra striped snaps in front for easy access OOPS I mean closure. WHAT ON EARTH???? After several attempts to explain my daughter's age and that we wanted something neutral with more coverage, I simply gave up.
We left Macy's and I went straight to Victoria's Secret. I'm not sure my brain knew I was going there when I left, but that's where we ended up. A cute barely 20 something year old offered to help us and I had SERIOUS DOUBTS. I told her the same thing: First Bra, Fitting, and my child's very young age. The associate took us back to meet our bra specialist. She was nice and asked my daughter her name and wrote it on a little card. The bra specialist measured and said she would put the card on the outside of the door so anyone could help and would know her name. It was also explained that there was a button in the changing room that you could press and the attendant would come assist you. HOW NICE IS THAT???
The specialist returned with a NICE selection of neutral beige and pale pink bras with light padding. She said this was a nice place to begin. After we tried one on we pushed the button for her to return because she wanted to see the bra on my daughter to ensure it was a proper fit. THAT MAKES SENSE, DUH. After we made our selection we got to keep the little card. It had the date, measurement and the style bra we chose. The card made it simple to return and shop with Victoria's Secret again.
When we left, my daughter was smiling and felt special. I felt special too. We had GIRL TIME! Thanks VS!
NOTE: Please note that I love to shop at Macy's and that this was just an unfortunate incident.
Social Moms Around Columbus