Monday, October 19, 2009

The Buzz on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs + Scrat Pack

The winners of this giveaway are the following commenters:
Rayne of Terror

I think I can track most of you down, but if you could email me your address to me, that would be even faster!   cageyATgmailDOTcom

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Ice Age 3 Dawn Of The Dinosaurs
In the  coolest Ice Age adventure yet, Manny and the herd discover a lost world of ferociously funny dinosaurs, including a cranky T. rex who’s got a score to settle with Sid! Meanwhile, Scrat goes nuts over the beautiful Scratte, but is she trying to win his heart – or steal his acorn?

The Ice Age 3 Dawn Of The Dinosaurs Three-Disc Combo Pack (Blu-ray, DVD and a Digital Copy) provides hours of extra fun for the entire family including an Ice Age digital story book maker, commentary by director Carlos Saldanha, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, two special Scrat shorts, a how-to-draw Scrat tutorial with the filmmakers and much more.  The Three-Disc set will be available for a suggested retail price of $39.99 U.S./$49.99 Canada. Additionally, the Ice Age 3 Dawn Of The Dinosaurs standard DVD will be available for $29.98 U.S./$43.48 Canada.  The Ice Age 3 Dawn Of The Dinosaurs “Scrat Pack” Double DVD Pack, another great value for moms and fun for kids, will also be available for a limited time only featuring an overload of special features focusing on the determined squirrel including three “Scrat” games exclusive to the disc.  The “Scrat Pack” will be available for a suggested retail price of $34.98 U.S./$45.98 Canada.

I have not seen the two previous Ice Age movies and hesitated to go see the 3rd one last summer while it was in the theatres.  I feared we would be lost just joining the franchise and had not hear too much about the previous two movies.  However, when asked to review this particular Ice Age, I was drawn in with the word "dinosaur". And we were not disappointed.

The animation in this Ice Age is of very good quality and admittedly, I am pretty snobbish about that.  I did appreciate how some of the action scenes were choreographed as if they had been "live-filmed" - during one of the chase scenes I loved the animated "mud" hitting the "camera lens".

The overall storyline is actually quite clever and the jokes are witty, we laughed from the beginning to the end.  The humor is a little on the crass side, so be aware if that is not your thing.  However, it is most certainly MY thing and to that end,  I am raising my own children to appreciate Crass With Class, as well.   If your children are sensitive to what I delicately refer to as Food Chain Topics, you may want to watch this first to gauge their reaction since the T-Rex is pretty menacing in parts.  My kids, ages 2 and 4,  were not bothered in the least by the T-Rex, but we are pretty frank about the fact that some dinosaurs are carnivores and this means they eat MEAT.

We viewed this DVD on several different TVs - plasma, LCD and regular tube.  I thought the quality was fine on all three devices.

Is the extra Scrat pack worth it?  I would say yes - I appreciate animated shorts if they are done well.  And yes, the three Scrat shorts included on the bonus pack are clever, witty and beautifully animated (my favorite was the "time machine" short - I could watch that one over and over - hilarious!)  As an animation buff, I also appreciated learning the behind-the-scenes information as to how they go about making the entire movie itself.  

In short, we really enjoyed this movie and even after having seen it over and over and over the past few weeks, we are STILL watching it and even I am still giggling during the same parts.  If your little ones enjoy dinosaurs, this should be on the top of your list for the holiday buying season - I can think of two little kids who will most certainly be getting Ice Age 1 and Ice Age 2 in their stockings this year.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, comes out October 27 on Amazon and will be on both Blu-ray and DVD!

Would you like to win a copy?? I have 5 copies for giving away! Between now and October 26th, Midnight CST, leave a comment, including your email address and tell me which is your favorite dinosaur.  Sorry, this is only open to US residents.

My favorite dinosaur? The triceratops! I just love those three horns.

The Buzz on Elmo's Animal Adventures

Dude.  It's Elmo.  Need I say more?  No?  Yes?  Well, then.....

