30 Days of Video Games | Day 9: A Controversial Statement

Hello, friends! We’re chugging right along with A Geeky Gal’s 30 Day Video Game Challenge, and I took some time last night to write out a couple posts for future days about games and topics that I was really excited to share with you. This will also help me out a bit later on, when it’s 11:00 p.m. and I’ve totally forgotten that I’m supposed to be doing this every day! Continue reading “30 Days of Video Games | Day 9: A Controversial Statement”

I Need Some Advice.

Why is that worth nothing suddenly? Am I missing something? Am I being selfish? Heartless? I don’t know.

[UPDATE: I called the life insurance company, and told them that I need to cash out the policy taken out for me. The woman told me that this was not the type of policy that you can cash out, and cancelling it now would not get any money to me, or my grandmother. Since my grandmother told me that she can no longer afford to pay for the policy, and since I can not afford it, I have no choice but to cancel it. I feel bad that all of the money she paid into it is going to just disappear, with no compensation to either of us, but this is what she told me to do. That’s that. All done.]
———————————————— Continue reading “I Need Some Advice.”

Toy Review: LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

The toy is pretty self-explanatory. The bus and the letters are magnets, which you just stick on your fridge, and have a fun time. When you put a letter into the slot on the bus, you get to hear two cute jingles about the specific letter.

Hello, friends! Today, I wanted to tell you guys about a newer toy that Liam got for his birthday from his grandmother, that has quickly become one of our favorites of all time, for several reasons. It is seriously such a great toy, and Liam has found that it has multiple uses.

I present to you, the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set. It is a mouthful, I know, but it is totally worth it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The toy is pretty self-explanatory. The bus and the letters are magnets, which you just stick on your fridge, and have a fun time. When you put a letter into the slot on the bus, you get to hear two cute jingles about the specific letter.

Example:
“H says [H sound], H says [H sound]. Every letter makes a sound, H says [H sound].” 
Also:
“H – Horn! Honk the horn! [Honking sound].”

If a letter has more than one sound, like any of the vowels, and a few other consonants, it will tie in both letter sounds into the jingle, which is a great learning tool. There is also a little music button, which plays the ABC’s, as well as The Wheels On the Bus! This is Liam’s favorite button, and he presses it every time he runs by the fridge.

We have an older fridge, which is not stainless steel, complete with a long, deep indent on the side, but I haven’t had any problems with getting the bus or the letters to stick. The magnets are strong, and don’t slide around too much, or fall off, yet are easy enough for tiny, toddler hands to pick up. I have seen one review complaining about the toy leaving scratches on her fridge, which I assume was stainless steel or something similar, but I haven’t had any issues with scratches.

At the start, Liam had a hard time putting the magnetic letters into the slot on the bus, but he mastered that skill in about a month, and is now a total pro.

12710734_10205737027564423_3919804076247260122_o
The first day we got our LeapFrog Letter Set!

Like I mentioned before, Liam uses this toy for more than just its intended learning purpose. He uses it to let me know when he wants to go to his room to get a toy, or when I’m taking too long in the bathroom, both of which are on the other side of his baby gate. He will wiggle his gate, making all sorts of noise, then will repeatedly press the music button on the bus until I come out. He’s a brilliantly impatient little boy. We’ve had this toy since January, and it gets use every single day, which is more than I can say for the majority of his other toys!

12722263_10205926589103343_1023903435_o
Taken today! He loves his letters!

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set. It also boasts a volume control button, which is huge for mommys like me, who are sensitive to overly loud toys. I hope this persuaded some of you to run out and buy this awesome (and inexpensive!) learning toy. It is seriously awesome.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

[You can check out some of my other baby stuff reviews by clicking here, here, here, here, or here!]

Daily Prompt 2/9/2016 | Stats

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/9/2016 | The Stat Connection

“Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.”

Hello, friends! For today’s prompt, I did a little digging through my stats for 2016 and 2016, and discovered that the following are my top 5 posts on my blog. My top pages were actually my Home/Archives page, as well as my About Me page, but I don’t count those as posts. I’m actually not that surprised by these results, as I’ve noticed that my personal blogs, as opposed to my prompt posts or reviews, tend to get a bit more attention and feedback. Here are my top 5 posts, with links and descriptions, in case anyone wants to check them out:

1) My Thoughts On First Birthdays
Exactly what the title states. My son was creeping up on his first birthday, and I was feeling a lot of pressure from society, and family, to throw him a big bash. Spoiler alert: I had other ideas.

