Kindle for Kids – Limited time sale on Amazon!

Check out this super great deal for an Amazon Kindle designed just for kids! This is a really nice price reduction so if you were ever thinking about getting an e-book for your daughter or son, now is a great time.

Unlike tablets, Kindle is designed just for reading, which means kids can lose themselves in a good book rather than get distracted by videos or games.

Amazon Kindle For Kids Bundle – $20 Off – with the latest Kindle, 2-Year Accident Protection, Kid-Friendly Cover


  • latest Kindle without sponsored screensavers ($99.99 value)
  • A kid-friendly cover ($19.99 value),
  • 2-year warranty provided by SquareTrade ($19.99 value). Save $39.98 compared to when purchased separately.
  • Set reading goals and track progress with Kindle FreeTime
  • Two 2 years of accident protection provided by SquareTrade.
  • Power up a young reader’s vocabulary with features that offer hints for difficult words and let you practice them on digital flashcards
  • Zero distractions – unlike tablets, Kindle is designed just for reading
  • Lighter than a paperback and holds thousands of books
  • Kindle offers more than 250,000 children’s titles, plus easily borrow e-books from your public library

Fond Memories Were Created With This.

The “Playskool Poppin Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper” was a gift to my son when he was 5 months old and he has enjoyed this toy from the beginning.  First, this was a great developmental toy that really encouraged him to develop his hand and arm coordination, something he needed to work on due to a birth injury.  His excitement for this toy made movements like grasping and wrist supination something he would do due because of his own motivation.

At six months, when he was standing supported, he loved feeling the air gently blow in his face as he would watch the balls pop out of the trunk.  As he matured he began figuring out how to push the button, cause and effect, and began playing with the toy independently of us.  I think that is when it became the most exciting for him.  He would screech in excitement every time he would start the elephant up again, this was probably around 7 or 8 months, and a huge highlight for us. We have lots of fond memories of those days.

At one point, around 10 or 11 months he became frustrated with the toy, and would get angry when the balls ran out and stopped coming out of the trunk, but this phase was very short.  I have since brought it out again now that he is 13 months old and he is loving it like a new toy.

Playskool Poppin Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper

My only complaint of this toy, is that it is rather noisy, but I suppose that is to be expected as it has a little motor to blow the air and plastic balls out of the trunk. That fan sound combined with the music can be a little intense at 6am. But, if that is my only complaint then I’d say it is still a great toy!  My son loves it, and that’s really all that matters.

We read on forums that other users were unhappy with this toy because the balls don’t always shoot out of the nose and instead tend to hover at the tip. I would actually say that this is a positive. When the balls would pop out consistently (fresh batteries) many times they would overshoot the ears designed to catch them and then they would roll away on the floor. When the balls hover it gives our son more enjoyment. It startles him less and it actually gives him a chance to grab the ball and put it back into the ear. (About 30 percent of the time the ball will eject fully.) He loves to place the ball back into the trunk and feel the wind blow it into his hand again. Overall the battery life is great. We have had this over 6 months and have not needed to replace them.

My husband adds that this toy can also be great when you are feeling exhausted. It always gets our son laughing, bouncing and keeps him fully entertained – and it does this all in one place! So after an especially hard day at at work you can sit with your kid, play along and catch your breath for a moment. Seeing the HUGE smile this toy put on our son’s face made it a great experience for us and it always energized us to keep playing once he moved on to the next thing.

I give this toy 5 out of 5 stars because our Little Prince really liked it from the beginning.  I also know that a cousin of mine enjoyed this toy well beyond 2 years old, so I know it’s a keeper.


Best dSLR camera for Parents

CameraExamples-1I often get asked by expectant parents what advice I can give as a new parent.  My answer is always to take as many photos as possible.  Our little guy has grown up so fast
and without some of the photos I took we would have lost many memories to the blur of time sweeping past us.  That first month…  Wait, that was a MONTH?  It felt like a week.

I also recommend that you take photos of everything.  You won’t know what you needed to record until it’s too late.  I remember when our son was a few months old and we noticed a dime sized red mark on his scalp.

“Had he always had that?  Did he have it at birth?  Was it getting darker? Is it a rash!  IS HE OKAY!?

We reviewed the photos… yep he’s always had it.  Oh, and it’s actually getting fainter.  How had we never noticed it before?  Are we just that tired? (Yes.)

Besides shooting tons a photos and videos with our iPhones, having a nice dSLR camera has helped me create some really stunning photos of our little guy.  Granted, I’m a bit of a photo nerd, but if you can afford it I HIGHLY recommend the following gear:


Canon 70d dSLR camera.

This is basically one step away from being a “pro” model – and 5 years ago a camera with these specs would have be pro. The 70d provides excellent image quality, great accurate focus, and a really nice burst mode so you can rapidly take photos and catch the perfect moment. This camera also has tons of shooting options from fully automatic to detailed manual controls.

To me, the selling point of this camera is the video mode. This is the first dSLR by Canon to offer a super accurate automatic focus system when in video mode. Up until now dSLR cameras had horrible auto focus when shooting video and almost always needed you to manually focus them… This was not a great situation for mom and dad who are trying to capture first laughs, steps and words. The new autofocus on the 70d is so easy and perfect you won’t even think twice about how to use it. It just works.
This camera also includes a great touchscreen and super sensible controls compared to some Nikon models I’ve used.

