Kids video game review: The Smurfs 2

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I had some very happy children when I told them we'd be getting another video game to review from the awesome people at Ubisoft. My kids are pretty big on video games at the moment, and they each have their own Nintendo DS, so I jumped at the chance to review this Smurfs 2 game for Nintendo DS. You remember the Smurfs, right? Well, maybe some of you are too young for the old Smurfs, but I grew up watching them!

Here's a cute little trailer for the game:
About the game:
It's Smurfette's birthday and the Smurfs are preparing for her secret surprise party. But before the party starts, Smurfette is kidnapped by the mean wizard Gargamel. The smurfs go to rescue Smurfette! In The Smurfs 2 you can read about their adventures in a picture book, and enjoy exciting mini games with the Smurfs. Collect all the Smurfs figurines by playing through the games. 
{screenshot of actual game play}

My kids have been loving this game, and I have to admit, it's pretty cute. I love that it's rated E for Everyone, which means Lily, my 5 year old, can play it and I don't have to worry about it not being age-appropriate. My 8 year old, Ayden, said that some of the levels are a little difficult, so it's great that there is a little bit of a challenge to it too. No one likes a game that's too easy to beat! There are plenty of levels to beat and a lot of fun extra stuff to do.

Our favorite features of the game:

  • The Profile Menu. You can create up to three different gamer profiles, so the kids can each have their own saved game, and I can have mine.
  • Six characters to play and choose from. You can play as Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Clumsy, Brainy, Gutsy, and Grouchy, so all of your favorite characters are there!
  • The picture book features. This is great. The book part has a voice-over, which is great since Lily can't read yet. It's perfect for younger kids trying to play the game without help. Yay for independence! Plus, having a DS game waved in your face over and over again with your kid screaming "What does it say, Mommy?!" over and over again gets kind of old, right?
  • The mini-games. There are a total of nine of them, including Smurf coloring, cake decorating, Smurfette Dress-Up (Lily's favorite), and Clumsy Kung-Fu (Ayden's favorite). You can jump from the picture book mode to play mini-games, so getting to them is easy to navigate too, even for the little ones.

Overall, this is a really cute, fun, colorful, family-friendly game that kids of all ages can enjoy. I love that we got it for Nintendo DS too, because my kids take their DS's everywhere and they love sharing new games with their friends and family. My only problem now is that I only have 1 copy and 2 children. Now that I know it's a good game I'll have to grab another.

If you're interested in picking up The Smurfs 2 for your kids you can find it at your local Game Stop (our favorite video game store- they do trade ins & stuff) or you can order it online from Amazon.

Thank you to Ubisoft for the opportunity to review this game!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hey book lovers- It's almost Bout of Books time again!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bout of Books

That's right! Bout of Books is starting up again August 19th, and I just signed up.

What is Bout of Books?

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

This will be my third time doing it, so I'm excited!

My bloggy BFF Janie (formerly Sarah- read about her name change/identity crisis here) introduced me to Bout of Books, and this will be here fifth time participating in it. I'm so glad she turned me on to these read-a-thons!

Thinking of joining Bout of Books? You should. If you love books as much as I do, it's a great excuse to sit on your butt an read a ton. What could be better? And the Twitter chats are a really cool way to meet some new nerdy friends and find some new blogs to read. The Twitter chats are probably one of my favorite parts of Bout of Books (besides the reading!) because I've made some pretty awesome friends that way. Book lovers make the best tweeters! :) {Hint: you should follow me on Twitter!}

Are you ready to sign up too? Go here and check it out.
I'll be posting my goals as the read-a-thon gets a little closer, so check back later!

Weekend Wrap Up

Ahhh! You guys!
I haven't done a Weekend Wrap Up post in a while since I was on vacation.
But I'm back now, so let's do a little recap of this week, shall we?

First off, did you see that I chopped my hair off?
I'm loving it! It's so much less to style, which is great in the summer heat.

I had to say goodbye to this sweet little babe. My niece is 7 months old now and by the time I see her next, she'll probably be walking. I hate being so far away from my family sometimes. Here she was asleep on me, curled up with her thumb in her mouth. I rocked her like that for about an hour before I had to kiss her goodbye.