2) Sinking Ships
A complete stranger attacked my parenting via Twitter, after following the leads of two of my so-called-friends, who had been sub-tweeting about me that morning, all over a completely innocent tweet, which was taken out of context, and blown out of proportion. It got heated. Spoiler alert: I’m an awesome mom.

3) 15 Facts About Me!
Just some more fun with my Twitter followers, involving a graphic, some hearts, and some fun facts about yours truly. There was even a Part 2! Spoiler alert: I’m not very interesting.

4) Most Terrifying Experience of My Life. WTF!
Just another day in the life of living in shitty apartments. Yellow jackets burrowed into my apartment, and my neighbor had to come rescue Liam and I. Spoiler alert: Yellow jacks are assholes.

5) Why I Chose to Leave WoW
World of Warcraft has played an unimaginably large part in my life, and after many years of playing, I say goodbye (for now?). Spoiler alert: Sad post is sad.

So there you have it! If you normally read my daily prompts, or my baby blogs, and want to get to know a bit more about what goes on behind the screen, I would suggest checking those out. I lead a verrry interesting life (no, not really).

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Poll: Where Would You Go?

Hello, friends! Not long ago, I referenced in a post (or two?) about how one of the biggest things that I want to do with my life is to travel the world with my family. If I had the opportunity to go anywhere, I honestly don’t know where I would go! Anywhere in Europe would be amazing, but there is just so much out there! I’m interested in knowing where you would like to go if you could travel to a location, and spend 6 months there, without any cost to you. Feel free to specify more if you don’t see your country of choice on the list!

Have you traveled anywhere amazing already that you would recommend? I want to hear about it!

Thanks for reading and participating!

Jan

Daily Prompt 1/31/2016 | Roaring Laughter

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/31/2016 | Roaring Laughter

“What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?”

I love laughing. I need laughter to survive. Do you enjoy laughing? Well, prepare yourselves, my friends, because I am about to introduce you to something amazing. Well, specifically, two someones. As many of you know, I am an avid YouTube watcher. I watch vloggers, gamers, and beauty gurus from several corners of the world, and I’m always looking for new channels to subscribe to. A few months ago, after hearing them referenced by nearly every YouTuber that I watch, I decided to subscribe to this hilarious duo.
rhettlinkposing
Meet Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III, aka Rhett and Link, the hilarious “Internetainer” duo behind the wildly popular YouTube channel, Good Mythical Morning. Good Mythical Morning is a family-friendly YouTube show, hosted by Rhett and Link, which currently boasts an impressive subscriber count of just under 10 million. GMM releases episodes every weekday, including a “show after the show” on a separate channel, called Good Mythical More, which includes unedited, goofy commentary, additional games or challenges, and a look at the crew behind GMM. Videos on both channels are generally between 10-15 minutes long, and are family friendly, so you can watch with your kids! Don’t have time to sit at your computer and watch episode after episode of GMM? No problem. You can also download episodes from iTunes as either a video podcast, or an audio podcast. Rhett and Link also have a main channel called Rhett & Link, where they perform funny skits, create original songs and music videos, and do commercials, are usually just a few minutes long, as well as an EXTRAS channel, where you get to see all kinds of funny extras, and get to know the crew better. Their 4 channels combined have around 16 million subscribers total! That’s pretty impressive. Aside from their popular YouTube channels, Rhett and Link also have a podcast called Ear Biscuits, which you can listen to on iTunes and SoundCloud. They also put out a weekly collaboration song with various other YouTubers, called Song Biscuits.

I’m subscribed to ALL THE CHANNELS.

Now that I’ve provided you with a ton of links to add to your arsenal of awesomeness, here’s a little bit more on Rhett and Link. These two guys have been best friends since the ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, you guys, and seem just as close as ever. They’re both all grown up (well, physically), are both married, with kids of their own, who sometimes make appearances on the show. The comedic chemistry between these two is amazing, and there is never a lull, or a dull moment, on their show. Whether they are tasting gross food for the sake of answering the age old question of “Will it?“, testing out ridiculous products, reading and opening fan mail, or testing out crazy theories, these two will keep your whole family laughing. They also interact with their fans frequently, across virtually every social media platform you can think of, and include them, and their fan mail, in the show. They’re seriously fantastic.
maxresdefault
There are currently well over 1,000 videos on JUST the Good Mythical Morning channel, and I’ve been enjoying binge-watching every episode throughout the day. Even as I type this, I’m watching an episode where Rhett and Link try to eat a pizza in 60 seconds! Before that, I watched a video about the 4 biggest viral hoaxes on the internet. These guys cover everything you can imagine, in a hilarious, engaging fashion.

