Dr. Panda Teach Me! App Review

You’ve been there, scrolling through the pages of apps wondering which one will actually be educational, entertaining, and hold their interest? I know .99¢ or $1.99 isn’t a ton of money, but it sure does add up, especially if the apps are used once and then abandoned.

The other day we got Dr. Panda, a game from TribePlay

Dr. Panda, Teach Me is an interactive educational app for toddlers and preschoolers aged between 2 and 5 years old. This really is the beginning and ending ages for this game. I gave it to my 23 month old and he messed around with it, but just kept pushing the home button to find Talking Carl. I let my almost 6 year old give it a whirl and he gave it back to me in 3 minutes.

There are lots of different games with many funny and engaging animations, sounds and educational activities. I love that they use the same words we use at home for doing a great job, and that the  game has a reward system and not just points. The rewards are choosing among all the animals to make your own zoo. She really loved this part!

I was concerned that the graphics to actually get to the games are really small, but once she knew where they were she didn’t forget! For that reason I think it might be best as an iPad app. It didn’t stop her from playing with it for an hour straight though!

Dr. Panda’s Teach Me! is certified by the kidSAFE(c) Seal Program. Dr. Panda is safe for you and your children: there are no links, notifications, advertisement or in-app purchases.

Here’s a video for the game from Tribe Play:

You can get yours at the iTunes App Store. There is also a free lite version if you have a fear of app commitment.


This was a sponsored post. I received this app for free from TribePlay to offer a review. All opinions are my own.

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Blog Better (Boston) or not ever again?

Hmmmmm…Sometimes I think not ever again.

I’ve been so uncommitted to my blog for a while. There are days that I think I should just stop promoting it, take down the 4HB posts (my biggest source of traffic, sadly. I know, I can’t believe it’s not The not so crafty Mama gets her (Father’s Day) tie on either!) and just let it be my family blog.

Blog Better Boston

Yesterday was one of those days, and ironically I was at a blogging conference, Blog Better Boston. You’d think I’d be all gung ho afterwards and come here and post away like I did last year. I sat there, my knock off spanx all pinching my thighs, looking at all these pretty young things thinking “Am I kidding” myself here?

The conference was organized by two very young hip gals. They did a great job, truly. Most of the attendees appeared to be fashion bloggers. I say appeared to be becasue some of the fashion was questionable to my very old tired eyes, but maybe that’s what’s fashionable now. I DON”T KNOW. This is my point.

It seemed like all these PYTs were very focused and jazzed up, and the panelists at least – very accomplished. I know, I know “Comparison is the thief of joy”. I know! But I couldn’t help it. I accomplished getting out of the house without any kid mess on me that morning. That my friends, is an accomplishment in my book.

My reason for this blog is manyfold (is that a word because I like it). In the beginning it was my business blog, then I extracted the personal posts and it became a personal blog. It’s a documentation of my life, a form of self expression through writing, photography, and video. Then it became a small (very small) business writing reviews and doing giveaways. It’s has always been a way for me to keep my skillset sharp and network for the day that will eventually come when my kids are in school and I want a J O B.

My determination to be really good at something that I do, combined with the mental injuries of Cool Dog not doing as well as I hoped, added with my utter exhaustion at the end of the day has left me defeated. I can’t put my all into something again because it isn’t really my all. My all goes to my kids. My blog, and before that my business got my what’s left over. A coming down from latte overload, tired, unshowered version of myself.

Back to the conference.

Monetize your Blog – For me, this was by far the best panel. Lots of good stuff here. The most interesting bit that was revealed (to me) is that I could have another revenue stream by helping others with videos for their blogs. Also creating motion graphics for their vids. Good stuff right? But do I dive back into another business venture? Ugh.

Working with Brands – Mommy Niri. Oh, our good friend Niri. So smart. Know you’re worth something. Don’t pimp yourself out. Figure out what you’re getting from the relationship. Sounds like life, no?

Traffic & Community – I didn’t understand that this panel would be discussing offline community. I wouldn’t have gone. I don’t have time to keep up with my actual community – my friends.  I am not building an offline community, I’m just not. However, I loved these ladies. Smart, funny and yes fashionable. Takeaway – Be authentic. Always. Find what you’re good at and go deep.

It was a good conference in its inaugural year, and next year, I think it will be even better. I wished the panels were a bit longer and breaks a bit shorter. Maybe two food stations to help with the lines. Oh, and bigger cupcakes :-)

life of reilly latte

This post is fragmented and a little bit swirly, but that’s kind of the way I feel right now.

So to recap I like to blog, I’m not very good at it, I like to go to conferences, I’m tired, and my spanx are hurty.

See, now this is the part in the post where I am supposed to ask a question like Why do you blog? or What keeps you blogging? or Do you wear Spanx too? Meh. Also, you’re welcome for the PYT earworm.

Time for more caffeine I think.


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Disney on Ice Dare to Dream Review

I had been avoiding Disney on Ice like the plague for the last few years.

Selfishly, I thought it would be awful and I wouldn’t enjoy it. Also the whole merchandising attack that I thought would befall us as soon as we entered kinda made me sick to my stomach.

An opportunity to go to Disney on Ice Dare to Dream came along as part of doing a giveaway and writing a review. My baby girl had seen an advertisement for it somewhere, somehow, and had been talking about. The time had come.

She donned her princess dress, and N dressed up as Flynn Ryder. There weren’t many other almost 6 year old boys there, but N didn’t seem to notice. He insisted on coming because even though it was mostly princesses, “Eugene will be there Mom – its okay.” We brought Nana along for her birthday, tiara perched atop her head, and off we went to TDGarden on a Friday night.