After we got home, Lily finally lost her first tooth! It had been wiggly for weeks.

I posted this cute summery quilt I made.

Since I slacked off on yoga while on vacation, getting back into this week left me a little sore. Man, I sure lost a lot of my flexibility by skipping my workouts! I felt like a beginner again & had to go back to this video.(Check out my yoga Pinterest board for more of my favorite workout stuff!)

I realized it was time to face reality & clean out my closet.
Buh-bye clothes and heels I'll never wear again.
(Don't worry- it's all being donated to a great, local charity & women's shelter!)

And on Sunday the kids and I headed to the park. We were the only ones there!

So that was about it...kind of a slow first couple of days back for us.

Hope you had a great weekend and are enjoying your summer!
I'll be sharing some of my favorite vacation pictures soon :)

Linking up with:
Sami's Shenanigans

A fun, summery quilt for my niece

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hello world! It's been awhile since I've had a "real" post up.

We just got back from our family vacation to Idaho where I got to hand deliver this cute little summer quilt to my niece, Sierra. It was a spur of the moment project I decided I needed to make and bring with me on my trip two days before I left (Auntie can't come without bearing gifts, right?) 

Now, how beautifully adorable is this sweet baby girl with her new quilt? I cannot get over this babe! From her cute little cloth diapers down to her flowery pink sandals on her tiny feet! She's the perfect model for this.

I whipped this quilt up in just one day, using two charm packs of fabrics. Charm packs are pre-cut 5x5 inch pieces of coordinating fabric in a collection, and they are awesome little time savers and are great for quick projects with little cutting. (You might remember this quilt I made a while back using a charm pack too). I have a ton of cute charm packs in my fabric stash, and these 2 in particular I had envisioned together as a playful, fun, summery picnic or beach quilt. I decided to keep the layout super simple, for obvious time reasons, and I wanted it to be totally randomly laid out.

Here's how it looked when I combined the charm packs and laid them out:

When I was happy with the placement, I started forming the rows.

Then I sewed the rows together and pressed the seams. They weren't all perfect but I love how the fabric all comes together! So yummy. Is it weird that I wanted to eat the quilt?

Then it was time to layer it all together (the backing, batting, & the quilt top) and figure out how I wanted to quilt it all together.

I decided to straight stitch on either side of each seam to hold it all together.

I've never done it that way before, but I love how it turned out! It gave the backing, which was simple polka dot fabric, a quilted look too. See? I love the (imperfect!) squares on the back.

I added a fun, pink & orange flowery binding (the outer edge) and the quilt was done!

I was so excited to let Sierra try out her quilt. Do you think she likes it?

She played on it outside in my parent's backyard while the whole family visited and had fun. She even fell asleep on it and took a little nap, all while sucking her thumb. I got teary eyed watching her sleep because that's exactly how I imagined her quilt would be used when I was sewing all of those little squares together. It made me so happy to see her with it!

We took it to the beach with us too and she sat on it in her little shaded spot on the sand.

I'm really happy with how this little quilt came out, and I'm so happy my brother and his new family will get to enjoy it for years to come.

I'll be back to my regular blog posting now. Thanks for being so understanding & letting me take some much needed time off to relax with my family while on vacation. I have tons of pictures and some fun adventures to share with you- all in good time, my friends! I missed the blogging world...a lot.

Now, on to the next project :)

Linked up at:
DIY blog Classy Clutter

A vacation haircut- I finally chopped it off!

Friday, July 19, 2013

I'm updating you all again from my vacation in Idaho. It's been beautiful here so far!

We got to spend a couple of days at the lake with some friends. It's been great!

If you follow me on Twitter (you should!), you might remember me talking about wanting to cut off my long hair.Well, I had the opportunity while I'm here- all of my friends here do hair, so I took advantage of that. I think we chopped about 8-10 inches off but managed to keep my hair semi long.

Here's my before & after:

The top picture shows my natural texture- which is basically a brillo pad. I hate my curly hair!
This shorter style takes way less time to blow dry an style.
 And I love how there is just a little bit of the lighter color on the ends.