A brief synopsis of Elmo's Adventures:
Join Elmo and his friends as they embark on 3 fun-filled adventures.  Help Elmo and Tilly find Little Bo Peep’s missing cow by following clues and working together as a team.  Use animal facts to help Elmo & Abby succeed in the “Find The Amphibian Game” and join Elmo in a camping adventure as he learns that sharing is fun and discovers the different types of food that animals eat.    Includes special appearances by Cameron Diaz and Patricia Arquette.

We have a winner! My kids loved this video - yes, it was Elmo and featured the usual fun songs and dancing that Elmo for which is known..  It was a no-brainer.  Still - it also featured animals and included some bits about camping. Everybody wins with that combination in my household.

Yes, this video was a success in our household and I would highly recommend it as a holiday season gift idea.

Elmo's Animal Adventures is available on

The Buzz on Animal Planet's "Lions"

Recently, I received a copy of Animal Planet's Lions for reviewing.

Synopsis of Lions:
See the amazing story of A Lion Called Christian, experience the lion’s existence in the Serengeti in The Lion’s Share, learn about the magical golden king of the jungle in White Lions and see how lions are going “rogue” in Kruger National Park in Rogue Lions.  Witness the internet sensation Christian the Lion and his touching reunion with his former caretakers; journey into the heart of the Seregenti as drought threatens the survival of a close-knit pride; explore the regal realm of the majestic white lion; and venture into Kruger National Park where lions are changing their hunting behaviors and are slowly becoming more of a threat to humans.  First shown on Animal Planet, Lions provides a striking look at these stunning animals and their behaviors.

I really wanted to like this. Really.  It was about lions.  How cool is that?  Unfortunately, I could not view this DVD in its entirety - the storylines plodded along and the music was not very inspiring.  And while my own children are not sensitive to Food Chain Topics (e.g. graphic footage of lions mawing down on zebra meat did not bother my children in the least), other parents need to be aware there was some graphic footage in these DVDs for youngsters. And fortunately, my kids did not notice the S-E-X scenes since I am not ready to explain that particular life process just yet.

This DVD is definitely educational and does contain useful information regarding lions.  I would not recommend it for younger children, but it may be more appropriate for older children.  If you are interested in purchasing this DVD, it can be purchased on

The Buzz on Animal Planet's "Elephants"

When I received the request to review some videos for Animal Plant, I jumped on it. With two kids crazy for animals, it seemed to be a good fit.

The synopsis of Elephants:
An extended elephant family, featuring a venerable Old Bull, embarks upon a life-and-death journey across the vast African plains. Through oppressive conditions they persevere, facing extraordinary joys and sorrows in life.
Queen of the Elephants

The people of India regard the elephant as a god; yet today, the needs of humans and the elephants are diametrically opposed. This special follows adventurer/conservationist Mark Shand and Parbarti Barua -- the only female mahout (elephant trainer/handler) in India and perhaps the world -- as they trek 300 miles across India on the backs of elephants. Their ELEPHANTS aim is to bring attention to the plight of the elephant. As India's population explodes and living space disappears, the crucial pathways linking one feeding ground to another are being cut, driving elephants to raid fields and towns for food.
I was sad to discover that we did not enjoy this DVD.  The story lines were not compelling and I could not get my son to even finish it with me.  I also viewed this DVD on both of our TVs, the fancy 52" plasma and the regular 27" tube - I was not really impressed with the cinematography and some of the imagery was grainy-looking.

While I cannot recommend purchasing this particular DVD, if your child is into elephants, it would be worth checking out at your local library. The DVD was at least educational and provided useful information regarding elephants.

If you are interested in buying this DVD, The Discovery Store has it for sale.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Buzz on K2Workshops

Updated:  K2 Workshops are offering a 15% discount ! Just sign up for a class at on their site and use discount code BF15AJ091X during checkout!! I can report that I have already saved far more money on my recent projects than the entire cost of a single class. Definitely worth checking out!)

Note: This is a review post - I did not pay for this workshop.

That said, please read on to see why I would have totally paid for this class.

