A few weeks ago, the dancers in our household got some very lovely mail.
That’s right… the latest and greatest copy of our favorite dancing game for review: Just Dance 2014!
We absolutely love the Just Dance series for our XBOX 360 Kinect, as it makes playing a video game so simple and fun! Just turn on the game, and your arms take over as the controls, and you can dance to your heart’s content! In fact, we own Just Dance 3 and Just Dance Disney Party as well!
Just Dance 2014 is pretty much loaded up with lots of hit songs that you are already dancing to on your own: Just Dance by Lady Gaga, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams. And… then it’s got family favorites too… like YMCA by the Village People and Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie by ABBA. Yes… we like the ABBA in our household… probably more due to Mamma Mia! than anything else, but still!
Now the second that Miss L spotted the game on the table, her little 3-year-old brain knew instantly what logo that was! “Mommy! Can we please please please please play this new dancing game??? PLEASE???” So what’s a mom to do when she hears that (and loves home activities that burn preschool energy like magic) BUT pop the disc out and get ready for some fun!
So we hit play on “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga (“Her name is GAGA? No it’s not! That’s so funny!”) and got to grooving. And at the end, a little surprise awaited us! You see, in this version, every time you dance you’re rewarded with a little snippet video at the end of your performance! You can customize it, share it with other Just Dance users, and even post it to social media all from the game! What fun is that ?!?! Thank you Ubisoft for thinking of such a great addition!
As we played the game, I noticed the same great dance format as the earlier games, but there’s definitely some improved graphics and dance tracking from earlier versions. It’s a little bit harder to gauge the diffiulty of songs from the main menu now, so make sure you know which ones are easy and which ones might present a challenge. (In our house, that looks like me coughing up a lung and Miss L crying, “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!!!”)
AND THE BEST UPDATE THE TO 2014 GAME?
A WORLDWIDE DANCE PARTY COMPETITION!
That’s right… you can now have a dance-off with anyone else in the world! I really like that they’ve incorporated a multi-player aspect into the game, but sadly there’s not that many people currently using it (well, at least when I try it out). Maybe more people will gain the confidence to be insane and try it in the future!
Needless to say, we’ve been dancing up a storm since the game arrived and know that we’ll be doing so well into 2014!
You can pick up a version of Just Dance 2014 for your console for around $39.99 ($49.99 for the new PS4 and XBOX ONE systems). It’s definitely a great party gift for the holidays, since you can start playing it right away. You know your mom wants to bust out the moves to YMCA!
FYI: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
The race reports from the latest RunDisney half marathon weekend, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, have been filling up the blogosphere in the past week, so I figured it was time for me to frame that coveted medal of mine from the year before. I thought I had it all figured out, and would replicate my efforts from the 2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon, but I hit a bit of a snag.
See… Lasting Commemoratives had made this wonderful plaque for 2012 Tink:
Which I slapped on to the bottom of a frame and made this little beauty (full details here)…
But when I went to order a plaque for Wine & Dine… this was my only option:
Yeah. Not really pretty. So I framed the medal in my Aaron Brothers frame, but didn’t buy the plaque. And just left it on the back of a counter sort of hidden from the world.
When I was away for the Dumbo Double Dare over Labor Day, Mr. M did an amazing thing and put up shelves for my medals and their frames. BUT he insisted that I order the plaques and finish up my framing for all of them.
Before I resigned myself to an ugly plaque, however, I sent a quick email to the company asking if there was any way to modify them like the first one I had purchased. And guess what? They said, “Of course!”
So instead of that not so wonderful plaque above, this is what I got!
And then I went ahead and ordered my Disneyland Half Marathon one too! Just need to go revisit the store to buy my supplies. I also have to figure out what I’m going to do for my Dumbo Double Dare and Coast to Coast medals… but I’ll save that until after I get my Tinker Bell 10K medal in January!
So thanks to Lasting Commemoratives for accommodating my silly requests and making my medal shelves look so darn pretty!
(p.s. gotta love the decreasing half times! LOL. I’ve got a while to work on getting those down again!)
Last week, Mr. M came home with a newly purchased copy of, "The Way, Way Back." I gave him that look of mine that is sort of sour and questioning all in one since I’d never heard of this movie that was now part of our movie library. I’m a bit of a sourpuss when it comes to DVD purchases in the current era of streaming media. However, I’d like to take back that look and replace it with a huge hug now. Because this movie is seriously one of the best things I’ve seen in a long, long time and I’m pretty certain I’m going to wear it out on sick days and lose it to friends when it’s lent out.
I thought my euphoria over the movie was just the result of a lot of recent independent movies that didn’t live up to their promise (hello misleading trailer for The Spectacular Now! I want our $18 back for that story of alcoholism masked as a coming-of-age film!), but when I started talking to other friends & family, they all smiled with rave reviews too.