Also, I mentioned in my last post that I was stung on the lip by a wasp. You can see my puffy lip on the right side too. It's still a little swollen and looks like I have an uneven collagen injection. It has gone down quite a bit though. I looked like I got slugged in the face for the first couple of hours! Dang wasps.

Well, I'm back to my vacation fun!
Hope you're enjoying your summer so far.

It's vacation time!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates, but we're on vacation! I decided rather than stress myself out over blogging while on vacation (or stockpiling posts beforehand) that I'd just take a little break. So if you don't see a lot of updates from me here or on social media, that why.

Here's a little peek of what we've done so far:

This is my niece Sierra!

So far I've been stung on the lip by a wasp (fun stuff!) and I may or may not have chopped my hair off today...

Hope you're enjoying your summer! We sure are.

4th of July

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I hope you all had a happy and safe Independence Day weekend!

This pretty much sums up ours:
It was just the four of us since we don't have family here. We decided to just spend the day together since Shayne has been working a lot lately. We hadn't really done anything fun since summer began, and the weather was perfect for a family day outside in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. (A rare occurrence for us here on the 4th!)

It didn't start off so great though...

We were supposed to go to a parade and then a carnival, but ended up getting a late start (I won't go into details, but we were waiting on a certain someone who wasn't me or the kids). Anywho, we showed up right as the parade was starting and spent a good amount of time driving around looking for a place to park. We finally found one really far away, and by the time we walked to where the parade was impossible to see anything. This town is takes their parades pretty seriously I guess and if you show up late, you're screwed. It was crazy packed and I heard stories of people showing up hours ahead of time to reserve seats. That's so not my style! We decided to ditch the parade idea and get out of there before it was over and everyone decided to leave at the same time. So we decided to set out and find the carnival.

Missing the parade was the best idea ever!

We pulled up to the carnival at 11:58 am, and then it dawned on me that it was supposed to open right at noon. We arrived at the perfect time. The parking lot was pretty much deserted and everyone was just getting done opening everything up for the day. We were a few of the first ones to arrive, since most of the town was still watching the parade (and getting ready to create a gigantic traffic jam). We figured we had a good 45 minutes to an hour before it got crowded. That was just enough time to grab some carnival food, buy some tickets, and let the kids ride a couple of rides.

No lines!
He had the whole ride to himself & got a few extra laps.

I love this picture.

The kids got these really cool shimmer tattoo things. We were trying to find face painting for Ayden, but sadly they didn't have anyone there doing it. Can you believe that? I love that out of all the different designs to choose from my kids both chose skulls.

(these two collages were stolen from my husband's instagram)

After the carnival we went home and worked in the yard for a bit while the kids splashed around in the kiddie pool. Then we made our traditional 4th of July cake, kept it simple by grilling up some hot dogs and brats, and finished up by lighting off fireworks in the driveway.

I actually used the firework setting on my camera for the first time.

And no, this was not a real firework show. This was just my crazy ass neighbors lighting off illegal fireworks and scaring the crap out of me. I'm so skiddish when it comes to fireworks and it really freaks me out when people light off those big ones. But we had a great view of them, so we could see these from our front porch.

The kids said it was the best 4th of July ever, so hooray for that.

Now I'm back to working on my latest project. Yes, a project!
Think it's been a while?

LollipopSwirlz on Etsy

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hey guys! I just wanted to tell you about this cute little Etsy shop.
It's called LollipopSwirlz.
It's owned by Jenny from the blog Dancin' With a Dolly.

Jenny was sweet enough to send me a couple of cute pieces I'd had my eye on and I wanted to share them with you all. 

The teal and silver stud bracelet is my favorite.
My son says the studs look like silver chocolate chips. Now I can't stop thinking that!

 It also came in white (which was really cute!) and pink (which I want).

I also got this braided friendship bracelet and two pair of swirled earrings

My absolute favorite thing in her shop right now is this red, white, and blue braided friendship bracelet. It would be so perfect for the 4th of July!

Isn't Jenny's stuff cute? I love all pieces I got!

Make sure to check out LollipopSwirlz on Etsy.
You can also follow Jenny's blog here.

Hope you guys are enjoying the summer weather!
Have a happy & safe 4th of July.

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