We watch Disney Jr. like it’s our job around here, but I purposely have left much of the princess stuff out of our lives. S has received many hand me down dressup princess clothes and I have cut every princess medallion off them. She can decide what kind of princess she wants to be! They have seen Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and the Princess and the Frog a couple of times each. However, we’ve seen Tangled many many many times.

I haven’t been to the Garden since it was the old Garden. I thought we would be further away from the skating and we’d have a hard time seeing. Turns out we had awesome seats and so did everyone else. Truly.

Disney on Ice did a great job condensing the stories so that they still made sense. Great costumes, and music, of course. It was all really well done.
I could tell they spent the most time on the Tangled concept and execution. It was great. The skating seemed a bit more complicated than the other sets, and more entertaining. They used some silks hanging from the rafters to sail through the air  – it was a real crowd pleaser. Loved it.

As I feared, the merchandising was nauseating, every 5 feet there was something princessy that cost $20. It was awful. I told the kids I wouldn’t be buying them anything. Not one thing. However, I would never refuse a Nana her god given right to spoil her grandkids rotten. They nearly lost their minds when she came back to the seats with these.

So if you have some time over the Februaury break to go, you should go. If you have any princess girls in your house, you should go. Tangled fans? GO! So fun. Tickets are here.

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“Peter Pan’s a Boy!”

Yes, yes he is honey girl. Peter Pan is a boy and Tinker Bell is a foul mouthed little spit fire of a fairy and we loved every minute of it.

It being threesixty’s presentation of J M Barrie’s Peter Pan on Boston’s City Hall Plaza. It was so good that at one point I had tears in my eyes. I am not lying. When they were flying over London and we got to see the theater’s amazing capabilities for the first time. I looked at my kids’ wide eyes and open mouths watching people fly! It was awesome and it made me tear up.

Full disclosure is that we were given these tickets to preview the show for you all and tweet about it. We would not have gone otherwise, because I didn’t want to take the chance on buying expensive tickets for a show I wasn’t sure we would like, or that my kids were too young to see. I can tell you there is no risk, unless your kids aren’t familiar with the story.

The croc – a puppet made of hanger and clothes pins!

There were some scary parts. It is billed for kids 6 and over. I took my 3 and 5 year olds. The first appearance of the pirates was a little unsettling but that’s it. They loved the whole thing, even the croc!

It helped that we had been watching the Cathy Rigby version on Netflix for the previous two weeks. Which hysterically lead my 3yo to yell “Hey look Mama. Peter Pan’s a boy.” Ha! We lost them a little bit in the second half. There was a lot more dialogue and well, popcorn. Yes, the popcorn distracted them – they are 3 & 5 afterall.

I would say, without hesitation, go. The cast is amazing and fully committed. The theater in the round aspect makes every seat unbelievable. It’s the world’s first 360º CGI theater set. It’s really just so cool. My son kept calling it a live movie. I guess it kind of is…

The actors that played Peter Pan & Wendy with N.

We were even lucky enough to catch Peter and Wendy before they flew off into the night!

They’ll be on Boston City Hall Plaza until December 30th and you can get tickets here.

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Peter Pan 360’s coming to town

Forget Santa for a minute. Peter Pan is coming to town!! (Well he’s already here, has been for a bit. But he’s herrrrrrre!)

From some reason I just said Peter Pan in Oprah’s voice. Pe-ter Paaaaaan. Weird.

So as part of the Boston Parent Bloggers network I’ve been given tickets to see Peter Pan 360 on Boston’s City Hall Plaza, and I am stoked!

For the past few weeks my kids have been watching the Disney version and the Cathy Rigby version. I have no idea how or why this Peter Pan obsession started, but I am so excited for them to see it live.

In case you don’t know about it, here ya go…

I’ll report back about its awesomeness!


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Hey Boo Boo!

My kids have never been to the movies.  I know, call DSS already.  What the hell kind of mother am I?  My oldest is 4.5 and he’s never been to the movies.

Let me explain.  I am of the mindset that I would rather watch a movie at home.  Weird, since up until a few weeks ago we still had a 25 inch tube television.  I know!  I couldn’t even QC my work videos properly on the damn thing.  Also I so infrequently get to see my friends that just about the last thing I want to do is sit in a dark theater and not talk to them while sitting next to them.  Date night you say?  Nope not spending money on a sitter to go spend more money on a movie.  Just feed me.  The real truth is that I have had three kids in five years and I simply have not found the time. Someone was always too young, too loud, to new, too messy, too throwing food, too potty training, Too SOMETHING.

I received an email from Boston Parent Bloggers that they had been given passes to screen the new Yogi Bear movie. All I had to do was sign up at gofobo.com and enter a rsvp code.  “Gofobo is a new and exciting online experience designed to help you see movies first and win prizes fast.”  I’m not sure what that means but you can check it out for yourself :-)  We would get to see it a week before everyone else.  A fact that only my husband and I thought was cool.

The movie, well I’m not a critic, but…

I am a child of the 70’s which means I grew up watching Yogi Bear.  There was far too little Yogi and Boo Boo for my taste.  The story was much more about the humans, heroes and villains, a love story, etc.  With larger plots about saving the environment and our parks.  I do love the actor from Ed.  So that was a cute bonus for me.  Not really sure why it needed to be in 3D, but I hadn’t been to a 3D movie in forevah so – kind of cool.  The glasses stayed off the 2.5 year old and the 4.5 year old kept asking me what they were for and why the screen was fuzzy. Like 20 times, kept asking me.

And then…He was there!  Yogi was in da house.  The kids were so excited to see him.

Our first movie experience was great.  Yeah it was a pic-a -nic! Everyone behaved, no one yelled, or threw food, or peed, or anything at all remotely like that.  We might even go back someday!

Maybe I’ll take them to a museum or something next.


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