Friday, March 30, 2012

3/30/12: Easter Egg Hunt Fun!

As I said in my earlier Easter Roundup Post, there are lots of fun Easter activities going on for the family.  We went to our first Easter Egg Hunt last night and the kids had a great time!
 This one was at Simonds Park so the kids got to play at the playground for a bit after.  Here is Lauren making a run for the eggs.  They separated the kids by age.  Lauren is only a few short weeks away from 5 so I put her with the 5-7 year olds to keep her and Evan together.
 Now Evan and Lauren are comparing what they got.
 Showing me their eggs.  It was a bit chilly but it didn't ruin the fun.  Too bad it wasn't last week when we had the warm weather.
 They wanted to say Bye to the Easter Bunny.  I love how Lauren is holding his hand.
Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3/29/12: Louie Lobster Claw Catcher Melissa & Doug Pool Toy Review

Melissa & Doug is a brand we trust in our house.  We have many of their pretend toys, puzzles, arts and crafts and my kids love them.  When I got to see some of the new toys they were coming out with at Toy Fair New York I was very excited to see a pool toy line.  When I received the Louie Lobster Claw Catcher Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Pool Toy I knew that living in New England it would be a while before we would be going in the pool but figured my kids would love playing with it in the bath.  So the kids put on their bathing suits and headed to the bath tub to try it out.
This super cute Lobster has a handle to squeeze which makes his claws close together and comes with three fishy sinkers to grab.  The nice thing though is that the claws are big enough that you could use many other additional toys with it for kids to pick up.  Evan loved getting the little fish and jelly fish with the lobster's claw. 
 The toy was so easy for both of them to use which is always key. 
 Lauren trying it out.
 Having so much fun with it.
 Lauren very excited when she gets one.  She was so funny to watch as she would talk to the little fish when she was trying to catch them.
 Good job Lauren!
 So exciting!
Here is some video of the kids playing with it:

Some games that are suggested from the Melissa and Doug Website:
- Try to pick up one fish at a time from the bottom of the pool, and carry it to the edge of the pool using only the Claw Catcher. (No hands!)
-  Try picking up one fish first. Then try catching two fish at a time. Final challenge: Pick up all three fish in the same try, and carry them up to the edge of the pool in the Claw Catcher.
-  Have a friend drop a fish into the water. Try to catch it with your Claw Catcher before it reaches the bottom.
-  Use the bottom claw to scoop up water, with the Claw Catcher above the pool and on its side to keep the water inside. With the claws closed, quickly flip over the Claw Catcher so the water drops into the opposite claw. Check to see how much water is left. Keep closing and flipping the claws until all the water has fallen out. You get one point for every flip!
-  Plus it is not just for water play, in the house, use the Claw Catcher to grab toys: Can you pick up a block? A puzzle piece? Who can pick up the smallest object?
Disclosure:  I received this product for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3/28/12: Alvin and The Chipmunks Chipwrecked Review and Concert Footage

Who doesn't love Alvin and the Chipmunks?  I loved them when I was a kid and now my kids love them too.  Their cute squeaky voices and the hi jinks that Alvin gets them into are always such fun to watch.  Recently I was able to review Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. 
You can also refer back to my review of the Wii Game that goes along with this movie here.  The DVD/Blu-ray or Wii Game would be a great Easter Basket gift.
All Photos Credited: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages
What a super cute movie where the Chipmunks and the Chipettes reunite just became available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on March 27th.  My kids loved this film and got such a kick out of the Chipmunks It is also cool that being Chipwrecked on an island together.  Lauren Gottlieb from So You Think You Can Dance is in the movie too.  Being a dancer and loving that show I love to see those young talented dancers being featured.  I remember Hawk being in the last Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.
I also have some cool exclusive footage for you from the Concert for the Blu-ray release of "Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked' from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment at The El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, CA that happened Monday, March 26th.  In Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Honor Society performed "You Really Got Me" during the opening scene with the film's main characters.  Here they are with the Chipmunks.
Here is some video from the concert:
More about the movie:
Everyone’s favorite chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore, and their female companions, The Chipettes, have the time of their lives during a family vacation they’ll never forget in ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED, debuting on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on March 27 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.The hilarious live-action comedy will also be available as an exciting “Island Adventure” edition on Blu-ray and 2-Disc DVD, filled with tons of fun for the whole family to enjoy just in time for Easter. 
The Chipmunks, Chipettes and their caretaker Dave Sevelle (Jason Lee; “My Name is Earl”) embark on a trip of a lifetime aboard the Carnival Dream cruise ship. Seeking fun and excitement, the Chipmunks turn the luxury cruise liner into their own personal playground. But the ultimate vacation quickly becomes a disaster when the Chipmunks, Dave and Carnival cruise pelican mascot, who turns out to be the chipmunks’ old manager, Ian Hawke (David Cross; Megamind), accidentally fall overboard and find themselves ‘Chipwrecked’ on a remote island. Stuck in an unfamiliar territory, the six furry castaways are separated from Dave and must figure out a way to survive on their own for the first time in their lives.