Recently K2Workshops of Kansas City invited me to attend their workshop Home Improvement Champion 101: Basic Home Repair Workshop for Women . Oh sure, I was excited about the prospect of spending an entire Saturday with Average Jane and Rita of Surrender Dorothy, but truthfully, there was more to my excitement. Three months ago, the light in our downstairs half-bath off of our kitchen went dark. I dreaded calling an electrician knowing that a bare minimum charge would be $75 or so. So, I put it off. Eventually, my grandma learned of our plight my negligence and actually gave us $100 for our anniversary in June to pay for it. That $100 is still sitting in our checking account. Where is my husband in all of this? My husband does not do repairs, he pays for home repairs. Like his own father did.

I knew going into this marriage that I was going to be the Handy Girl. I am the one who takes our son to Home Depot and Lowe's and that is fine by me. I love watching HGTV with drool on my chin. So yes, I can do some basic repairs, but truthfully, I often do a sloppy, inadequate job or mess things up so badly that I am left sitting on my couch with a bottle of wine sobbing wet, heavy tears (a true story, circa 2002, involving 20+ holes and a rebellious curtain rod.) Then, I have to hire someone to fix my mess and do the job properly.

So, off to class I went.

First up, we learn about the tools on our pretty desk. I am hurriedly making a wish list for Christmas.

Next, we learn the importance and difference between varying types of wall anchors while I mentally plan vengeance on that errant curtain rod. Our instructor demonstrates the entire process before our eyes, then sends us back to our spaces. I am shocked to learn that I can hang a towel rod that even my children would find difficult to destroy.

Then, we learn about sheetrock repair. They showed us two methods - one involving essentially nailing a piece of wood behind the hole, then cutting a piece of sheet rock to fit the hole, nailing that piece in, then mudding over whole thing. The other was a jury-rig (in my opinion) method called the "california patch" - Rita has a great picture of it on her site.

Next, we did electrical where we actually installed a light fixture and a light switch ourselves. With real, potentially heart-stopping electricity! Yowser.

We did not get to do much hands-on with the plumbing, but their demonstration and illustrations were very thorough.

Some quick tips that I learned during our conversations:
  • Use masking tape for marking measures on a wall with a pencil, just rub it across your pants first to get it "linted up" so it does not peel off the paint. Now, you don't have to mark the wall directly.
  • Sheet rock dust is insidious! Do not use a regular vacuum bag because it will seep through that bag. It was recommended to lay down drop cloths to catch as much as possible during sanding. Otherwise, it will need to be cleaned up by hand or a special, very expensive vacuum bag needs to be used.
  • Periodically clean pipes out with a mixture of 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Pour baking soda first, then the vinegar, then use a stopper to keep it down in the pipe Otherwise, it will bubble up into your sink! You want it bubbling in the pipe itself, where it needs to do it dirty job. After 10 minutes, pour hot water down the pipe quickly.
  • Toilets should be used for what they were meant - not as trashcans. This most definitely means dental floss, which apparently is far more comment of a problem than you would think. Floss can built up in your pipe and create a "trap" of sorts. Dental floss = toilet trouble.
The class included a box lunch and we went home with pretty notebooks chock full of information.

Immediately after class, I went to the Home Depot nearby and purchased all the materials for changing out our light switches. Went home, ate dinner and got to work. It took me less than 15 minutes and much of that was spent running to the basement, flipping breakers, figuring out which was The One That Would Not Kill Me. I can now pee in sweet, lighted bliss. Thanks, K2 Workshops! I have fixed another broken light switch and will be purchasing some light fixtures this week to replace THREE broken ones outside ( a safety issue, folks.) I am putting new towel rods in our October budget.

I am also now signed up for their mailing list in anxious anticipation for a tile class - something else we desperately need fixed around here.

K2 Workshops does offer gift certificates - I think this would be a great option for a newly married couple or as a house warming gift.

It is difficult to explain how I felt Saturday night - not just excited that I had saved my family some money, but also empowered and confident that I could do it myself. Furthermore, my husband was totally impressed and that, my friends, is priceless.

