I remember playing a smaller version of this game with magnets when I was little. It’s the same idea: a wheel spins while holding a collection of little plastic fish whose mouths open and shut as they go around. Players have fishing poles that they use to catch the fish with, and the winner is the person who has caught the most fish by the end.
Let me just say that I remember the smaller version with the magnets and strings to be much, much easier. This version is larger (about eight inches in diameter, I’d guess), and the fishing pole lines are made of plastic, not string like they were in the games from the 80s and 90s.
There are no magnets here; the fish have “teeth” that catch on the line and you pull them out that way. I feel like the wheel moves much too quickly, and by the time the fish you’re trying to grab finally opens its mouth, someone else’s line is in the way, so you miss way more often than in previous versions.
My daughter always beats me at this game. I don’t know if it’s because as an adult, my skills for that type of game have gone downhill or what, but I never have to consciously lose the game to make her feel better about her skills. She legitimately beats me every time.
The game says it’s for players ages four and up, but it’s enjoyable well past age four. I enjoy it, even though I’m embarrassed by my lack of skill. I also like that this is a quick game we can play (mostly because she’s so good at it) in the morning before school when we have 10 minutes to kill, or right before bedtime if I promised to play a game but we’re pressed for time because dinner took too long to cook and eat.
The description on Amazon says there’s music, but I’ve never found a way to play it, and it also says you need two AA batteries. You actually need one C battery instead.
All in all, this is a fun game, though it could be slightly frustrating for parents who played the older version.
Photo credit: Amazon
I like the idea of eye cream because my eye area is one of the ones I’m most sensitive about. I have dark circles both from heredity and a touch of chronic dehydration (I love coffee and the occasional drink, but I forget to drink water and that exacerbates the problem).
I feel that the skin is starting to sag after years of contact lens insertion and removal, plus horrendous allergies that have led to more tugging than I’d like to admit over the years. That area crinkles a lot when I smile, so I’m well on my way to some killer crow’s feet. Finally, the skin around my eyes tends to get dry and scaly.
My eyes are deep set, so I feel that the skin around them is even more noticeable than it would be if they weren’t. I’ve never really found an eye cream (until the DERMAdoctor Photo Dynamic one) that gave me such noticeable results that I felt like I had to repurchase it, though.
In fact, I’ve never really noticed substantial results with any eye cream that I can remember. Moisture, yes; light-reflecting particles that lessen the appearance of dark circles, yes, but none that truly reversed my issues.
I got a few days into my sample jar from Sephora before I noticed that my skin was actually a lot firmer. My upper lid was sagging less. I didn’t feel like I was developing deeper lines every second; the skin seemed plumper. The dry skin and flakes disappeared and my upper lids were smooth.
It really seemed like I had taken years off that area of my face in less than a week, so I kept using it to see how many more improvements I could experience.
That’s where one tiny negative comes in. I feel like all the improvements that were going to happen, happened in that first week. Now I’m in maintenance mode rather than making consistent improvements. When I forgot my sample jar when I went out of town for a few days, I noticed the skin getting a little loose and saggy again.
I already bought the full-size, and if my budget allows ($65 is a lot for .5 oz of eye cream!), I’ll repurchase it. I really am enjoying the results. I think I look a little younger and my makeup goes on more smoothly. Sadly, I haven’t found that this reduced my dark circles at all. It doesn’t claim to, though; instead, it says it will help undereye bags and it did smooth out that area, which was developing fine lines.
I’ll take what I can get and slap concealer over the rest. The price is a shocker, but I’m still working my way through my tiny sample jar almost a month later, and I’ve got another week or two’s worth still there.
Now for the odd part. I’m used to applying eye cream at night or either in the morning and at night. However, this one is activated by UV rays (which kind of turned me off at first), so you use it in the morning. Unlike some eye creams, which are designed to be used only above or below the eye, you can use this one underneath, where crow’s feet develop, and on the upper lid, so you’re able to tackle several problems at once.
Photo credit: Sephora
I’m very sensitive to sounds. They annoy me much more—and more quickly—than they seem to annoy other people. However, puppies can stay entertained for a while if they have a squeaky toy, and if my puppy’s entertained, she’s not sneaking off to play somewhere else and peeing on the floor in another room while I’m working.
She’ll gladly play with the toys I give her in the room next to my office where I can keep an eye on her, though.
I found the perfect combination in these plush toys that contain squeakers that you can’t actually hear. The dog can hear them just fine because they’re squeaking at just above the frequency that humans can hear (the toy squeaks at 28 KHz and the human hearing range tops out at 20), so she’s fascinated without making me feel like I’m being repetitively stabbed in the ear while attempting to type sentences that make sense.
If you have a dog that truly likes to annihilate toys (my older one has a tendency to do that), these probably won’t be the best choice because they’re made just like any other plush toy and probably aren’t durable enough to last more than a couple of days in the jaws of a very determined, large dog. You’ll end up with chunks of fabric and stuffing all over the floor.
For a puppy who just wants a little squeaky buddy to toss around, this is fantastic. If I really listen and I’m the one holding the toy, I can hear air moving out of the squeaker, but that’s it.
