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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

It's nearly Halloween and little Brandon picked up a perfect-sized pumpkin from his pumpkin patch school field trip. Brandon designed his jack-o-lantern by drawing on paper first. Then he drew his final design on the pumpkin and I helped him cut out the shapes. I guess he wanted a cat face for his jack-o-lantern. Cute!

Here are a some photos of him digging out the pumpkin "goo"...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Disney "Big Hero 6" XPRIZE Challenge Winners

XPRIZE, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Disney Corporate Citizenship announced the winners of the DISNEY BIG HERO 6 – XPRIZE CHALLENGE today. Much like the characters in Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” people between the ages of 8 and 17 were asked to harness their creativity and come up with innovative ideas to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges using science, technology, engineering, art and/or mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.).

Hundreds of videos were submitted and narrowed down to 20 finalists. From there, 6 winners were selected based on a combination of public voting and the scores from a panel of judges: Dr. Ed Catmull, President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios; Gwynne Shotwell, president and CEO of SpaceX; Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur, and founder of FIRST ®; Anousheh Ansari, co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems (and the first female private space explorer); and Jon Snoddy, VP, Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development.

The real-life “Big Hero 6” is comprised of:

Kamran Ansari, age 9, of Tustin, California, devised a product packaging rating system in order to educate consumers on the wastefulness of a product’s packaging. His system enables the consumer to make environmentally conscious decisions and reduce their carbon footprint.

Jasmyne Mendoza, age 11, of Seattle, Washington, developed a solution to world hunger by constructing a biosphere where salt water from our oceans is evaporated and distilled into clean drinking water.

Dominick Quaye, age 12, of San Leandro, California, proposed a way to generate clean energy through the use of a high-altitude power generator held in place by massive weather balloons.

Chase Lewis, age 15, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, invented a way to deliver emergency smoke masks to people trapped in burning buildings through the use of a football-shaped pod he designed and tested.

Carolyn Mennecke, age 17, of Rochester, Minnesota, proposed a more effective way to improve windshield visibility using ultraviolet light sensors to reduce the glare of the sun at dawn and dusk.

Kelsey Ann Murobayshi, age 17, of Honolulu, Hawaii, envisioned an innovative solution to safer and environmentally friendly transportation through the use of self-driving “pods”.

Said Catmull, "Watching the finalists’ submissions, I was so impressed by the creativity and passion in each of their videos. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of this judging panel. We look forward to hosting them at the Hollywood premiere of ‘Big Hero 6.’"

"At XPRIZE, we believe that innovation can come from anywhere and that the most effective way to address the world’s biggest problems is by tasking the public to come up with solutions," said Trish Halamandaris, senior vice president marketing & communications at XPRIZE. "The creativity and ingenuity of the submissions for this contest reinforce this belief and prove that these young people are not the innovators of tomorrow but rather the innovators of today."

The winners will travel to Los Angeles in November for three days of innovation and inspiration, including a private tour of Walt Disney Animation Studios, a meet-and-greet with the creative minds at Disney Imagineering, a special Visioneering™ experience at XPRIZE headquarters, and a walk down the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Disney’s Big Hero 6.

In addition, they’ll each be reimbursed for one (1) contestant registration for FIRST ® LEGO League for the 2014-2015 competition season and receive a Special littleBits® NASA Space Kit and cloudBit™ Starter Kit.

Supporting XPRIZE Partners include FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), littleBits Electronics and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

To view the winning videos, please visit


From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.” Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring breathtaking action with all the heart and humour audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”). The film hits theatres in 3D on Nov. 7, 2014. For more information, check out, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter:


Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, the $2.25M Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, and the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE. For more information, go to

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kids Academy Apps: Preschool & Kindergarten Learning Kids Games

Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Kids Games

This app is created to make fun more educational! The app goes beyond simply great graphics and beautiful music by engaging children to learn preschool basics through intriguing game play. Toddlers will start with easy tracing by collecting fireflies in a jar and will move gradually to tracing requiring more developed fine-motor skills.

The basic skills in this app are foundations for reading, writing and arithmetic operations. Appropriate hints are provided to support your children as they practice and build their skills.

MY THOUGHTS: Whenever my little and I are in a long line up or waiting for the doctor/dentist, we sit together to check out the app. It keeps kids entertained and they learn from the activities. Great educational app for my little one to learn especially math. Little Brandon is a whiz in math now. I'm impressed how much he learned.

ABCs Alphabet Phonics & Montessori Learn to Read

Learning to write has never been more fun! With Montessori Worksheets for Kids Free your kids will not only learn to write letters, but will also develop good handwriting skills! The app turns the learning process into what kids love the most - a game!

