For All the Awesome Kidz in Your Life

You guys remember last year when I amazed you with the tale of my 13-year-old nephew, Drew, who can solve the Rubik’s Cube super-fast? And is in fact, the stinking WORLD CHAMPION on the Pyraminx – Rubik’s pyramid-shaped puzzle?  Well, he’s 14 now and he’s ready to break some more Rubik’s records at the Rubik’s U.S. Nationals in Jersey City, New Jersey in just over a week. Of course, being a dedicated FanAunt, I am super proud of him! So proud, in fact, that awhile back I started helping him look for a sponsor he could work with to help fund his trip to Nationals – New Jersey is not exactly in close proximity to Ohio, right? Like every “sport”, competitive cubing has its price. And Drew has a lot to offer -he’s a rather popular cuber with a great YouTube following. And who could resist this face, really?

Photo credit: Aaron James
Photo credit: Aaron James

Shortly before I began reaching out to potential sponsors for Drew, I heard about a new video review site for kids called I didn’t dig deep to see what they were all about until a friend I met at iRetreat and I were talking and she suggested they might be a good fit for Drew – and a major light bulb went off – why hadn’t I thought of this before?

Long story short, in less than a week, KidzVuz agreed to sponsor Drew for his trip to the Rubik’s US Nationals, and I began learning about this truly awesome site. It is SO much fun for kids – Joshua is well and truly addicted. I am excited to tell you about KidzVuz. But first, A LOGO!

kidzvuz logo

KidzVuz is a site that is video reviews by kids, for kids age 6-14. It is 100% moderated, so it’s safe and bully-free. Kids can make video reviews of things they love AND watch other kids’ reviews to get their opinions on things, too! I love it because it’s just a very positive kid community – with complete adult moderation – so kids can express themselves safely and really let their true colors show. So far Joshua and Sophie LOVE KidzVuz – I haven’t made Sophie an account to make videos yet, she’s mostly interested in watching them. But Joshua, that boy is my star reviewer. He LOVES making them (he had uploaded three so far and he has oh, I don’t know about ELEVENTY BILLION on my iPad that I haven’t gotten uploaded yet because I cannot keep up with him!!) If you want to check out his major cuteness and his opinions on Mario Kart 8, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Super Smash Bros. check out his channel! Notice he doesn’t use his real name – that’s not allowed. It’s so very safe!

Joshua Kidz Vuz screen shot

(Side note: whenever I watch his videos I grin the entire time. He’s SO CUTE! He’s a novice at this but I think he is going to make some really awesome video reviews in the coming weeks!)

I can’t tell you how much I love KidzVuz so far. Of course, any business that had the wisdom to see the value in supporting Drew in his Rubik’s dreams already had some credit with me – but actually using the site has been fantastic for my kids and me this week. I’ve seen personality come out of Joshua that I did not know was in there – and I LOVE it! He is so confident in front of the webcam in a way that he’s not in front people. I love it so much that I texted this to Emily a couple days ago:

emily text
(because they are currently on vacation)

And here’s another great thing about KidzVuz: back when Drew was 9 years old and bought his first Rubik’s Cube, he turned to the internet to learn how to solve it. But of course, with HEAVY supervision from his parents. Because kids can’t just search the internet, yo. In case you hadn’t heard, it is NOT SAFE. Now, just a few short years later, kids have an entirely safe site where they can go to learn how to play their favorite video game, watch a tutorial on how to upcycle a t-shirt, or find a sweet hack for Minecraft. SAFE!! How awesome is that? It’s not just awesome, the value is really priceless. On another yet really important note, I have loved working with the women behind KidzVuz, Rebecca and Nancy, to coordinate Drew’s sponsorship. You guys, the people behind this company are awesome people and they care about your kids.

And thanks to Drew, motivated kids an also go on KidzVuz to learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube – he made three very detailed 10-minute tutorials in a series. If you’ve got an aspiring cuber on your hands, he or she just needs to watch each video a few times. That’s how Drew learned to cube – tutorials and tons and tons of practice! You can check out his videos here on his KidzVuz channel.

Drew Kidz Vuz screenshot

Here, Drew is demonstrating a fast solve of the Rubik’s Cube – 9.71 seconds. You know, as you do.

I am SO excited for Drew to have a great competition at the US Nationals August 1-3! His goals is to retain his #1 spot on the Pyraminx and hopefully break the World Record for the Pyraminx as well as solve the “regular” Rubik’s Cube in under 9 seconds. I will of course, be keeping you posted on his progress. By SCREAMING ABOUT IT LOUDLY ON THE INTERNET!

Thanks KidzVuz for sponsoring Drew and for ALL you to do ensure our kids have a safe, fun, video review site to call their own.

Do your kids like rock out in front of a web cam? Get over to KidzVuz and sign them the heck up!!