Written and produced by husband and wife duo Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED features a star-studded voice cast with Justin Long (Dodgeball) as Alvin, Mathew Gray Gubler (“Criminal Minds”) as Simon, Jesse McCartney (Horton Hears a Who!) as Theodore, Christina Applegate (“Up All Night) as Brittany, Anna Faris (What’s Your Number?) as Jeanette, and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”) as Eleanor.
Alvin and the Chipmunks has received several awards including five Grammy Awards®, two Kids Choice Awards®, and an American Music Awards®, among others.
Disclosure:  I received this DVD for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3/27/12: GymStreet Session 4 With a Show at the End

GymStreet USA has Session 4 starting up soon.  The session runs from April 2nd to June 11th and at the end is the GymStreet Show
Lauren has been taking Gymnastics at GymStreet USA for 3 1/2 years now and has been on pre-team for two years.  I have seen such an improvement and she loves showing me flips and cartwheels all around the house.  The other day she even wanted to play Twister because she told me she could stretch out her muscles and get her splits further down.  You can check out all of my posts here.
 Check out the latest video of GymStreet and all the cool things they have there.
f you are looking for your kids to get some great exercise and learn a lot of great skills there is plenty of time to sign them up. 
Registration is always OPEN. Sign up anytime during the session. You can even try out a No-Obligation Trial Class. Call today to register: 978-694-9678
What drew me to GymStreet was the amount of options they had in addition to the flexibility of so many class times. There are so many options to choose from including:
Gymnastics for Girls and Boys – All Ages, Advanced and Recreational, Adaptive
Parent and Me - Ages 12 – 36 months which Lauren started out in
Tumble Cheer Programs – Recreational, Advanced and 2hr Open Cheer Tumble
Dance – Center for Performing Arts Dance Studio - Hip Hop and Gymnastics/Hip Hop COMBO
Martial Arts – Little Leopards, Beginner and Advanced
Sports Conditioning – 1 hour program
And even some classes for Mom/Dad:
Adult Gymnastics and Aerobics for Adults – Boot Camp, Cardio Kick Boxing, Cycling, Mat Pilates, Muscle Conditioning, Zumba and Tone
Come join us and watch your kids have a great time.
GymStreet USA (978-694-9678)
One Jewel Drive Unit 1R Wilmington MA  01887 (Entrance is on Route 38)
Disclosure: I receive a free month of my daughter's Gymnastics in exchange for posts for GymStreet USA.

Monday, March 26, 2012

3/26/12: Pathwords Jr. by ThinkFun Review

We are always looking for creative ways to help my son learn.  What better way than to combine it with something he already likes to do?  Play Games!  Well that is exactly what PathWords Jr. from ThinkFun is. 
I got to meet them briefly at Toy Fair and had the joy of being able to have my kids try out one of their games.  The whole premise of the PathWords Jr. game to to use the Tetris like style pieces to find the words you are given.  On some pages of the book they will tell you the words, on others they will just have a picture and you will need to sound out the word and spell it, and on others they had sounds that the pictures would make.  This game was right up my son's alley and he was having a fun time switching off one page for him and one for his sister.
 The game is intended for 6 and up, however my daughter is 4 (almost 5) and could play.  Sometimes she would count the letters of the word and that would help her pick the right tile to find the word, but she was doing great figuring it out.
 She particularly liked this one that she did because she told me it looked like a Giraffe when done.
Evan was really getting in to it.  There are beginner, intermediate and advanced pages so as he got used to it we could move on to more advanced ones.  The thing that is great is that he had to sound out the words to find them as not all are spelled out for you.  In fact some pages don't even have the words on them, but don't worry there is a hint/solutions book if your child gets stuck so you can help them.
Lauren was able to complete all the puzzles she had.  Plus big brother Evan was happy to help as needed.
Here is an example to see one where they gave you pictures of animals and you needed to figure out what they say and spell it out.
I love how it is a great on the road toy also as all the tiles fit in to the case nicely.  I can envision it working out well when we take our road trip to North Carolina this year.
Feel free to check out ThinkFun on Twitter: @ThinkFun or on Facebook here.
To understand more about the game, here is a nice introductory video to PathWords Jr. by ThinkFun.
Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3/24/12: Easter Roundup of Fun Activities in MA and NH