Once you’ve become a super fan, you can spend your hard-earned money on some seriously cool merch from their store, including Rhett’s Beard Oil, Link’s Lip Balm, and awesome hoodies.
artworks-000078309861-m7on8e-t500x500
One last time, here’s a list of most of their links and info, for anyone interested in becoming obsessed:
MAIN YOUTUBE CHANNEL: http://youtube.com/rhettandlink
GOOD MYTHICAL MORNING: http://youtube.com/rhettandlink2
GOOD MYTHICAL MORE: http://youtube.com/rhettandlink3
EXTRAS CHANNEL: http://youtube.com/rhettandlink4
MERCH STORE: http://rhettandlink.com/store
FACEBOOK: http://facebook.com/rhettandlink
TWITTER: http://twitter.com/rhettandlink
GOOGLE+: http://bit.ly/RhettLinkPlus

Good Mythical Morning iTunes download:
Video Podcast: http://bit.ly/xuJVPc
Audio Podcast: http://bit.ly/zSewZ6

Send them stuff to their PO Box:
Rhett & Link
PO Box 55605
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

Okay, I’m done. Can you tell I love these guys? Seriously, check them out! Are any of you already Rhett and Link fans? How long have you been watching?

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Baby’s First Birthday Toy Haul Review

Hello, friends! As some of you may know, I wrote a 3 part series of reviews for all of the toys that Liam got for his first Christmas (if interested, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Well, his first birthday was less than a month later, on January 23rd, and he got some great toys! About a week has passed, and we have had time to thoroughly explore and play with all the new toys, and I thought it would be fun to do another toy haul review! Unlike my Christmas toy haul, I’ll be doing just one post for these reviews, as I am only doing 6 toys.

As with the previous posts, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

Here we go!

1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table
14555199

Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros: Amazing learning toy! Very interactive. Power and volume control, as well as four ways to play (learning time, Spanish, music time, and play time with real sounds). Very colorful and eye-catching. My son attacked it and wanted to play before I had even put it together. The piano keys are our favorite!
Cons: None!

2. Bizzy Square – The Buckle Toy
download
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟✰✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros
Colorful, soft material. The back has several numbered tabs that baby can lift to reveal animals. Clips are very easy to clip and un-clip, great for babies who like to play with and chew on clips, with little risk of pinching their fingers. Comes in several colors/characters.
Cons
Toy is smaller than it appears in pictures, has a cheap feel for the price.

3. Fisher-Price Little People See n’ Say
71AK4D8Oz4L._SY355_

Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: 🌟✰✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: 
Colorful. Features a variety of animals, a song option, and a little game.
Cons: 
Lever is a bit difficult for my 12-month old to pull, and can be awkward. So power or volume control, and volume is VERY loud. Animal noises are unrealistic and sound a bit weird.

4. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Speedsters, Monkey & Sis


Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: 
We have the full set of 3, and they make excellent learning tools, that double as great, cheap toys, and my son loves them. Colorful and eye-catching. Move very smoothly.
Cons:
No power or volume control. The volume on the Monkey car is much higher than the other two, and his voice is very shrill. I actually get headaches from that little green car.

5. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet
81Mze0XfbxL._SX425_
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros:
Great learning tool, features power and volume control, as well as 3 stages of learning. Each button has the option of saying the letter, character/object, and the sound it makes. Plays several different songs, different on each learning setting. Lights on top and sides light up in several, bright colors.
Cons: 
NOT a touch screen, which is fine, but baby does need to press a bit on the buttons, which seemed to put my kiddo off a bit. When you are playing with the alphabet buttons, it randomly cuts you off and plays music, which is a bit annoying.

6. Mega Bloks Jeep Lil’ Off Roader Building Set
I_0065541810167_50_20150416
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros:
Instantly caught my son’s attention in the store. Great size for toddlers. Looks like a realistic, tiny Jeep! Comes with 7 pieces, which includes a little removable character, and 6 Mega Bloks blocks. Blocks can be played with on their own, or can be arranged on the roof of the Jeep.
Cons:
Very basic, limited interactivity. A bit expensive for what little it does.

