Educational Robot Toy – Science Gift Idea!

My daughter saw this solar robot kit in our Hearthsong catalog, and she is hoping Santa will bring it for Christmas. Ever since she saw the movie Wall-E, she’s wanted her own robot!

This one is a solar powered robot that can be configured into 14 different shapes. It includes parts that allow it to move on land and/or water. And it does bear somewhat of a resemblance to Wall-E! It’s $31.98 at HearthSong.

From the description:

Our solar-powered pal can assume 14 different modes, ranging from comical to educational, including a wagging-tail dog, running beetle, walking crab, surfer, and speedster. Yet it asks only for direct sunlight.

Here’s a video that shows how the robot works.

I’m kind of hoping Santa brings this robot for my daughter for Christmas. And maybe an extra one for me!

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Free iTunes Holiday Album is a Pleaser!

Click for free iTunes Holiday Sampler album
Click for free iTunes Holiday Sampler album

Happy Holidays to you from me! I wanted to pass along a little gem of a freebie today, because it’s really a super deal! I discovered this when I checked out the iTunes music store this morning. Free music!

iTunes has been giving away a free single per week for quite a while, usually of a new artist (someone you’ve probably never heard of). But this Holiday Sampler album is full of songs you actually want to listen to, sung by artists whose names you recognize!

From Christmas classics (Amy Grant’s “O Come All Ye Faithful” and David Archuleta’s “The First Noel”) to holiday pop (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” by Weezer?!) and even some humor (“Another Christmas Song” by Stephen Colbert), this is a perfect addition to your holiday library. And it’s free!

Thanks, iTunes. What a sweet Christmas surprise. 🙂

Get the album here: iTunes FREE Holiday Album

Here’s the full song list:

  1. O Come All Ye Faithful (Amy Grant)
  2. The First Noel (David Archuleta)
  3. Silent Night (Sarah McLachlan)
  4. Carol of the Bells / Jingle Bells (Barry Manilow )
  5. It Snowed (Meaghan Smith)
  6. Above the Northern Lights (Mannheim Steamroller)
  7. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Lady Antebellum)
  8. We Three Kings (Toby Keith)
  9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Rascal Flatts)
  10. Silent Night (Wynonna)
  11. Twelve Days of Christmas (Mexicani Marimba Band)
  12. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Weezer)
  13. A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss) (Glasvegas)
  14. Another Christmas Song (Stephen Colbert)
  15. Greensleeves (Vince Guaraldi Trio)
  16. Dream a Dream (Charlotte Church)
  17. The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Act 2: Character Dances (Divertissement) – Dance of the Reed Pipes (Kirov Orchestra & Valery Gergiev)
  18. Angels We Have Heard On High (Aretha Franklin)
  19. O Holy Night (Musiq Soulchild)
  20. Auld Lange Syne (The Lonesome Travelers)

Oh, and once you download the album, you’ll also have access to some iTunes LP features, including song lyrics, artist information and photos, as well as a pretty falling-snow background while you listen to the music. Sweet as sugarplums!

Here’s my elf dance. Let’s see yours!

You’ve probably seen the OfficeMax commercials for Elf Yourself. It’s a web application that lets you upload your own photo, crop it to fit an elf hat, and then watch yourself do an elf dance with up to three of your friends. Silly, but so fun! I did one with my own face first, and then I made one with my kids (above). Aren’t they cute?!

I’ve heard that people without high speed connections aren’t able to enjoy the show, so keep that in mind. You can see my elf dance here, or make your own. [Edit: Sorry, but the ElfYourself service must have been just for the holidays. It doesn’t work anymore, but it was fun while it lasted!]

Fudgey Carrie and Matthew "Hannah Montana" – meeting Hubby’s coworkers

We went to my husband’s annual company Christmas party on Friday. This was the second one I’ve been to, having attend last year’s party for the first time. And since I have a hard time even remembering the names of my own children at times, I am pretty hopeless when it comes to putting names to the faces of people I only see once a year.

One thing I do to make it easier to remember names is to make them into funny nicknames or phrases. For example, here are some of the lovely people I met this year (real names have been changed):

“Fudgey” Carrie: The lady whose husband offered to marry me after sampling the fudge I sent into the office with Hubby

Matthew “Hannah Montana”: The SuperDad who took his daughter to the Hannah Montana concert, and is apparently scarred for life

Lizzie “Spanx”: The coworker who decided she loved the homemade treats I sent in so much, that she bought Spanx for the party so she could continue to indulge during the week

Don “The Arguer”: The one who drives his secretary crazy by trying to reinvent the wheel, even though she’s been doing this for 30 years already

The party was a blast, by the way, and the people were just as fun as their names imply. Happy Holidays to all!

Geek Mom: I think I have Wii elbow!

My husband surprised me with the news a few months ago. “Honey, I got a Wii! I wasn’t looking for one, but I just happened to wander into the game store, and the guy said they had just got the shipment, and they hadn’t even unpacked them yet. They’re really hard to find, so I was lucky to find one, and I had to get it, and we can give it to the kids for Christmas…” That was back in September.

We love video games, and it’s not that I didn’t want a Wii. It’s just that I don’t need another device that encourages me to waste more time playing games. I know that once the Wii is unwrapped and installed, there will be almost no chance of turning it off. The kids will want to play it all the time. And worse yet, I will want to play it all the time! And I’ll have to take turns!

So Hubby brought it home, and we tried it out (after the kids were asleep). We played tennis, golf, bowling, baseball, even boxing! It was awesome! I lost every challenge except for boxing. I don’t know what got into me, but I turned into a crazy manic Wii punching machine, and somehow I knocked him out. I was sweating and out of breath, but I won!

I think I’m developing “Wii elbow.”

We put it back in the box, and we’re hiding it under the bed until Christmas. Don’t tell the kids!