Post to Twitter

Do you Chromecast? {+ a giveaway!!}

The product for this review was supplied to me by Staples. All opinions are my own. 

google chromecast

Normally I am not too into “gadgets” – I leave the technological toys to my husband. But when I heard about Google Chromecast, I was intrigued.  Streaming media from my phone to my TV? Not having to search for the remote when I want to turn on Netflix or Pandora? Wee-hoo! I mean, I always have my phone on me, so that’s pretty convenient. Still, I am generally not very adept at using anything gadget-y, so I was worried I’d have a hard time figuring the Chromecast out. However, it is SUPER easy to use. You just plug it into the HDMI port on your TV, like so:

chromecast plugged in tv

And then open up any of your apps that stream media – Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, YouTube, etc. and look for the Chromecast symbol.

pandora chromecast

Then ya tap on the little Chromecast symbol and your smartphone or tablet asks you want to play the show or music you’ve selected on your device or on your TV (which will be named whatever you choose to name your Chromecast. My husband chose to name ours “rapson2000”.) Choose your Chromecast  and VOILA – your show is playing on the big screen! It’s toooo cool! Thanks to the magic of wi-fi, this easy-to-use, convenient technology communicates with your phone/tablet and your TV. Craaazy!

screen shot chromecast netflix

I am totally loving this thing. I was skeptical because I really didn’t fully understand what it did, or how easy it would be to use. Now, if Jonah wants to watch one of his favorite YouTube videos (I do let him watch short music videos or home videos of our family), all I have to do is send it from my phone to the TV instead of getting out my computer or letting him hold my phone. It’s so nice!

Want to try a Chromecast for yourself? Well, they are very reasonably priced at Staples…and Staples is also letting me give one away to one of you lucky readers! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment telling me what your favorite Chromecast feature is, or what you would use it for the most.

One winner will be chosen a week from today, Tuesday April 15th at 6 pm. Good luck and happy Chromecasting!

Post to Twitter

Slice = online shopping organized {+ iPad Mini giveaway!}

This post and giveaway is sponsored by the Slice app. All opinions about the app are my own.

slice logo

As I have mentioned like, 400 times, we have three family birthdays between November 16th and Christmas. That’s two kids and a husband I’m buying birthday presents for BEFORE Christmas and then of course, I’m also buying presents for everyone else in our family by Christmas. Oh, AND my mom and grandma give me money to buy all my kids presents from them, too. So I am buying a crap-ton of gifts this time of year! I buy so much stuff that I have to make a list of what I’ve ordered for whom (and whether it’s a birthday or a Christmas present) to make sure I’m not forgetting a gift or doubling up on one. It’s fairly mind-boggling. Like most savvy and super-busy mamas, I do most of my shopping online. All of this crazy birthmaspalooza shopping has led to piles and piles of packages in my living room, my bedroom closet, and my office closet! I vaguely take notice of what they are and then when the birthday comes around, I dig through the packages hoping that what I ordered has actually arrived. I’m such an organizational genius!

There's much my bedroom and office closets.
There’s much more…in my bedroom and office closets.

So when I got an email asking me to try out Slice, an app that is basically the perfect assistant for a busy online shopper, I knew I had to check it out. Before I agreed to work on a review and giveaway with Slice, I downloaded the app to make sure that it would really be a helpful tool. After all, there wouldn’t be a point if I thought the app was a dud.

Slice is the opposite of a dud! It IMMEDIATELY proved very useful! I signed up, connected it with the two different email accounts I use for online ordering, and WHAM – soon my Slice app had a neat list for me of what I’d ordered, whether it had been shipped or not, when it was expected, or if it had already been delivered. Oh, and uh…how much I’d spent (ouch!). It even reminded me about some things I forgot I’d ordered…oops! Let me show you (I wish I could show you my OWN screen shots, but then several people would know what I’d bought them for Christmas, soo…here are some from Slice):

iOS home view

(I find it humorous that there are only a couple items for this person! Mine currently says 6 Pending, 1 Shipped, 1 Delivered.)

Android purchase history

Slice not only tells you what packages are coming and when (you can even use the app to TRACK YOUR PACKAGES, how great it that?!?!?), it also tells you if there have been any price drops on the items you’ve ordered. A lot of retailers offer price adjustments but most customers are too busy to watch for them. Now, Slice will do that for you! So if that Furby Boom you ordered for your little hellraiser goes on sale a few days AFTER you buy it, Slice will send you a nice little notification so you can go get yourself a price adjustment!

iOS Price Drop detail

Another fab feature Slice offers is a recall notice. If something you’ve ordered is recalled for any reason, Slice will notify you via the app – so you’ll have a personal alert you can’t miss!

iOS Recall notification

Not only will you get an alert if an item you’ve purchased has been recalled, Slice will also provide you with a link to get the info you need from the Consumer Product Safety Commission Recalls Lists so you’ll have all the info you need at your fingertips immediately. Safety has never been more convenient!

If I haven’t already convinced you that you NEED Slice (and it’s available for iOS, Android, and the WEB – so you have no excuse not to get it!!), here’s a little incentive. If you sign up for Slice via this blog post, you’ll be entered to win an iPad Mini!!

That’s right, all you have to do to enter is sign up for Slice, then come back to this post to leave a comment telling me that you did so. When you comment you must comment with the email address that you used to sign up for Slice. My friends at Slice and I will be verifying that those email addresses are valid when we pick a winner! If your email isn’t signed up, ya can’t win.

Are you ready to have your online shopping be ultra-organized? Wouldn’t it be great to win an iPad Mini this time of year? Go for it! Simply sign up for Slice on the web, for iOs, or for Android then come back here and comment with your email address letting me know you did so.

One winner will be chosen at random from qualified email addresses on Monday, December 16 at 3 pm EST. This is valid in the US only, winners must reside in the US. GOOD LUCK!

Happy shopping and Slicing this holiday season!

Post to Twitter