Monday, December 21, 2015

Monster Jam...A GIVEAWAY!!!

I feel like all I have to write about are awesome opportunities for everyone at the end of this year.  WORKS FOR ME!  I just got invited to Monster Jam AND have the chance to offer 4 tickets to opening night to you!



The 2016 touring season brings more Monster Jam excitement, providing entertainment tailored perfectly for your family's budget, and these colorful, larger-than-life beasts are sure to capture the hearts of both young and old. This event will feature eight different trucks including Captain’s Curse, Doomsday, El Toro Loco, Grave Digger, Hot Wheels, Mad Scientist, MM Dalmatian and Zombie Hunter. Approximately 12-feet-tall and about 12-feet-wide, Monster Jam trucks are custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, these trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster Jam trucks can fly up to 130 feet over 14 cars side-by-side and up to 35 feet in the air.

I was reading over the press kit for the show and this information is CRAZY.  I had no clue so much went into a show. I am rather excited for it!  From the videos I have watched it does seem a bit loud, so if you have a sensitive kiddo I would probably bring headphones.  I plan on it.

YOU can win a 4 pack to see the show on opening night!  Enter below and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The House of Boys...& a Girl is not responsible for delivering the tickets.  Tickets will be available at will call at the arena.  All opinions and excitement are my own.  Tickets given courtesy of Feld Entertainment. 

LEGO® KidsFest is coming to Charlotte!!! AND I HAVE A GIVEAWAY!!!!

LEGO® KidsFest is AH-MAZING. Back in 2014 I totally took the kids out of school for a trip to Raleigh to hit the LEGO® KidsFest.  The school secretary and I decided it was an educational trip and the kids weren't counted as absent.  SCORE.

IT WAS SO WORTH IT.  You can see a million pictures up in the link up there.  Go look...I will wait.

Next year, Feb 19th - 21st, 2016 the LEGO® KidsFest is coming to CHARLOTTE and I have all kinds of information straight from them, for you!

Three Acres of Hands-On Educational Fun for All Ages

LEGO® KidsFest national tour stops at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC, from February 19 - 21, 2016, for the very first time, bringing all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO® building and experiences together in this three acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event.
LEGO® KidsFest is for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.

Among the many
LEGO® attractions, families will find:

LEGO® Model Museum: life-sized models made entirely from LEGO® bricks
LEGO® Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play
* Race Ramps: build a custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family
LEGO® Star Wars: build and display a Star Wars model
LEGO® Disney Princess: create a princess scene to add to a LEGO® story book
LEGO® Super Heroes: pose with a life-sized Spiderman model and more
LEGO® DUPLO: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
LEGO® Retail: purchase LEGO® merchandise and official KidsFest tour goods
LEGO® Friends: build for the five empowered friends from Heartlake City
LEGO® Ninjago: spin the way to being a Spinjitzu member
LEGO® Mindstorms: build and program robots and snakes
LEGO® Technic: get hands-on with the cool, realistic vehicles at the booth
* Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
* Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of
LEGO® bricks for creative play and enjoyment
* Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color foster group creativity

"Our 2016
LEGO® KidsFest tour is going to delight both new and returning audiences," said Vince Rubino, Events Manager for LEGO® Systems, Inc. "We've still got some favorites on the show floor, like the Big Brick Pile, Creation Nation and the Race Ramps. There are also many new and unique activities designed for building, learning and fun."

Five sessions - all identical and 4 1/2 half hours in length - are held at each tour stop. LEGO® KidsFest tickets can be purchased at Tickets are $19 for the Friday and Sunday afternoon sessions, and $22 for both sessions on Saturday and the Sunday morning session.

On tour since 2009, previous LEGO® KidsFest tour stops have included major cities such as Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, San Jose, Cleveland, Richmond, Phoenix, Portland and more.

This WILL sell out.  It will.  It will be crazy and over whelming and inspiring and a BLAST for everyone there and it WILL get sold out.   Make sure to get your tickets soon.  You can get them through this link:  BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE!!

Wait...I said a giveaway, right?   Here is that info! Good luck!!!

One of MY followers will win (2) tickets to for the opening night session on Friday, Feb 19, 2016 (4-8:30pm). I encourage you to LIKE and Follow LEGO®KidsFest on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for all the latest ticketing updates as this event has been selling out in prior cities. Must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, random drawing by USFG!

