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The Mommy's Guide To Events!

Mommy's Time Out: Reviews of Games, and events Just for Mom and Dad!


                                                     Mommy's Time Out
     I look forward to it every single day, the brief pause when my son is content (or even more rare, is napping) when my work is pretty much up to date, when all the emails have been sent, the dishes are done, the floors have been swept and Cindermama gets five brief moments to sit her tush down and do something that doesn't have to do with food, poop, or Windex- that's when mommy gets a time out and I am going to share with you how I  spend mine. What  games I play what products I use, where I go when I can actually get out-anything that relaxes me I am going to share with you. Welcome to The Mommy's Guide to -                                                                        Mommy's Time Out!





Disclaimer- This review will contain profanity sexual overtones and MURDER. Which makes perfect sense because it is about the Musical adaptation of Heather. You have been warned.

   


                                Heathers The MUSICAL

  The new musical stage adaptation of Daniel Water’s ICONIC dark comedy has hit the stage and we got to go see it!  If you haven’t seen Heathers—the original movie that was put out in 1989 and put Winona Ryder and Christian Slater on the map—it so happens to be streaming right now on Netflix.  It is a great movie, one of my favorites, and has a huge cult following so when I heard they had made a musical out of it I was so there!
    The play is written by Oliver Award winner and Tony Award nominee Laurence O’Keeffe who was the one behind putting Legally Blonde on the stage—but I guess we can forgive him and Emmy Award winner Kevin Murphy who did Reefer Madness and Desperate Housewives among other things.  The thing you have to remember is that it is NOT the movie that you watched until you knew every line by heart.  That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different, and sometimes we mistake different to be bad instead of taking it for what it actually is.  What I can say is that you should expect to hear all your favorite one liners that we true Heather fans know by heart and it was VERY.
     The role of Veronica was played by Barrett Wilbert Weed and she was just an outstanding performer with an amazing voice and sweet, sweet dance moves.  The Veronica portrayed in the play was a bit softer than the one on screen, but with Weed I didn’t mind so much.  She delivered her iconic lines with a sardonic tone that won me over in the end and performed flawlessly hitting every cue, every key and every kick with an oomph of a true performer.  Veronica’s score of Dead Girl Walking was an instant classic with me and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.   Weed did an AMAZING job of belting out the tune that I felt was one of the most “Heather” like songs in the whole show.  When she is essentially kicked out of the Heathers group Veronica knows she only has 30 hours until her social life is dead, and climbs into the dark, deep and brooding JD’s bedroom and breaks out into song. With lines like “I decided I must ride you until I break you…I am hot and pissed and on the pill…I am a dead girl walking” how could this NOT be an instant classic is the only question I held at the end.  This song is then reprised at the end of the show when her and JD have their showoff and was just as fitting there as it was the first time they played it.
     JD is played by Ryan McCartan and unfortunately I have to say they missed the mark with the casting. Although super talented with amazing facial expressions, voice and dancing abilities, I feel like he was too light and airy to be the deep and essentially insane boyfriend of Veronica.  Although written to be lighter than the original Christian Slater version of JD, I felt that McCartan’s version was just TOO light with none of Weed’s effective tone that kept you in the Heathers’ World.  For me he was off the mark and I feel he would be better off playing in the chorus than as our beloved JD.  When I found out that he is on Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddie I wasn’t surprised. He will need to ditch the Disney and bring on a little more dark with this character.   What did surprise me was when he performed “Yo Girl/ Meant to be Yours” with Veronica and Ensemble.  He belted out a twisted tune with such perfect mix of insanity, emotion and sex appeal that if he carried THAT throughout his performance he would be perfect for the role. 
     Most of the songs really did a great job of holding onto the essence of the film while giving it that semi- slapstick lighter feel to it.  They even turned famous lines into outright ballads with “My Dead Gay Son” performed by Anthony Crivello and Daniel Cooney who played the two football players  fatheres that “killed themselves because they were both Gay and in love", and “Our Love is God” which was a love ballad performed by Weed and McCartan..
     Ms. Fleming played by Michelle Duffy is simply amazing and watching her preform “Shine a Light" was an amazing experience.   The “Heathers” were played by a very long legged and talented group of girls.  Charissa Hogeland did a great job of stepping into the role of head bitch Heather Chandler, but Heather McNamara played by Elle Mclemore stole the show for me.  Doing an AMAZING job of turning the teen bitch into a hot mess in a seamless performance, she always kept my eye and did a flawless transition from slap sticker to heart wrenching when she sang Lifeboat (a song about her thoughts on suicide).
     All in all this was a hit with me.  Even with my disappointment with McCartan this was well worth going to see.  Murphy and O’Keefe did an excellent job of lightening up this dark film just enough to make it plausible to be a musical. Keeping the script true to the message behind the original Heathers (that society and High School SUCK) while giving it their own twist.  The audience was fun and filled with outrageous screaming as favorite quotes were spurted out on stage.  The drinks were plentiful and the feeling in the room was that everyone was having a great time.  So if you are a Heathers fan, why are you even reading this? Seeing “Heathers the Musical” in the title should have been enough for you to go instantly to Telecharge.com and buy tickets.





