Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7/28/14: Back To School with Master Lock

In every store you shop in Back to School signs are everywhere.  For parents this means preparation for the new school year.  This includes many components in our house.  First there is getting everyone back on a regular schedule which is difficult after the summer with staying up past bed times, little activities and no homework.  It also includes getting Back to School clothes, new shoes, and supplies.  Now with kids carrying expensive technology there is more of a concern over the safety of these items.
I received some wonderful products from Master Lock.  Did you know that in 2010 Master Lock introduced the Speed Dial padlock?  It is the first padlock that opens on directional movements (up, down, left, right) instead of the traditional rotary dial.  Then in 2012 they produced the first-ever digital padlock called the dialSpeed.  

Even locks are coming in to this digital era.  I received the 1500eDBX dialSpeed Digital Combination Lock.  It has an electronic light up keypad with an online backup.  You can actually retrieve you combination from https://www.masterlockvault.com/ It retails for $15.99.  I love how it lights up.
There is also the 5900D SafeSpace™ Portable Safe.  This is the perfect place to put cash, credit cards, electronics and more.  
 It looks pretty cool and is easy to use.  Plus it is portable.  It would be great to take on vacation to protect your valuables.

There is a little black protective cover over the combination. 
 Here you can see the length of the cable.
 There is enough space for small items and electronics such as an iPhone, keys, wallet.
 It has a cable that can be used to anchor it down or it can be used as a handle for carrying.  It comes in white, grey and pink and retails for $19.99. 
Additional new products by Master Lock are: 
Plus the 1535D and 1535DWD Set-Your-Own Combination Locks.  This is great for students and they can set a personalized combination which can be numbers or letters.  Select styles are available in black or white with brightly colored dials and retail for $7.99. 
1500iD Speed Dial™ Set-Your-Own Combination Lock in a stylish metallic purple design. 
5900D SafeSpace™ Laptop Computer Lock:  Protection for you laptop computer.
Master Lock Vault allows you to securely store your private data in the cloud for easy access anytime, anywhere with this digital safe deposit box.
Plus Master Lock is having a Photo Hunt Challenge.  This interactive online game offers players a chance to view the many products Master Lock offers to keep students’ belongs safe at school while getting a chance to win fun Master Lock products and other cool prizes.  Now through September 7, participants can go to http://www.masterlockphotohunt.com/ for a chance to win back-to-school security items and create a Master Lock shopping wish list.  
Players can add any of the Master Lock products they see while playing the game to their wish list and email it to mom or dad for easy back-to-school shopping.  The game features two similar back-to-school images and asks players to spot the differences before time runs out.  Finding all the differences will unlock the next photo board with the potential to earn up to two sweepstakes entries for each play.  There are more than 65 chances to win, including daily instant win prizes, weekly prizes and one grand prize: a Samsung Smart Media Center Package that includes a 60” HD 1080p Smart LED HDTV.  

You can also participate in a Master Lock Twitter Party on August 5th at 8 PM EST, hosted by @ResourcefulMom #MasterBackToSchool. More details can be found here.
Find them online:  http://www.masterlock.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MasterLock
Twitter:  @MasterLockUS
Disclosure:  This post is sponsored and I received these Master Lock products in exchange for review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28/14: SmartMax House With Car Review

I love construction toys and so do my kids.  I knew they would enjoy playing with the SmartMax "House With Car" Set which was introduced at Toy Fair this year and just released in June.  The fact that a vehicle is involved made my son love it even more.  I like that Evan immediately turned it in to a train and started driving it around.  I love when kids use their imaginations.
All of the pieces are magnetic so there is no frustration with kids trying to get them put together.
This set has a cute little four wheel vehicle.  With this piece the cockpit and the wheel pieces snap on to the bar.
With the remaining pieces the possibilities are endless.  You could build a house, a garage, and more.
Evan building his creation.
Here you can see some of the pieces up close.  As you can see these are easy for little ones to maneuver and entirely safe for them.  You can read more here about the safety of SmartMax here.  The parts are extremely durable.  Plus they learn a little bit about magnetism.
There is also a little window piece that Lauren was having fun with.
Evan building with the window piece.
Lauren pondering what to build next.
Can you see the Choo Choo sounds coming out of his mouth?
Lauren enjoying playing and giving me a pose with her creation.
Evan making his creation come full circle.
This toy is for ages 3 and up, but as you can see my 7 and 9 year old were loving it and even fighting over playing with it.  The older the child the more complex the structure they could build.  It is also a good geometry lesson.  Here is an example of something a child 5-10 could build, plus there are more examples on the SmartMax Website.
If you have other SmartMax sets all of the pieces work together.  Plus there are add on packs.  Here it is as packaged and can be purchased at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, www.SmartToysAndGames.com, and quality toy stores everywhere. 
Brain-building fun for both children and adults can also be had online at www.SmartGamesLive.com, where Smart Toys and Games has made fourteen of their single-player puzzle games available virtually at levels, including Starter, Junior, Expert, or Master.
Find them online:  www.SmartToysAndGames.com
Twitter:  @SmartMax_eu
Disclosure:  I received this SmartMax set for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7/27/14: Laser Craze Fun