Winner will be randomly chosen by USFG on Tues Jan 15 and announced on my Blog and notified via email,

ENTER HERE -Click here to enter the CONTEST!!!
 Contest and tickets Courtesy of LEGO KidsFest and USFamily Guide.  All opinions are my own.  Tickets will be emailed to the winner once received from USFamily Guide.  The House of Boys...& a Girl is not responsible for delivery.  You MUST make sure to check your email and use an email that you check on a regular basis.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

ThinkFun gets you ready for the holiday gift giving!

**affiliate links in post**
If you have been a reader here, you know I work with ThinkFun on the regular.  I LOVE their games. My kids are very big into playing games and I love that these actually make them think more than just "move this piece 3 spaces"

For the holiday season I thought I would share with you two of my latest discoveries:
Laser Maze Jr. and Compose Yourself

I was actually at Target perusing the toy aisle and saw Laser Maze Jr. there and thought how awesome it looked.  

From the site:  Your mission: Expertly transport the laser beam to the rockets so that it can safely return to earth! Younger players can now experience the fun of the award-winning game Laser Maze with an age-appropriate design and challenge for grade school children with real lasers. Available at Amazon and neighborhood toy stores.  (Age 6+)

The game is rated for ages 6 and up.  It did take a bit of explaining to get Nate to understand what was going on. He is almost 8.  You REALLY have to think this one through.  Nate does have planning issues (we went to therapy for YEARS and they worked on that), so that could play into his confusion.

Here come the pictures. The game has 40 different challenges from easy to super hard.  The cards have an image on either side.  You get the cards, 5 mirrors, a beam splitter, 3 rocks that stop the laser, and two rockets.
The laser is a legitimate laser, think laser pointer.  It comes out of this area shown. The switch to turn it on and off is TIGHT.  I like that aspect. 
How to play:  You choose a card and slide it into a slit in the board.It tells you where to place the pieces you start with when you look down onto the game board.  THEN on the side of the card, it shows what piece you need to accomplish the task.  Set up is way easier than it sounds.

The object is to light up the rocket ship.
This was the very first card and was relatively easy once you knew how the mirrors worked.  When struck with the laser, it shoots the beam at a 90 degree angle.
 Aidan FLEW through some of the levels.  Once he tried a super hard and got stumped. 
 All in all it is a very fun game that gets the brain working.  The boys were even creating their own challenges for each other.  I even had fun playing this one.  V liked to help set it up, but definitely way too advanced for her. 

You can find this game on Amazon as well as local stores in the toy dept.  It retails for $30

The next game we have today that is awesome for all ages is Compose Yourself.

From the site: Created by world-famous composer and cellist, Maestro Philip Sheppard, Compose Yourself allows anyone to play with music and create a world-class composition.
Arrange the cards in a nice visual pattern, enter the codes on this site and hear your piece played by a full symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. There are over 1 billion melodies you can create!
Compose Yourself brings out the music in everyone, especially children with no musical experience, and builds new thinking skills such as creativity, expression and confidence. Recently profiled in The Wall Street Journal! (Ages 6+)

Not going to lie, I saw this and thought "meh. Might as well." Pretty sure this is now one of my favorites. ANYONE can use this.  It is good for ANY age even though it says 6 and up. You don't have to be able to read/write/or even really understand music and it is still enjoyable.

In the box you get a carry bag and 60 see though cards all with different music notes on them.  You can flip them over and arrange them in a fashion that you find visually enjoyable.
The cards need to be in sets of 4 though.  You can do up to 16 per piece.  For the first time, V picked 8.
 Once you have your cards, you go to the website and enter the codes found on the corners of the cards into the fields.  As you do, the cards pop up on the screen. Ignore all my saved tabs. 

Click play and you end up with this! 

This would make a fantastic stocking stuffer for kids of all ages.  My brother in law is actually a choir director at his church as well as a music teacher.  I am definitely breaking this out when he comes over.  This game retails for $20 and can be found exclusively on Amazon.  As of this posting it was actually selling for $14.99

So there you go.  Two fantastic gifts that would be great to grab for someone this holiday season!

**I received these complimentary in order to facilitate my review.  All pics and opinions are my own and the song is all my 5 year old's doing***

Monday, December 14, 2015

GIVEAWAY!!!! Minecraft Story Mode

I used to live in a world without Minecraft.  My boys talked about it, but we never downloaded it.  For Nate's birthday this year he was gifted a copy on iTunes and our world changed.

