Overcoming Costume Character Fear

Regan for years had such a phobia of costumed characters. I can’t even begin to describe how hysterical even seeing the mascot at a Friday night football game she would become. Her fears made things pretty tough for us. We could not go to local sporting events. Santa Claus we had to promise would not enter our house. We had to negotiate a corner at Chuck E Cheese that the mouse would not come near. She sat inside her classroom during fire prevention week because the local fire department had their mascot “Sparky” coming to school with them. It has made a lot of things that should be fun, well, not!

That being said we had planned a huge Family Vacation to Disney World two years ago, the quintessential costume character location. The first night we were there, we attended a dinner for the company my husband worked for, and wouldn’t you know it, Mickey and Minnie were invited guests. Regan watched them from afar, and after several minutes asked if we could leave. The next day at Magic Kingdom, we saw many characters from a distance, and she began to wave at them, but was definitely not willing to approach them.

The 2nd day we went to Animal Kingdom and much to my horror Pluto came up to her from behind and patted her arm. Regan froze at first and I was fully prepared for her to have a panic attack, but instead she started to pet his furry arm. She was so excited to conquer her fear, and face it she just couldn’t stop hugging Pluto. Well for the rest of our time spent here, we got autographs and took photos of every single character we could find. I am always proud of every accomplishment that Regan makes, but for her to conquer her fear shows true strength of character, and a willingness to overcome.

Nintendo DS Game: Zenses Giveaway

You know, I just love The Game Factory because once again they are coming through with an awesome game giveaway. Although this time it appeals to the Nintendo DS market. I have plenty of friends (you know who you are) who play on their kids DS while they are at school or in the evenings. I myself am a huge fan of puzzle games so I am thrilled to offer a giveaway of two puzzle games that should appeal to readers of my site especially those of us who would like to immerse themselves in a getaway that challenges our brains and soothes our senses.

Here is the Product Info:
-Release Date: November 2008
-Genre: Puzzle
-Platform: Nintendo DS™
-Rating: Rating E for Everyone
-Players: 1
-Target: Female casual gamers
-Languages: English, Spanish and French
-Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
-Publisher: The Game Factory http://www.gamefactorygames.com/zenses
-Price: $29.99 each
-Where to Buy: Available now online and at retailers nationwide (Target, Wal-Mart, amazon.com, among others.

Zenses – Ocean Edition
In Zenses Ocean, players relax themselves playing puzzle games inspired by the movements of the tide, rippling water, riffs and corals, beach vegetation and sea life. An indulgent, soothing experience, Zenses Ocean includes high quality visuals and ambient sounds inspired by the natural sounds of the sea. Subliminal addictive puzzles such as Hot Spot, Shell Twirl, Turtle Turn, Pearl Diver and Wave Breaker (names are currently being reviewed and may change) were created to give players an escape from the stress of every day life.

Zenses – Rainforest Edition
Zenses Rainforest allows players to explore the Amazon while playing games infused with rain drops, exotic flowers, waterfalls and giant trees. This refreshing experience encourages players to recharge their batteries while playing puzzle games such as Sapphire Wheel, Mirror Maze, Stack Jack and Bumble Breaker (names are currently being reviewed and may change).

The Game Factory has generously agreed to let me host a giveaway featuring a copy of each of the new Zenses games. That mean one lucky reader will get to win both the rainforest and ocean editions of this Nintendo DS puzzle game. That’s a $60 dollar value!
This Giveaway for US residents only

This Giveaway will end January 2, 2009 at midnight central time
To enter this giveaway you can earn 5 entries:

Please leave a comment below on another Game Factory game that strikes your fancy.
For additional entries become a follower of my blog and leave me an additional comment (If you are already a follower please leave an additional comment that states this)
Stumble this post and leave me an additional comment with your stumble ID to check this
Twitter This post and leave an additional comment with your twitter name so I can check out your tweet.
Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with the URL link for me to check out.

A special Thank You to The Game Factory and The Family Review Network for this wonderful opportunity.

Texas Instruments TI-Nspire Review

**This post was written as part of a program for Family Review Network and Texas Instruments, who supplied the product for review.**

Not everyone is built to be math-oriented. In fact for some of us it is really difficult. Take Regan for example, this has been a constant struggle for us for years. The hardest part for her with her cerebral palsy is that it is so difficult for her to write out math problems so that the numbers align perfectly. Forget about graphing and fractions, it is not something her fine motor skills can do. For the last few years when taking the state mandated TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills)Test the school district has gotten her special permission to use a calculator on the exam specifically to help her align the numbers properly. As math has gotten more difficult and moved into higher level algebra and formulas, I have been looking for a calculator to grow with her.