Well it is almost Easter so I thought I would provide you with a local roundup of events happening in celebration of Easter providing fun for the whole family.  Always check the websites highlighted here before heading out in case they change times/days.
Breakfast With The Easter Bunny - Shawsheen Valley High School, Billerica, MA - April 1 8:30 AM-12:00 PM
Breakfast with Easter Bunny includes a breakfast of eggs and pancakes, music, face painting, crafts, hat parade and an egg hunt. Bring your camera to take a picture with the Easter Bunny. This annual event is one families are sure to enjoy. Tickets purchased at the door only
TICKETS:  $5.00 per person

We go every year, you can check out my posts here.
Easter Egg Hunt - Simonds Park, Burlington, MA  Thursday, March 29 (Inclement weather date: Tuesday, April 3), 5:00 pm, No fee, Simonds Park

The Easter Bunny has made a special trip to Burlington to hide some eggs for Easter. This year, the Easter Bunny has hidden chocolate eggs and some “special eggs” throughout Simonds Park. Children will be split into age-appropriate areas. Areas may not be near one another, please bring one person for each child. The Easter Bunny will be on hand for photos, so bring your camera. The Easter Egg Hunt is open for all Burlington residents.

Bunny Bonanzoo at the Stone Zoo - Stoneham, MA  April 7th (rain or shine) 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
WHAT: Hop on down the bunny trail to Stone Zoo where an Easter celebration awaits! Children’s activities include scavenger hunts, crafts, opportunities to meet the zookeepers and other fun surprises. While at the Zoo, families can visit with a special guest, the Easter Bunny, who will be available for photographs. Guests may take photos with the Easter Bunny with their own camera. The suggested photo donation is $5.00. All proceeds benefit Stone Zoo.
TICKETS: Stone Zoo admission: Adults, $13.00; Seniors, $11:00; Children 2-12, $9.00; Children under 2 are free
Charmingfare Farm Egg-Citing Egg Hunt - Candia, NH March 31st, April 1st and 7th11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Each child should bring one egg carton to fill with 12 eggs. Kids can have fun decorating their carton at home. A special egg hunt area will be set-up at the farm to allow children (ages 2 to 12 only) to search for the colorful eggs. Each egg contains candy or a small gift.
Each child will have time to hunt and fill their carton. Children can take home the eggs they have found.
The Tractor Train Ride will travel to the “Secret Egg-Stra Egg” giveaway location. Each child will receive one special prize egg.
TICKETS: There is no additional fee to participate in the Egg Hunt as long as you have paid the normal admission fee to enter the zoo.  $17.00 per person (child or adult)  Children 1yr. and under FREE
Easter Cruise on the Spirit of Boston - I already posted about it, check it out here.
Our local YMCA has an Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny.  Check out if your YMCA has it too.
Whatever you do make sure you HOP to it!
But make sure to stop and smell the flowers along the way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

3/23/12: Win Tickets to Jack Hanna's Into the Wild LIVE! at the Hanover Theatre

CONTEST CLOSED:  Congratulations to Susan W. for winning the tickets!
Jack Hanna's Into the Wild LIVE! is coming to the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA on April 22nd at 2:00 pm and you can win 4 tickets to the show here.
Description of the Show:
Emmy Award winning TV host and lifelong animal advocate, Jack Hanna brings the jungle to Worcester this spring. Sit back and enjoy this awe-inspiring program as you learn about amazing animal species and the wild adventures of Jack Hanna!