They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Prices vary, but they all seem to be under $10.
Photo credit: Amazon
If you’re headed to Disney World in hopes of meeting the princesses and other characters, you’ll want something to get their autographs in. This book does the trick without taking up too much space in your purse or backpack.
You can buy it in the Disney Store for $11.95 or get it at one of the stores in or around Disney World (for some reason, I think we paid $12.95 for ours there, but I could be wrong).
This book has plenty of pages for autographs, plus 25 sleeves for 4 x 6 photos with the corresponding princesses. The only problem, and maybe it was just with ours, is that the pages work free very easily in the back of the book and threaten to fall out if you’re not careful. Our book lasted one day at Disney before the pages were wiggling free in the back.
The front of the book is cute for kids who love princesses. There’s Snow White, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Tiana, and Ariel in front of Cinderella’s Castle. The pages inside the book are pink and include an additional picture of the princesses on each autograph page.
There’s a loop at the top to hold a pen in place, but it unfortunately doesn’t actually come with one (that would have been a nice touch, I think). If you’re shopping at Disney World, some of the sales associates will actually recommend one of their thicker pens because it’s easier for the characters to handle through their gloves, and this type of pen won’t fit in the loop, so there’s something else to keep up with.
Overall, I like this book and think it’s a nice touch for a kid who’s going to Disney (especially for the first time), but I feel like it could benefit from some better binding and a larger loop on top.
Photo credit: Disney Store
My friend was rocking a gorgeous fiery red a few nights ago, and it inspired me to try one out, too. Normally I stick to deeper, blue-based reds unless I’m feeling extra quirky, but she made it look so natural, I wanted to find a similar gloss. I found it at Victoria’s Secret.
This gloss is called Give Me Fever, and it’s everything a lip gloss should be, which really surprised me since I haven’t been 100% satisfied with a lot of the beauty products I’ve purchased from there (Beauty Rush glosses are a little too sticky, and another one I tried before was great in pigmentation, but the brush splayed after just a few uses).
What I found:
The only two negatives I found with this: I can’t make it look as natural freshly applied as my friend did with her gloss despite the very similar color, and I can’t think of too many people who could (this is a little more intensely pigmented than what she had), and it transfers, which most glosses do anyway. I’ve had it on my teeth, my daughter’s face, all over the lid to my coffee cup…
I would consider this a good color to wear full strength on date nights or girls’ nights out, but you might want to leave it on your lips for a few minutes and then blot it down during the day to get that pretty stained look without the risk of getting it on your clothes, the kids’ clothes, your kids’ faces, hands, etc.
Photo credit: Victoria’s Secret
I was given a coupon code to give the Froggy Phonics app from Evanced Games a try. It’s recommended for kids from pre-K through second grade, and my six-year-old daughter had a lot of fun with it. She’s currently doing kindergarten and first grade work, and she already knows how to read.
While she had a lot of fun making the frog jump from lily pad to lily pad in search of the right word or froggy friends, she felt like it would be even more fun and educational for someone who isn’t a very strong reader yet since it focuses on letter sounds more than reading complete words.
The graphics are very cute and I enjoyed watching her play with it. At the lower right corner of the screen, you’re given a letter or two and a blank (in later levels, the blanks aren’t there). Sometimes you have to find a word that starts with the single letter given, sometimes there are two letters that make a special sound (like “th” or “ch”), and sometimes you have to hop from lily pad to lily pad in search of a word that ends with or contains a certain letter or letter combination instead.
When you find it and tap it, the frog jumps onto that lily pad, the word pops up, and you’re told what the word is. I love games like this where kids are learning letter sounds and words and don’t even realize it. It’s teaching not only single letter sounds, but letter combinations that don’t sound the way they seem like they should when taken one letter at a time.
The goal of the game is to collect stars for jumping on the correct words (five words earn one star, and you can collect three stars per level) and eventually get to the Firefly Festival. You can also find “froggy friends” along the way, which she thought was fun.
Not all of the levels were the same. They seemed to get a little harder each time, starting with single letters and blanks and ending with letter combinations within words with no blanks to let you know where in the word to expect to see them.
I think this is a great game for pre-K through at least first grade. Second graders may still enjoy it, but probably have enough reading experience not to need the repetition of the game. I could see advanced first and second graders getting bored with it quickly, but pre-K students, kindergarteners, and first graders who are just getting into reading should love it. It’s $4.99 on iTunes.
Photo credit: Froggy Phonics app screenshot, Evanced Games
A sales associate turned me on to the Nude Skincare line a while ago and I haven’t looked back since. The Cleansing Oil Face and Eyes is gentle on my dry, sensitive skin without stripping it of its natural oils or making it feel too dry even after washing. It isn’t syrupy like other cleansing oils can be, either, which is a nice change.
You use it by applying a small amount (roughly a dime or nickel-sized amount) to your hands, rubbing them together, and then rubbing them gently over your dry face. From there, add a splash of water to your hands, rub them together, then begin massaging your face with them. Once the oil becomes wet, it takes on more of a milky consistency, and there’s no tugging on your skin necessary to remove your makeup.