The TI-Nspire is a wonderful calculator for Regan to finish junior high and grow with in high school. In fact it is so impressive and can do so much that it came complete with it’s own “TI-Nspire for Dummies” book as well as its’ instruction manual. This year Regan will branch out into graphing and algebraic equations and a calculator that she can use and manipulate to help her understand is a dream come true for us. Here are a few more things from the website that impressed me:
Some unique features of TI-Nspire technology let you:

-View multiple representations of a problem on a single screen
-Grab a graphed function and move it to see the effect
-“Link” representations:

-Manipulate the properties of one and observe instant updates to others without switching screens
-Create, save and review work in electronic documents, like a computer
-Activate the handheld’s Press-to-Test feature to block access to certain geometry features not allowed on state exams
-Experience identical functions on the handheld and TI-Nspire Computer Software (Windows© or Mac©).
-Your students can use the software independently or in tandem with the handheld
for work in and out of class
-Project a full interactive handheld alongside a large handheld screen to demonstrate concepts to your class usingTI-Nspire Computer Software – Teacher Edition

The great thing is that it is already pre approved for use on SAT ACT and many other state standardized tests. This is the calculator we will be getting approved for her use for the 8th grade TAKS, and I am already working with the school system so that we are all on the same page to learn its uses and functions. Regan has been getting acquainted with her “calc” as she calls it and was showing me all kinds of impressive math, including how to make it graph. Her life and mine just got a lot easier thanks to Texas Instruments

Movin on up

We have a plan to move within the next two years. It is not that we don’t love our house and friends, but we are ready to build a permanent place centered on having a home with a special needs child. Well as the planning goes underway of what all we have to do to plan a move near the top of the list is how we are going to move all the household items, furniture, and even vehicles.

I found a website that helps you with all of your moving needs and even does car shipping for you. This means that your car can be added to a car shipment that is crossing the country and be moved exactly where you are going. That is a relief to have one thing crossed off my list. Now if only they could also build a completely ADA accessible house it would indeed be the perfect site.

eeBoo Journals: Review and Giveaway

Probably as much as I enjoy blogging, would accurately describe Regan’s obsession with journals. She writes all the time, which is a wonderful talent to have in life. She writes stories, diary entries, rants about her sister….you name it and Regan has put it to paper. Well the wonderful people at eeBoo.com makers of fine toys, decorations, and paper sent me summer journals for the girls and I to preview from their Spring Catalog.

Let me tell you they were such a hit. Regan received the travel journal pictured to the right, and immediately began writing in it not only to plan her summer camp hopes and dreams, but also to brainstorm vacation ideas and activities for when she is home from camp. This great little journal has been in our home for over a week, and she has fully claimed it as her own.

Let me tell you a few really nifty things about this travel journal. In the front section it is labeled “Things to do”, and comes with packing lists on the back page. So your child can plan and pack for any upcoming trip you plan to take. The next section is marked “Itinerary” where you can put a daily schedule, and organize your plan by the week. Then you have your daily journal section to write about all your experiences on your trip. It has an area for sketching (which was Regan’s favorite part of the whole book) to have your child’s vision of the places you visit and see. The next part is an address book area followed by a letter area to write those back at home all you are experiencing.

Rebecca received the Summer Days journal, that she is taking for her month long trip to summer camp. Now I get to see pictures of her every day posted on the camp website so I can see what she does every day, and she is pretty good about writing us all the time. This is for her to get to write about some of the daily activities or events she does not want to forget about sharing. She was so happy to receive this one to write about all her friends and their adventures this summer. It also includes a letter writing area and an address book which really comes in handy when keeping up with all of us who write her and expect mail in return. Luckily every day she has a rest time where the girls can quietly read and write home. This journal is the perfect camp accessory for her.

Want to win your own copy of the Travel journal? I have been given an extra by the generous people at eeBoo to giveaway on my site. This is your own chance to let your child journal about your upcoming summer travel. This giveaway is for United States residents only and will end May 26, 2009 at midnight CST. Please remember when entering anonymously to include your email address.

1.Mandatory Entry: Visit eeBooand tell me what other type of item or toy that you like on their site.
2.Another Entry, become a follower of my blog/ or Twitter Follower and leave me a separate comment letting me know you are.
3.Another Entry, Tweet about this post and leave me a copy in a separate comment
4.Post my button on your sidebar and leave me the link in a separate comment
5.Post about this giveaway and leave me the link in a separate comment