So rent it – stream it – buy it. There are no superheroes, the biggest star in the film is the biggest meanie, and you’ll just smile a lot.
Shh… I have a secret. I discovered it back in my teaching days and pretty much forgot about it until I was 7 months pregnant and wanted to build up our library with some [more] kid’s lit. Since then, I’ve been passing the word to many local friends, and thought I needed to share it with you too!
Last December, I spent $81 and got 19 brand new books for Miss L’s library: 11 hardback books, 7 soft cover books and a cupcake recipe book too! When she was a baby, I purchased 17 board books for $49. Her current library has well over 150 books, and the vast majority of them have come from purchases.
How did we do it?
These sales usually occur twice a year, in December and in the Spring (March – May), and happen at the warehouse locations for Scholastic. In December 2013, you can find sales in the following states:
Alabama (3), Arizona (4), Arkansas (3), California (18), Colorado (3), Connecticut (4), Delaware (1), Florida (11), Georgia (6), Hawaii (1), Illinois (11), Indiana (5), Iowa (2), Kansas (2), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (2), Maine (2), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (5), Michigan (6), Minnesota (3), Mississippi (3), Missouri (5), Nebraska (2), Nevada (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (3), New Mexico (3), New York (13), North Carolina (4), Ohio (7), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (4), Pennsylvania (7), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (6), Texas (22), Utah (5), Vermont (1), Virginia (5), Washington (6), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (6)
It’s a great chance to get fantastic hard cover books for a ridiculous bargain, and stock up on softcover books that your child can read on their own without worry! Most of the books are 50% off, and many are marked $1 or $2 as well!
AND THEN… there’s always a coupon for $10 off $50 or $25 off $100 purchase. Yup. Insane, huh?
You’ll need to register in order to print out a coupon (Sales are advertised to be exclusively for school employees, school district personnel, homeschool directors & teachers, and Book Fair chairpeople and volunteers – but identification isn’t needed at the door, so be sure to pay it forward by volunteering or donating books to your local school!) , and then just bring it to the warehouse and shop to your heart’s content! Hello gifts for every kid in the family!
Last year, I stocked up on holiday books for this year… and I’m happy to now have some books to wrap & read this year for Miss L!
So, have I convinced you to go? Are you there yet?!?
For Halloween this year, we decided to fly off to Neverland!
Halloween 2013 was quite a last-minute affair. While trying to get Miss L to narrow down her options, we were constantly facing new ones at every turn. Minnie Mouse. Izzy from Jake & the Neverland Pirates. Cinderella (yup… again.) Yet, on one fateful afternoon phone call, when Miss L was given the choice of wearing my old Tinker Bell costume by Grandma L, she gleefully accepted the offer. Funny part is that while Grandma L had saved the costume (which Great Grandma A had made for me!), she had forgotten how old (and big) I was at the time.
Yup. Pretty big. But that wasn’t a deterrent for our willful little pixie. Nope. She embraced the extra room and made it work!
Then, as was the case last year, she assigned our costumes: Mr. M would be Captain Hook and I would be Mr. Smee.
It was pretty easy for me to raid my closet and come up with a Mr. Smee outfit (blue stripes and I have been good friends this year), but Mr. M was a different story. The typical online pirate costumes I was finding online weren’t really great… and I didn’t want to spend $40… and then it was Halloween week and I was in a bind!
So…. I went to our local Goodwill, crossed my fingers, and went searching. There was nothing in the “Pirate costume” section, so I headed to the women’s blazer area and crossed my fingers one more time.
And there it was! A Size 14 long red women’s blazer from the 80’s… just as I hoped! I went to a mirror, tried it on, flipped the collar up, and breathed a sigh of relief! That was done! Now for the hat! Well… that took some tedious time walking through the whole store… but at the last aisle I spotted something purple with a feather. I took a deep breath, grabbed it and flipped it over. Sure enough, there was a Disney Store label with Captain Hook’s photo on it… along with the glorious words ADULT M/L. I checked out of the store for $10.95, and went on to Walmart for fabric. For another $3.50, I bought a couple yards of 1/2” white bed ruffles, matching red cotton for the cuffed sleeves and gold satin for the jacket.
And after procrastinating until 8pm on Oct 30th to begin my sewing, this is what we got when 1am rolled around!
Yeah, I’m pretty shocked myself. Thank you Goodwill gods for being so nice to me this year!
So on Halloween night, we headed out into the cold in search of lots of candy.
We set our course to walk about a mile to get to our friends M & D’s house, and then came back.
But there wasn’t a house we missed on that entire journey! Miss L had quite the overflowing pumpkin of goodies!
We made one final stop at Grandma & Grandpa M’s house, and then it was home to enjoy that coveted single piece of Halloween night candy: a tootsie roll pop.
Happy Halloween 2013 from the star of the 2014 hit film starring Tom Hiddleston & Christina Hendricks, “The Pirate Fairy.”