     Trivial Pursuit just got Whoerific with the Doctor Who Edition!  But this is not for the faint of heart- oh no. Hipsters that are just jumping on the bandwagon beware- this has 50 years of Doctors and episodes of trivia behind it.  From William Hartnell to Paul McGann- my personal favorite. You will be wowed stumped and spiraled into a Doctor Who-a-thon after opening up and taking this game for a whirl.  Your trusty sonic screwdriver will not save you against the toughest of questions that this game has in store for you.
   Since this game is trivia based let me throw some wholedge your way.  The 23rd of November 1963 was when Doctor who was broad casted promptly at 5:15pm.  In it's origin it was created to be a educational family show that would fit between the ever popular football and evening entertainment programmes.  When The first Doctor wanted to leave the series after only three years, the idea of a regenerating doctor was born. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!!

   With the show reaching new heights since its resurrection in 2005 it is considered the longest running and most successful science fiction series in the world, and there is a butt load of trivia to support it!

   This very special Trivial Pursuit game comes in it's own blue wedge with a coinciding theme.  It is small and portable with six categories- Time Lords, Monsters Stories, Years and Dates, Companions and Cast, and Crew and Beyond.  It has 600 questions. Yeah you heard me 600!!! and has custom Dalek die.  You can play it alone or add it in your classic boxed version if you choose, but the one thing that is undeniable is the fact that YOU NEED TO OWN THIS.

    I am going to give you some questions, please feel free to answer if you know them- but we are working on the honor system here people. Trust is a must!

 From the Time Lord section: What Doctor is the first to encounter the Cyberman?

From the Cast Crew and Beyond section:  Peter Capaldi appeared in the "Fires of Pompell" but in which political comedy did he star as Malcom Tucker?


 Yeah m I got the first one- but the second one...I had no idea but found the answer quite intersting.  I won't keep you in suspense for long though- I will post the answers in a week.  Can't wait that long? Well then go to our friends at Thinkgeek.com or your local Barnes and Noble and pick it up for a cool $19.95.  Good luck gents!



***** THIS ISN'T A Review But I Think IT's FUNNY


Why Parenthood Is More Like Star Trek Than You Think


Parenthood... for most the final frontier (you would think it would be a senior citizen ship...but you'd be wrong). These are the stories of the Starship Parenthood. Our mission: to explore strange new worlds, (playgroups, carpools, PTA and team sports), to seek out like-minded parents that we don't want to throttle, to find time for ourselves.  And to boldly go where many have gone before us-only doing it either slightly better, or not that much worse.

Yes parenthood is the final frontier for most couples, finally taking the plunge into a world that no matter how much we think we know, we know about as much as the Starship Voyager after getting sucked into that wormhole.   We are confronted with trials from the minute that wiggly pink screaming alien (baby) pops head first into the world.



     From trying to decipher their language (cries) to learning their dietary requirements, every day is a new adventure that sometimes our computers, manuals or experience has no way to figure out. And like in most of the episodes we end up just winging it.  Every parent is a captain switching to the role of Number One every so often with one another. Of our crew or support group, the head of security is the most neurotic in the bunch,  making sure that no matter how baby-proofed your house is---it can be more umm proofed. This role doesn't have to be filled by a Klingon or blonde woman, any overly anxious person will do.
     There will be one person who is a robot, holographic or Vulcan being that is in awe of all these new emotions arriving on the ship. This person is usually a friend with the following requirements; not married,  afraid of children and thrown into this world not of  her own choice but rather "built" into it because their “used to be fun friends” have decided to reproduce.  He or she will be reserved at first but by the end of the tale will have either learned how to love this new being and even experimented to understand what it is like to be a parent (babysitting), or they become a redshirt which means they were a part of the show for exactly five minutes and then disappeared.
     Then you have your doctor that usually takes on the form of your own parents, who after raising you, know what you’re thinking before your frazzled mind even realizes it, no fancy alien powers needed. Then there is the whiny teenager that hangs around. The teenager is one of the better ones to have on board because if you catch them young you can get them to do a whole bunch of things for you for free under the perception of "learning" or being included.  This little bugger can even help save your butt once in a while, even if you have to witness poor wardrobe choices and some sulking. And if you can afford a Chief of Engineering (a nanny or housekeeper) to keep your house afloat with little or no help from the Bridge then more power to you (although without a visor, or Scottish accent I don't know why you would even bother).