Today we went to Laser Craze in Woburn, MA for some family fun.  It was a rainy summer day so we were trying to think of some fun things to do inside and Laser Tag, the Adrenaline Zone kids space and Arcade fit the bill.  
Laser Tag is very popular there, especially on weekends and rainy days.  They run games every hour.  I called earlier in the day and reserved us a spot in the 2:15 game.  You can see all pricing here, but basically it was $14 for one game.  After we checked in at the front desk we received cards that we then took over to the Log In area.
Everyone logs in individually with their card.  You type in some basic information including your name, address, age, and you get to pick a code name for the game.  My kids really liked that they got to pick a nickname that could be anything they wanted.  Lauren chose Hello Kitty and Evan chose Blaster W.  I really wish you could enter a whole family at once and not have to do them one at a time with duplicate information but I will give them props for doing this online and not through paper waivers.
We then were called for our game.  You enter a room where they de-brief you.  There is a short 2 minute video to watch.  I love the first rule and most important one, no running!
A maximum of 48 players can play in a round.  We had 41 when we played.  To make the laser gun fire you must hold one of the buttons on the front of the gun and then use the trigger.  It is very easy to use and my 7 year old and 9 year old had no problems.
We played as a family.  When we got in to the de-briefing room they revealed the teams - half on Blue and half on Red.  Unfortunately they put both kids together and both parents together.  We made an adjustment and I became Hello Kitty and Lauren took my name of Ghostbuster so that we could have one parent with each kid.  This was mostly for Lauren as she can sometimes get a bit scared playing Laser Tag.  I asked after and they said if we had requested it they would have put an adult with each child.
When you start out the game you are at your home base.  You play 4 five minute rounds and they make an announcement to return to your home base.  This is where you return to so you can start the next round.  It is also where you return if you get hit a number of times and need to get recharged.  I felt like I had to keep going there.  I wish that you had to go there less during the game.
There is also a place where you can go on the opposing teams side and get 500 points per hit.  Randomly they give a player Deflector Power which basically gives you about 30 seconds of time where anyone who shoots at you gets deflected back.  When I got this power I went for this spot and kept shooting at the 500 points as no one could get me.
They also randomly give a player rapid fire.  When you get that you can shoot very quickly.  You can get other players on their chest, back, and two shoulders.  If you hit someone on your own team you and that player lose points.  You can see the laser beam when you are shooting.  I like that you can see it and see where you are shooting but it does give away where you are.  When you return to your home base each time you see where you ranked and if your team won.  I am happy to say that our Red Team won all four rounds.
Evan was on my team and did awesome!
There is an upper and lower level.  I kept going up to the upper level to get across to the other team's 500 point spot.  It does look pretty cool in there.  You can see the Laser Tag Arena online here.
Here you can see some of the Laser Tag arena.  When you come out you see the final rankings.  I came in 7th out of 41!  They also give you a print out at the front desk of all four rounds and how you did.  It tells you how many hits you got, how many hits you took, how many times you got the 500 marker, your overall ranking and which team won.  On Friday nights they offer all you can play Laser Tag in Woburn for $22.
Overall we liked the Laser Tag game.  Even Lauren who sometimes gets afraid in these areas had a good time.  I personally had a blast!
There is also the Adrenaline Zone.  There are three obstacle type inflatable structures for kids to play in.  When you check in you are given a wrist band for the kids to go in this area.   I had a few complaints about this area.  There were no storage area for shoes so the kids were just taking their shoes off and leaving them as you walked in to the area.  It was quite dangerous.  Also there was no employees monitoring this area.  I saw several kids in there without socks.  
The maximum age for this are is 10 years old and socks are required.  It is $9.50 for kids 3-10 and $6 for 2 and under.  
Kids can spend an unlimited amount of time in there.
The funny thing is we were just watching American Ninja Warrior so the kids were pretending that is what they were doing as they were climbing.  Here they are racing each other.
They loved sliding down the slides.
Evan having fun.
Lauren being silly.
Their favorite was the first one as you enter the area.
Here is Lauren inside.
Here is a view inside.
Here are the kids in the top area of this one.
Here is inside of another one.  
They also have an arcade area.  You can buy 100 tokens for $20.  A lot of the games were 3 tokens to play.  Some are just one token.
Here is the prize area.
They also have many birthday party options and some tables especially for parties.  You can see more information here on special events at Laser Craze.
 I like their sign in this area.  It sounds like my house.
 There is also a cafe with pizza, slushy drinks, and drinks.  The prices were reasonable with a whole pizza for $13 and a slice of cheese pizza for only $2.  Water was only $1.50.  You are not allowed to bring in outside food.  There is also free Wi-Fi.  Just look for the sign with the password in the little seating area next to the cafe.
 It is in a location that you would not pass by easily.  It is in an office park on the back side of a building but worth the trip.  They also have a site in North Andover.
What a ton of fun for the whole family!  The best part, this is what your kids look like when they are done, tired!
Check them out online:  http://www.lasercraze.us/
Disclosure:  I received passes for my family to play Laser Tag and go to the Adrenaline Zone.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.