Now it is Minecraft ALL THE TIME.  We have it on the computer, on the iPad, phones.  All over. All three kiddos really get into it.

We started seeing commercials for Minecraft Story Mode and the pleading began.  Like magic, I was sent an email offering me a free copy to try AND one to give away!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT.

Minecraft Story Mode is a bit different and super cool.  I have fond memories of "choose your own adventure" books as a child and this is along the same lines.  There is a LOT of reading involved, so kinda hard for nonreaders to enjoy alone. 

It is a five part episodic series that sets you into the world of Minecraft, but introduces new characters and familiar themes, building an entirely original Minecraft experience inspired by the game. You drive the story through the decisions you make: what you say to people (and how you say it), and what you choose to do in moments of thrilling action will make this YOUR story!  Patton Oswalt voices Jesse, the main character in the story.  Rather fun hearing talking in your kitchen.

The game is by Telltale Games and available in numerous forms:  PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, and coming soon to Wii U.  It is also available on Steam!

Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Games Series - Episode 1: 'The Order of the Stone' is rated 'E10+' (Everyone 10+) for Fantasy Violence and Mild Language by the ESRB. Future content in the season is yet to be rated by the ESRB. The series is published by Telltale Games in partnership with Mojang.

What I have for one lucky reader is a Steam copy!  This is great for those last minute shoppers like me who totally forget to buy things for holidays.  Best part about this, you get a code to use online so no traveling to a store! YIPPEE!  WIth this being an episodic series, the entire five chapters are NOT available at once.  When the next part is live, it automatically downloads onto your game, cool huh?  Currently there are 3 of the 5 episodes available.

Want to win?  Here is your chance! PLEASE make sure the email you sign in with is a current one you check regularly.  I will be drawing Saturday morning.  I have the code to email out to a winner.  You MUST check your email.  You have 24 hours to claim it or I am passing it on to the next person.  This contest is good for a copy on the PC.  You will NOT receive a physical copy.  Only a download for the computer on Steam.  You MUST have a Steam account to play.  It is free to sign up. GOOD LUCK!!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a free copy to review and a free copy to pass on to another.  All thoughts are my own, all kids excitement is also mine.  I claim it. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Peyton Heart Project

Back in October I was up in Mt. Airy, NC for the Autumn Leaves Festival.  I have a booth up there every year for my business.  This year I walked into the community building and saw this brightly colored heart with a tag just sitting there next to the ATM.  There were some people standing there, I figured it was theirs.  I went to the restroom, came out, and it was still there minus  the people.  I picked it up and looked at it. It had a little tag that read "Take me!  You make the world a beautiful place. #PeytonHeartProject"
After being outside for numerous days in a tent, that was a much needed note.  I grabbed it, walked back to my tent, and pulled out my phone to look up the tag.  I never realized how much a little heart meant.

The Peyton Heart Project was started because of a little 13 year old boy named Peyton James.

Peyton was a child that got bullied for years at school and couldn't handle it anymore and ended up taking his life in 2014.  He was only 13.  THIRTEEN.  My oldest right now is 9 1/2.  There isn't that much difference there.  Only 3 short years difference.  9 years has flown by with him.  I couldn't imagine losing him in just three short years. 

The Peyton Heart Project is a project is connected to the Sidewalk Smiles Campaign. The Sidewalk Smiles Campaign was created by Julia Kubin in 2014 when she was 13. The Peyton Heart Project was created by Jill Kubin, Julia’s mom, in June 2015. It is an extension of the suicide prevention and bullying prevention projects Julia has been working on. The are looking to bring awareness to the issues of teen suicide and bullying. 

When I found this little heart that made my day, I never realized the impact that it would have on me.  

When I got back home I have started knitting up my own hearts to pass out. It gave me such joy to find it, I can't imagine what kind of impact this could have on someone who is on the brink of self harm.  Just to know that you are worth it.  You are beautiful.  The world is a better place with you in it.  People DO care.

If you head to the site The Peyton Hart Project, you can find all kinds of information.  Pages to print with the quotes, heart patterns, even an address you can write to to get free hearts to pass out.  All they ask for is postage in return.  

If you find a heart, make sure to post it to Instagram with the hashtag #PeytonHeartProject

I think in this day and age, we need more positivity out there...don't you?