This takes off all of my face makeup and most of my eye makeup. If you’re particularly meticulous where your eye makeup removal is involved, you may still want to wipe over your lids with a cotton ball and a separate eye makeup remover, but I don’t think there’s enough left to bother with the extra step.
After I use it, I feel that my skin is softer, smoother, and glowing. It can, however, feel like there’s a leftover residue you have to work harder at removing than you would a typical foaming cleanser.
The scent is light and reminds me a little of rice pudding. It’s natural and allergen-free. The whole product (not just the fragrance) is vegan, gluten-free, and is made with plant oils. I highly recommend this if you have dry or sensitive skin and you’re in the market for a new cleanser. A 3.4 oz bottle is $36, but will last quite a while. My tiny sample alone lasted a week.
Photo credit: Sephora
Karena Dawn and Katrina Hodgson of Tone It Up and Perfect Fit Protein Powder have created a chocolate peanut protein bar that tastes good and makes a good on-the-go snack for moms and kids. I like them, but they could quickly break the grocery budget!
These bars taste really good! The peanut butter flavor isn’t as pronounced as I would have liked, but that’s only a minor concern. I mostly got chocolate and that generic “protein bar” taste most protein bars have (not the same as tasting the protein powder!).
Oddly enough, though, I don’t taste a lot of the protein powder flavor. It’s more of a pop of chocolate on top of a bland, almost crisped rice base, as if it needs more of some other flavor to fill in the gap between the rich cocoa flavor and the rice crisp. It’s hard to describe, but if you’ve had protein bars in the past, there’s a good chance you know what I mean.
I’m guessing they probably wanted to keep the peanut and peanut butter content low to keep the fat content down, but more of that may have done the trick.
These were not as moist and chewy as I expected (again, that probably had to do with the low peanut butter content), but they were far from hard or unpleasant to eat. I was also relieved that they weren’t the really rubbery, almost shiny type of bar that you can bend and stretch (those gross me out and hurt my mouth).
These were close in texture to Luna Bars and the ALT Larabars. Almost crispy, but not like a Kit-Kat. They’re moist enough to feel good in your mouth, but not as moist as most of the regular Larabars.
The Ingredients and Nutritional Value
Unlike the Perfect Fit Protein, which is essentially free of allergens, these bars contain soy and peanuts. They are, however, gluten-free and organic.
Ingredients include: organic dates, organic brown rice protein concentrate, organic brown rice syrup, organic semi sweet chocolate chips, organic roasted peanuts, organic rolled oats, organic brown rice crisp, organic peanut butter, organic raisin paste, organic peanut oil, organic oat fiber, organic flax meal, organic cocoa powder, and cocoa extract.
These bars have 190 calories, six grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, seven grams of protein, and 17 grams of sugar. I was a little surprised by the amount of sugar in the bars, but there is a fair amount of fruit and chocolate, plus the rice crisp also contains sugar.
Overall, I think these are a very good balance of flavor, nutrition, ingredients, and texture. However, I’m not sure I would go out of my way to keep my pantry stocked with them because they’re $23 for a box of nine before shipping, and they’re only available online.
The shipping, however, is really fast, so that part isn’t a complete inconvenience. If they were more readily available and sold individually, I’d probably buy fewer Larabars and KIND bars as snacks and put some of these into the rotation. I just don’t see myself wanting to spend $23 (plus shipping) on a single flavor (or only nine bars).
Photo credit: Perfect Fit Protein
Nude Skincare’s Perfect Polish is one of those products that feels pretty useless while you’re using it but completely takes you by surprise once you see the results.
I got sucked into talking about all kinds of products when I was in Sephora on a mission for a day cream with SPF and some eye cream (it’s easy for me to get distracted there!). The sales associate gave me a sample of this, a cleanser, and an eye cream and sent me on my way. My face was especially flaky after an allergic reaction, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.
After I washed my face, I left my skin a little damp and scooped out about a nickel-sized amount of the product from the jar. I dotted it on my face, wet my hands, and started rubbing in circles with my fingertips. It felt like a creamy cleanser. I could barely sense anything in there that would make it feel like an exfoliant (it’s a far cry from the rough St. Ives Apricot Scrub I used as a teen, before my skin became very sensitive!). I knew it was there, but it just didn’t feel like it was likely to do much.
Rinsing off all the residue was a challenge, which is the only downfall I can find with this product. It felt like I had to keep rinsing and rinsing and rubbing my skin with my palms to get it all off.
Finally, I dried my face and looked in the mirror. My skin was glowing and the flakes were gone. Seriously. They weren’t temporarily disguised because I had just washed my face and my skin was damp. My skin was smooth again and my complexion looked better than usual.
I used the sample up and purchased a full-sized bottle. I’m sure I’ll love it all winter, since that’s when my skin is most sensitive and most prone to flaking. I really can’t believe something so gentle is also so effective. Even with my dry, sensitive skin, I can use this two or three times per week to keep flakes at bay.
Photo credit: Sephora