There you have it! I have to say that my favorite toy is definitely the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table. I love how many settings it has, and I actually really enjoy composing short piano pieces with the 4 colorful piano keys. Liam loves the piano keys, too, and plays with me! I’d say his favorite toy is probably the Learning Table as well, but he is definitely a fan of his Mega Bloks Jeep, as well as his Fisher-Price Tablet (but only if I’m using it with him), and his Fisher-Price train that he got for Christmas, of course!

We are really loving all of the Fisher-Price learning toys! I love toys that have multiple learning stages, and look like “real” items that mommy and daddy use, and these are all just fantastic! I hope this helped out a few folks out there who are hunting for gifts for little ones!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

UPDATE: Comfy Baby Universal Insulated Stroller Weather Protector Review

Hello, friends! A little while ago, I did a first impression review of the Comfy Baby Universal Insulated Stroller Weather Protector, which I received for Christmas, and now that I’ve had a chance to really give it some good use, I thought I would update you guys. In my previous post, which you can read here, I gave the stroller protector a good review, but had to make note that I had a hard time putting it on my Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Stroller, despite it being universal, and it looked a bit goofy. Well, after being told that I had been putting it on wrong, I tried putting it on properly… and that made a crazy huge difference!

On the left is the before picture, on the first day that I tried it out. I hadn’t put the protector on properly, and instead of putting the push bar through the corresponding opening, I just tucked it all into itself, making it look baggy and ill-fitting all around. The one on the right is the after picture, what it looks like now, put on properly. I love it even more now that I did on the first day, and I loved it a bunch even then!

Obviously, I don’t have much else to add, I just wanted to let you all know that it is just as great put on properly as it was put on slightly wrong. The weather has been hovering in the mid-high 30’s lately, so we’ve been trying to get out as much as possible. Just today, the sandwich artist who made my sandwich at Subway, as well as the expectant mother in line behind me, both complimented the protector, and were shocked to learn that it wasn’t part of the stroller. That’s how good it looks! We walked to Dollar General, and as we were leaving, two older women also complimented us, and thought that it was just a fancy stroller! We love it, and have been getting a lot of use out of it already. Even with the weather being in the 30’s, I only have to dress Liam in his lighter winter coat, and a pair of mittens (his fingers get cold easily, but he is still toasty inside his protector), which he usually takes off on his own.

In conclusion, we love our Comfy Baby Universal Insulated Stroller Weather Protector, and highly recommend it to everyone! I can’t wait to see how it performs once it gets warmer.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Daily Prompt 1/18/2016 | Beliefs

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt | Reason to Believe

“In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, ‘At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.’ What’s your reason to believe?”

I’m an Agnostic Atheist… so, this is awkward.

I have no religious beliefs. I respect your beliefs, and even admire people who choose to believe in something higher than themselves, but I just can’t. At the end of the day, regardless of how your day went, there are so many people being murdered and abused, being kidnapped and sold, starving on the street. There is so much suffering in the world, and nothing is being done. No matter how many people pray to their respective gods and goddesses, nothing is being done. Every day, the world dies a little more, the humanity becomes more and more dangerous.

I choose not to believe. I choose not to believe in any deity that would give babies cancer, and allow men to hurt women, and control them for their own gain. I choose not to believe in a religion, or a deity, that would condemn two people to death simply for loving each other. A deity that would punish people, for not believing in them, for whatever reason, by killing thousands of innocent people with hurricanes and tornadoes. Not that I believe that any of these things are caused by a god, but if they were… why would they do that? It’s cruel, and terrible, and unnecessary. I would not put my faith in someone who caused that kind of pain.

My grandmother, who is very religious, once told me that anyone who does not accept God into their lives will never have a life of happiness or meaning, and will always be an empty shell. That is just an awful, hurtful thing to say to anybody, especially someone you love, just because they do not share your beliefs. How can you possibly feel that way? I’ve also heard her say vile things about babies and children, whose parents chose not to get them baptized. A baby.

Let’s not forget that religious strife has caused countless deaths since… ever? It still does today! People justify murder and brutality because a book says that two men being together is icky? So you should kill them? Or that a woman’s opinions, feelings, and rights don’t matter, because she would once have been considered property? Some men still consider women property. That is not right.

No. I choose to believe that we carve our own path, and that our actions are our own, and that we should be held accountable for them. I don’t need any sort of belief, or fear of damnation, to be a good person, and do good things. I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I just think people should respect and look out for each other, and that you probably shouldn’t go around causing harm for no reason. I don’t need a book to tell me what is right and wrong. We are all stuck on this planet together, at least for the time being, and we are all human. We all deserve love, respect, and freedom to be who we were born to be, without fear of persecution or death. If you need to seek answers in a high power, and if that gives you comfort, then by all means, live your life.