Pretty, clean, innocent spaces just waiting for the hammers to drop.

Child-sized chin-up bars.
Nothing is bringing those fools down. Not even my own children.

Holes? We don't need no stinking holes.
For when the children DO bring the bars down. Gulp.

Rita's Audition for the Price is Right
I still cannot believe that I installed a light fixture all on my own. And lived to tell the tale.

And now? I need to take the plumbing class.
With a toilet like this, who can resist???

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Buzz on the Valentine's Style "Hugs Fur You" Monkey from Build-A-Bear

The Winner!
These random numbers were brought to you by (aka Blame Them, Not Me):
Commenter#3 Dee has won the Build-A-Bear certificate!

Please email me your snail mail address to cagey333(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Confession: I do not like stuffed toy animals that are not in their "natural" color. Yes, I freely admit I am a snob about this. And then? I gave birth to a daughter who loves animals - period. She would rather have an animal than a doll and she does not care if it is stuffed or plastic. She does not care if it is pink, brown, purple, or black. Therefore, when I was asked to review the Valentine's Style Hugs Fur You Monkey I was quite happy to do so - I suspected that Anjali would agree.

She was taking her nap when it arrived at our house. I set the half-opened Monkey Condo and went about my business. When she woke up from her nap, she almost immediately discovered the pink fur peeking out and helped herself to digging it out of the box. I have to say, I was a bit smitten myself. This pink monkey is totally and unbearably Rub Your Face In It soft.

Quality? I had my way with it - pulling, poking and prodding - it is a well-made animal and I suspect we will get many years use out of it (speaking of quality - a Build-A-Bear frog that I bought my nephew 4 years ago is still in rotation at my sister's house.)

So, in conclusion - Build-A-Bear was a resounding success in our house and I suspect we will be making a trip there for Anjali's 2nd birthday this summer. I am thinking Hello Kitty may catch her eye. If not, I may disown her or just buy it for myself. Or both.

I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to Build-A-Bear! Please comment on this post by Midnight, February 14th and I will draw someone at random.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Buzz on "The Rookie Moms Handbook" by Heather Gibbs Flett and Whitney Moss

The Winner!
These random numbers were brought to you by (aka Blame Them, Not Me):

Commenter #2 MB has won the Rookie Mom's Handbook!

Please email me your snail mail address to cagey333(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Last summer at BlogHer, I had the great fortune to meet Heather Flett, one of the author's of the Rookie Moms Handbook. I requested a copy of the book to review and Heather got right on it. I, however, did not get right on it. In fact, I did not even near it. I am terribly ashamed at myself for neglecting to review this lovely book sooner. It really was enjoyable and thought-provoking - I wish I could have had a copy of this before I had a baby myself

The subtitle of the book is "250 Activities to do with (and without!) your baby". A few of the ideas are pretty inspired: #242 Get More Out of Goodnight Moon (i.e. noticing the changing position of the bunny in bed, the mouse in the room, the changing patterns of grays, the advancement of the clock, etc.) or #169 Take Your Tot to a Grown Up Restaurant (Hint: Arrive early with the old folks and avoid ruining someone's date night) or #139 Sharpen Your Brain (i.e. doing word jumbles, Sudoku or just reading the newspaper. With both of my babies, I would make a point of reading one local news website and CNN every day just so I would have something to talk about with my husband!) A few are just plain common sense: #42 Curl Up and Dye (i.e. get a hair cut, an eyebrow wax, etc.) or #185 Host a TV Night With Your Pals (I hosted a Survivor finale party when my son was fairly little - it was great having everyone come over!) or #159 Introduce the Tupperware (i.e. get out the Tupperware for you baby to play with)

I can definitely recommend this read for both mothers staying home full-time or those going back to work. There are many fun ideas presented here and it would definitely help a new mom keep perspective of her non-mothering side.

I am giving away my review copy of this! Please comment on this post by Midnight, February 14th and I will draw someone at random.