Full ticket prices are $27 and $32, depending on seating location.
Here is a preview:

Here is how to enter to win 4 tickets to the show::
1 entry for each item:
Mandatory Entry:
- What animal would you like to see in the show? (comment section at the bottom). Note if you are logging in anonymously please include your email so I can contact you. Also if you have problems, just Preview the comment and it should work. Make sure you see comment posted.

Additional Entries:
- Have your child color the coloring sheet here and send me a picture or scan of their colored sheet at
- Like Evan and Lauren's Cool Blog on Facebook and comment here that you did.
- Visit the Hanover Theatre Website and then comment here on other shows that you would like to go to.
- Subscribe to Evan and Lauren's Cool Blog (and verify the subscription to be valid) and leave a separate comment that you did.
- Subscribe via Google Friend Connect to Evan and Lauren's Cool Blog (on the Right hand side)
- Already a subscriber (thank you) then leave a comment stating you are
- Share this link on your Facebook page and leave a comment here stating you did.
- Follow me on Twitter @galiberti If you already follow me, just leave a comment here that you are a Follower.
- Follow the Hanover Theatre on Twitter @HanoverTheatre and leave a comment here that you are a follower. 
- Tweet this Giveaway (you can do this daily): Win 4 tickets to Jack Hanna's Live Show at the Hanover Theatre from @galiberti. @JungleJackHanna #Giveaway
Contest closes Friday, April 6th 25th, 2012.
Winner will be chosen by and their tickets will be at Will Call at the Theatre on the day of the show.
Disclosure: I received a family four pack of tickets for the show to promote it. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3/22/12: ecoSTORE USA Body Wash and Cleaner Product Review

I suffer from both eczema and allergies to scents and cleaners so I am always looking for different products that won't make me sneeze, and have runny eyes when I use them.  I had the chance to try the EcoStore's products and was pleasantly surprised.  Their products are 100% Plant-Based and proudly display the "No nasty chemicals™" message. ecoSTORE's goal as a company is to "provide the best ecological products to help protect your health by minimizing exposure to harmful chemicals."  They have Bath & Body, Household, Baby, Haircare, and Pet products, you can check them all out here.  
I used the Rose & Cardamon Body Wash and was happy to see that it didn't have an overpowering smell when using it.  I had no adverse reaction after using them and my skin felt great after.  I knew I would be happy with it since it is designed to be used on sensitive skin.  When I was a kid my skin would react to every soap and body wash.  It was so bad that I could only use a soap called Basis.  It is so wonderful to be able to use this product and not worry that it will spark my eczema or my allergic reactions.  One thing I must point out is that it is more of a liquid than a gel so just be aware of that when pouring it out.  also thought the price was great at $4.75.
I used the All Purpose Cleaner in my bathroom and again was so pleased that it actually smelled nice!  Usually after I clean I am sneezing my head off.  Plus it can be used in so many places - the kitchen, bathroom, or most other household surfaces.  I really enjoyed using it and thought it did a great job cleaning.  Plus it is only $3.95!
Disclosure:  I received these ecoSTORE products for review purposes.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

3/22/12: Wholesale Keychains I Love

What Mom doesn't love to take pictures of her kid, and then of course show them off to all of your friends.  Gone are the days of carrying around a wallet with pictures in it since everything is electronic.  Why not show off all of your beautiful pictures on a digital keychain?  I was able to receive a lovely one from!  This Digital Photo Keychain has a 1.5 inch 128x128 LCD display and has a viewing stand so I can display it while at work.  It even stores up to 99 pictures!  That is a lot more than a lot that I have seen and it is only $14.99!  The prices are excellent on all of their keychains.  I love it, it is adorable, pink, and stores all my favorite photos. 
 Here it is in it's charging/viewing stand.  (Note that picture is not my family).  It is so easy to use, just plug it in select the pictures you want from the browsing window.
 Plus it is personalized!  I love this, having the name Gilda growing up they never had anything with my name on it.  This allows me to personalize it with my own name.
 I also love the New England Patriots!  It was a sad loss for the Super Bowl but I will always be a fan.  Here is a beautiful Patriots keychain I got and I love the personalization that I could pick.  I love the weight of it.  Plus it is only $9.99.
 I love this, if you can't see it says Patriots #1 Fan Gilda. 
Disclosure:  I received these keychains in exchange for review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.