This version of the 70D ships with a long telephoto lens that will take you from a nice wide angle 18mm to a close up 135mm. This kit lens is a huge improvement over previous models. As to be expected from a zoom lens, it can be a bit big and bulky.  So, what do you do when you want something smaller and lighter?


Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens

This newly released lens is often called a Pancake because it’s so thin.  This fixed length of 24mm is perfect for cramped interiors and walking around parties as it mirrors your natural field of vision when mounted on the 70d (due to the camera 1.6 crop factor).  The lens is known for it’s super sharp images, light weight, tiny size, and for having a fast aperture of 2.8.  The lower the aperture number the more background blur.CameraExamples-5

An aperture of 2.8, combined with the high ISO options on the 70d, will also allow you to shoot photos indoors without a flash.  This is something I found very useful when taking pictures of a newborn.  I didn’t t want to blind the poor kid!  All this for $125 dollars.  You may find that you use this as you main lens because it’s so good.  Should you still get the kit lens?  Yes.  You will want the ability to zoom and if you were to purchase the zoom separately you would pay far more that the bundled price.  Canon also makes a 40MM version of the pancake lens.  I love using this version as well (I own both).


Transcend 32 GB High Speed Class 10 UHS Flash Memory Card

You will need a memory card with your new camera.  I strongly recommend the Transcend 32 GB SDHC memory card.  I’ve shot with a ton of memory cards over the years and speed does matter, especially if you are shooting rapid fire bust images.  This one delivers and the price is amazing.

You will get way over 1000 picures in both Jpeg and RAW file formats.  That’s great because if you remember my #1 tip:  take photos of EVERYTHING.

Secondary options: 

I know not everyone will be able to afford the 70d.  As a lower priced alternative I recommend the Canon Rebel.  They tend to introduce new models every year,  each better than the last.  While I have not used the most recent version, the reviews are very positive.  This camera is also compatible with the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens I listed above. Also, you can now purchase this camera with the  same 18-135mm zoom sold with the 70d!

For years I took photographs on a very old rebel and people were always impressed.  You can, and you will, get great pictures.


If you want to go the other direction and spend even more money, I would always recommend buying higher quality lenses before a more expensive camera body (lenses last longer).  The all time greatest lens by Canon (in my opinion) is the 70-200mm F 2.8 IS II.  This telephoto zoom will create beautiful pictures with razor sharp focus and gorgeous bokah (blurry backgrounds).

Happy shooting!


Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

Grandparents live far away? This webcam combined with Skype (or FaceTime) was a great investment for only $70. The HD webcam was plug and play easy to set up, the image/sound quality is EXCELLENT, and it comes with a super long six foot cord.

The cord is actually a big selling point for me as it allows the camera to be moved around the room to capture the action. The mount contains a standard tripod screw making it easy to attach to any tripod and it also unfolds into a little “claw” that you can use to hook the webcam to the top of your TV, Laptop, crib, etc. Just make sure Jr can’t grab the camera! 🙂

The autofocus feature works extremely well. We could sit on the sofa with the baby and then bring him up close to the camera without the camera searching to try and focus on us. The close focusing distance is very good too. When our son would spot the camera, crawl over and inspect it the image was always in focus and hilarious for those watching his curious face on the other side.

MOST ROYAL! 5 out of 5 stars!


How to keep your sanity. (6′ iPhone cable)

As new parents we have our phones with us at all times. We Google symptoms of illnesses, play white noise to get the kid asleep (Pro-tip, remember that one!) we browse Facebook and Instagram at 3am while the kid sleeps in our arms, and most common of all we text our spouse from the other side of the house to say, “Is he asleep yet?” and “I need help” and “HELLO!??! I NEED YOUR HELP, GET THE F BACK HERE. WHY ARE YOU IGNORING MY TEXTS!?”

There is only one problem. When your phone dies. We all know it. We are trapped under a sleeping baby and the phone craps out. Now you get to sit in the dark for another 30 minutes until you can sneak him in his crib. …I mean, you don’t want to chance it and wake him before he’s in a deep sleep! Or should you? Quick Google it. WAIT, MY PHONE IS DEAD! NOOOOOOOOO!

So, order a handful of these 6 foot long iPhone cables (or similar if you have an Android phone). What a life saver these have been for us! The standard iPhone cable is so short you can’t move more than an inch from the wall outlet. These let us sit in the rocking chair or on the far side of the bed or on the toilet for a moment alone. “What are you doing in there for so long?”

We have tried a few brands. They all started to fray and break after 3-4 months.

So far the Cable Matters® Lightning Cable in White 6.6 Feet/2 Meters has lasted without any issues. Fingers crossed. But at this price, even if it does die I will just order another.

4 our of 5 stars.

Points taken away because:

  1. It’s another thing to baby proof around the house.  Make sure you keep these coiled up and out of the way.
  2. Because other brands, including Apple, break over time I suspect that will happen with these too. At this price it’s more of a hassle than a deal breaker.  And as I said above, so far these have NOT broken!