MY THOUGHTS:  I like how the kids get rewarded for their performance: 3 stars for successful task accomplishment at first or second attempt, 2 stars if they had three or four attempts at tracing and writing, and one star if they had more than five tries. Little Brandon still needs to learn to write words either all in lowercase or all in uppercase. He's mixing it together most of the time.

Bingo ABCs Alphabet Phonics Song with Farm Animals Cards

Cute interactions, a catchy tune, and simple lyrics of this sing along music book will entertain you and your kids. With a single app you can sing and record your singing in a Karaoke session, play mini games with farm animals cards, make up and record your own stories!


MY THOUGHTS:  Another fun FREE app I've downloaded for my iPhone and iPad. Little Brandon plays with this one at home or whenever we visit his grandparents. He loves to sing and great way for him to learn lyrics and sing it out by memory.

Disclosure:I am receiving compensation in exchange of my review in this post. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Beautiful Way to Support a Beautiful Place: Vancouver was the First Stop on the "Make a Kid Smile" Tour

Joining forces to bring smiles to the day, members of the Kidoodle.TV team met up with the team at Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon to present 80 Samsung Galaxy 3 tablets, 80 Kidoodle.TV subscriptions and a plethora of Hasbro toys to the new House!

The Crist Family Foundation, Kidoodle.TV and Hasbro, Inc. donated tablets, annual Kidoodle.TV subscriptions and a heap of toys to Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon!

CEO Richard Pass welcoming Kidoodle.TV’s Garry Bunkowsky

The new premises opened in July of 2014 and is able to accommodate up to 73 families at any given time, making it the 5th largest House in the world! Designed to be a home-away-from home for children requiring medical treatment at BC Children’s Hospital and their families, the House provides respite for families who are undergoing a significant amount of emotional and
financial stress.

Tablets donated by Tom Crist and his family through the Crist Family Foundation were loaded up with Kidoodle.TV subscriptions and will stay with each room for residents to use, with a few extras to float around the House. The children also received a toy of their choice, courtesy of Hasbro, much to their delight.

"The team was excited to welcome Garry Bunkowsky and Neil Gruninger from Kidoodle.TV, who kicked off the “Make a Kid Smile” campaign here at the House!" said Richard Pass, CEO of Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and Yukon. "On behalf of the volunteers, staff and the wonderful families we serve at RMH BC, I’d like to thank Garry and his team at Kidoodle.TV, to Hasbro, and to the Crist Family Foundation for this amazing and generous donation."

The trio of sponsors were pleased to have the opportunity to work with Ronald McDonald House to make the day just a little bit brighter for kids and families undergoing a difficult time. Mike Lowe, President, A Parent Media Co. Inc. (“APMC”) and founder of Kidoodle.TV said, "Ronald McDonald House and Kidoodle.TV are both safe places for children, and it is an honor to work with the Crist Family Foundation, Hasbro and the RMH team to bring smiles to these children and their families."

Recently making a multi-million dollar personal investment in Kidoodle.TV’s parent company, APMC, with his charitable foundation the intended beneficiary, Tom Crist and his family continue to work with Kidoodle.TV to find ways to reach out and better the lives of children and families. "To see what these kids and families go through is humbling and heart wrenching," said Crist. "We want to find ways to help."

Vancouver was the first stop of 12 on the Make a Kid Smile tour across Canada.

Follow along with hashtag #kidsmile and join in the national Ronald McDonald House Charities conversation with #forRMHC.

For more information on how you can get involved with and support Ronald McDonald House in British Columbia, visit

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Healthy Snacks for Kids: Baked Sweet Potato Chips

These are really easy to make. All you have to do is wash the sweet potatoes, slice them thinly, add oil, salt & pepper, and bake for about 15 minutes. The thinner the slices, the faster they will bake. These make great snacks for kids who like something crunchy. You can slice up any vegetables and make them into all-natural chips. For example, you can use carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, kale, spinach, etc.

For this recipe, we made Baked Sweet Potato Chips. Little Brandon loves helping me and wanted to learn how to make these.


4 medium sweet potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.
  3. Slice the potatoes as thin as possible.
  4. Place the sweet potato slices into a medium sized bowl, and mix in the olive oil. Keep mixing until the slices are evenly coated.
  5. Spread out the sweet potato slices on a baking sheet and make sure non of them are overlapping each other.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the slice start to curl upwards and the surface of each chip is dry to the touch.

Little Brandon also helped with layering the lasagna we made that same evening. Here is the link to the Lasagna Recipe.

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