But for me, I choose to believe in myself, and my ability to determine right and wrong. I choose love over hate, and acceptance over discrimination. And I will not let anyone change that. Now… do I know for certain that Zeus, Hades, Osiris, Odin, etc. do not/did not exist? No, I do not. But is there tangible proof that they did/do. No.

This is why, at the end of the day, I choose not to believe. If my son grows up and has questions about religion, or wants to attend the church of his choosing, then I won’t stop him. But I also won’t lie to him. I feel that people should be free to choose who, or what, they want to put their faith in, without fear of judgement. I have friends and loved ones who have devoted their lives to their religions, and they are amazing, fulfilled people. I have friends who share my beliefs (or lack of), and are just as happy and fulfilled. I also know devout individuals who are completely miserable, and vice versa.

Be who you are, live fearlessly, and strive for happiness. Just… don’t kill people, okay? Be nice. Love thy neighbor, and all that.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

First Impressions Review | Comfy Baby Universal Insulated Stroller Weather Protector

Hello, friends! Today I thought I would share with you my first impressions of the Comfy Baby Universal Insulated Stroller Weather Protector, which I got for Christmas! I’ve been having a hard time getting outside for walks since the weather has gotten cold and gloomy lately, and finally got around to trying it out today, since it was a balmy 42 degrees outside!

81iCodITDxL._SY355_

I had a hard time finding an all-weather protector (wind, rain, snow, etc.) for my Graco Fastaction Fold Jogger Click Connect Stroller, and the choices on Amazon were very limited. I stumbled across this one, and was attracted by the word “Universal” in the product name. The description says that it is compatible with all deluxe umbrella, full size strollers and all single jogger style strollers, and after reading through the comments and questions sections, I found out that it does supposedly work with the Graco jogging strollers. I was so excited!

Unfortunately, my excitement dissipated a bit when I opened the box today, to find that there were no instructions of any sort. After wrestling it onto my stroller, it just… didn’t… look right. There are little straps with hooks on the ends to help keep everything tight and in place, and I had NO idea where to put them. I decided to take the term “universal” with a grain of salt, because while it does cover all these strollers that it lists, it may not cover them well. Or attractively.

I searched around online for any kind of written or recorded instructions, for really any kind of stroller type, to help, but only found one video on YouTube, which was incredibly unhelpful. But, after making it look somewhat right, I went out with the kiddo to give it a test before we ran out of daylight.

12512031_10205583797533768_1495774111_n

At the time that this is being written, I now know that I did not put it on properly. At all. But like the title says, this was my first, uneducated impression of the product. With that being said, I actually do really like it! It was around 40 degrees throughout most of our walk, and I didn’t need to put a hat or gloves on Liam while he was inside. He stayed REALLY warm!

I really like that there are three options for the front covering as well. There is the thin mesh, which helps provide a bit of coverage from the sun (and bugs!), and is very breathable. There is also a plastic “window”, which consists of 4 panels total, and provides wrinkle-free viewing for your little one, and protection from all of the elements, while remaining breathable thanks to tiny holes in the sides of the cover. And finally, there is a cover that you can pull down to provide relief from the blinding sun, which is super convenient when your little one falls asleep during a walk or jog.

12540244_10205583793173659_1973057986_n

This may look a bit weird, but that’s because I put the cover on wrong entirely, but, there is also a neat little carrying pouch that hangs down beneath your push bar for extra storage! Neat! The entire cover is made of a waterproof material that is light enough to be easy to use and does not add to the weight of the stroller, but is heavy enough to not budge in the wind. It covers the entire seat area, which is super convenient if you have a little one who likes to throw snacks and toys out of the stroller. I didn’t have to stop a single time to pick up Liam’s toy keys! There are also those four straps with hooks to help keep it all tight.

So, final impressions for my first impression… I like it a lot. I feel like I will love it when I use it again, and actually use it correctly. So, if you’re trying to stay active during the cold months, or the hot months, or during an apocalyptic Asian lady beetle invasion, then I highly recommend this cover! And before I forget, yes, it does come in other colors… I just don’t know how you get them. But I have seen a bright pink one!

I will probably write up an update, including good pictures, when I use it again… correctly.

Thanks for reading!

Jan