Tuesday, June 24, 2008

GameStop has it all!

As soon as the temperature rises and school starts winding down, kids nationwide begin preparing for summer vacation. For us parents, this "vacation" can sometimes be anything but, as those so-called lazy days of summer often mean more time spent shuttling kids to and from friends' houses, the pool, and summer camp. It also means we're on the lookout for fun and safe activities that will keep the whole family entertained and fill the endless days of summer.

As we gear up for summer, MomCentral is spreading the word to moms to think of GameStop as a family-friendly source for video games of all kinds and for all ages, from Final Fantasy VII and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon to Crosswords DS (a nice option just in case Mom or Dad can squeeze in a turn). I also love that the GameStop employees I've run into always seem to have helpful suggestion while keeping in mind the ESRB standards. In fact, they will actually refuse to sell mature-content games to a child who isn't of the appropriate age. And they're also incredibly helpful to a sad mom who doesn't have a clue as to what her teens are playing these days, never mind on what platform. With the XBox, the WII, and Playstation3, I don't know how anyone can keep track of what game plays on what platform, but the Gamestop folks are great with this kid of help!

With the rise in popularity of gaming, it seems like every week there's a new game my kids are pleading for, and yet a week later it's in the corner and they're on to begging for the next one. Thankfully, GameStop offers a trade-in program that lets you bring in the old games and get credit towards new titles or systems (especially important with the way the economy is going). In addition to keeping more money in your pocket, this will help ensure that your whole family has fun all summer long. GameStop also sells used games, which is an excellent option when you're spending money on pricey games. Every used game is checked out before they sell it, to ensure that it works correctly and has been cleaned off the former owners scores.

One of the things we seem to spend Gift money on are the "essential" peripherals, like extra controllers for when you have a bunch of friends over.

Another thing I love about our local GameStop is it's location. Ours happens to be in a strip mall right next to both DSW and Old Navy. If I need to get my teen son new shoes or clothing and he's, say, resistant to shopping, I can always bribe him with a trip to GameStop. Heh. Us moms have to be crafty, eh?

Beaches Family Resort

Recently, I learned about Beaches Resorts from MomCentral. Actually, I knew about Beaches but always thought is was a couples destination, as opposed to a family retreat. I was not only pleased to see how beautiful and upscale the resorts look, but as a parent, I was THRILLED to see that a sponsor of Sesame Street, the resorts offer a bunch of events with their favorite characters. Activities include Sesame Street Stage Shows, Story Time with Elmo, Baking with Cookie Monster, Dancing with Zoe, and more. Kids can even eat breakfast with their favorite Sesame Street friends too! I wish this had been around when I was wealthy and I know my kids would think they'd gone to heaven if we had been lucky enough to visit Beaches.

If your children, like mine, are well beyond the Sesame Street years, not to worry. Though each of the four different Beaches destinations features different adventures, you can be sure everyone will be Waterpark satisfied. The Negril, Boscobel and Turks & Caicos locations have Pirates Island Water Parks with gigantic waterslides, kid-friendly pools and swim-up soda bars. Supervised kids camps for all ages are available at all destinations, from newborns to tweens and teens. Kids can also take advantage of the Crayola Art Camps and an Xbox 360® Game Garage, featuring the latest video games the entire family can enjoy. Here's hoping they get a WII too, maybe with a WII Fit game.

There's plenty of fun to be had for parents as well. Included in the all-inclusive price is luxurious accommodations, up to ten restaurants (kids-oriented and adults-only), access to the spa as well as activities like scuba diving and golf (additional cost).

And here's the best part - Beaches just announced the unique WonderFALL Celebration, taking place during the off-peak season months of September and October. Not only do you get to enjoy everything Beaches offers year-round but you can SAVE up to 45% off** published rates and get 2 Nights Free**(on stays of 7 nights or more).

As part of this WonderFALL Celebration, Beaches has a great fall line up of special events and activities. From even more Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street® that includes the premiere of a brand new stage show and a new activity with Abby Cadabby, exclusive Gordon and Elmo live performances and special parenting workshops hosted by Sesame educators, to Dive In Movies, "Baby You're A Star Photo Contest"( where your baby or toddler could win the chance to be featured in the next Beaches brochure) and even a celebration for Grandparents, it's all happening this FALL at Beaches family resorts.

Now all I need to know is, who is going to pay for our vacation to Beaches. Oy, do I need one!

Publish Post

Strawberry Season is here!

I recently learned that 88% of the nation’s strawberries are grown and harvested in California and this yeargrowers will be picking nearly 6 million crates of delicious, ripe strawberries.

Tell your kids:

  • If you lined up all of the strawberries grown in California in one straight line, they would wrap around the entire Earth 15 times.
  • About this guessing game! Have them guess how many seeds are on each strawberry. (There are about 200 seeds on the outside of each strawberry.)
  • California harvests over a billion pounds of strawberries annually.
  • One acre of land (about the size of one football field) grows about 50,000 pounds of strawberries - that's the same weight as 4 elephants!

For us parents, it’s worth knowing:

  • Strawberries contain powerful antioxidants and rank second among the top ten fruits in antioxidant capacity: one serving of strawberries contains more Vitamin C than an orange.
  • Strawberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight some types of cancer and lower blood pressure. Not bad for a little red berry!
  • The antioxidants in strawberries also aid in memory performance and may help prevent Alzheimer's disease by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, two key factors that can cause age-related diminished brain function.

There is a web site just for young children called Strawberryville.com, with tons of fun animation, interactive games, activities, recipes(for mom and dad) and facts about the little red fruits of yummyness.

We eat so many strawberries, especially in a low calorie shortcake, I know we're about to turn into strawberries in our house!