     You may find yourself like Q. Being the only one of your kind, meaning the only one within your circle, that has a child. You will explore vast galaxies, play groups and mommy and me's and even going as far as joining an organization like the PTA- to find others like you and to help you understand what is happening in your life.  In the end you may even find out that you knew the answer all along (queue credits).

     You will try to have a pleasant afternoon now and again on the Holodeck only for it to come crashing down with crying children, vomit, trips to the hospital or the characters of the venue (i.e. people in the restaurant or the high-schooler dressed up as Barney that your kid just hit in the nether region) revolting against you.  But that doesn't mean you'll stop going. Oh no, even though you know the odds are fifty-fifty that the events of your pre-programmed day will turn against you, you will keep going because when it comes to family outings we don't know when to admit defeat.

   Yes there may even be some hostile life forms along the way (inlaws, or neighbors telling your kid to "get off my lawn!" ) that no matter how long negotiations go on you will never be allowed in their territories.  Or even worse you may run into a Borg ship and will be forced to assimilate (school board, or class mothers) but remember even on a Borg shop you can find a Seven-of-Nine and turn him/her into a fantastically good looking ally.

    If all goes right during your tour of duty, by the end of the day, when you are sipping tea, playing an exotic flute, talking to your Number One or just catching some shut eye, you will be happy with your ship, your crew, and your adventures.  You will have survived another day and learned something new and will be able to share your experiences and help others that are on their own ships. You will come to the realization that although it is a long hard road in front of you, with feats unknown and frightening adversaries, like kids with boogies and the common cold, that you wouldn't have it any other way. I mean isn't that why you joined Starfleet ( I mean parenthood) to begin with?




Mommy's Time Out: University Games: I Ate Zombies Reviewed



     Based on the popular "I Have" games, University Games has released "I Ate Zombies".  This is a fast paced game that will have each player racing each other to unload their cards first into the "Darkness Pit", or pile, whatever works for you. Each of the 54 cards have two sides,  the "Who Ate" and the "I Ate".  The first player will put down a card "I Ate" up, for example "I ate a Werewolf" and then flip it over to the "Who Ate" side, revealing the next card that the players need to match.

     So it goes like this: "I ate a Werewolf, who ate a Witch?" whoever finds the Witch on the I Ate side of their card gets to unload the card into the "Darkness Pit", reducing the level of cards they have and increasing the chance of them to win. This game is moves fast and is fun. The cards are sturdy which is good because they will be flung down with force as everyone is trying to get their card down first.  The graphics on the cards are all photographs of the actual ghoul or ghastly item, and although the spider card is a bit too realistic for me, overall it makes the appearance of the cards unique and fun.  Easy to learn with classic "war"- like game play, this will be an instant hit on any game night.  Since we have received it for review we have had it in constant rotation and we haven't gotten tired of it yet!
     The only thing that boggled my mind is the size of the cards compared to the size of the box. The cards are smaller than a standard deck and the box is an open top and huge. Other than that minute detail I have no issue with this game and I recommend it for your own Mommy or Daddy Time Out.

    
                                                                Luigi's Mansion! 


                                                             

 Nintendo has a very select fan base of patrons that have come back year after year and time after time for their franchise favorites.  So loyal in fact it  can turn a quiet debate into an all-out brawl when someone slams on one of the Mario Brothers or tries to compare the Wii with Play Station Three.  There are loyal fans out there; brought up from a young age as a Nintendo family you won’t convince us tha





t there is a better game than Mario Bros, or stop us from reminiscing about Duck Hunt- so stop trying. We are and always have been a Nintendo family. So Luigi's Mansion holds a very special place in my heart and made me sooooooo excited to play the New 3DS Xl Version.

     In Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon, the super creepy Professor E Gadd calls upon- and sort of kidnaps, the reluctant hero to help him sort out his recent mess. With the Dark Moon's destruction (by a Boo no less) his once happy ghost friends are now, well, mean, and causing lots of trouble. Armed with just a flashlight and the Poltergust 5000 vacuum, E.Gadd sends Luigi into the mansion to do his dirty work to find all the Dark Moon pieces that are scattered around the Mansion and surrounding buildings.

    
This game is killer detailed- From the cracks on the ceiling to the dust coated rooms, you can tell it was a labor of love from its creators.  Every single room has countless little things to discover, explore, and marvel at. The creepy music and occasional burst of thunder and lightning can keep you on your toes, if you’re like me and play in the wii (see what I did there) hours of the morning. And it’s funny too. Truly amusing corny jokes are made throughout the game- usually at poor Luigi's expense but nevertheless had me actually cracking up.  Its game play is fun- you use the vacuum to suck up the many collectables hidden around every corner. You use the Flashlight to stun one of the many personality filled Ghosts, getting that Ghost Buster-like feeling of accomplishment when you finally get them sucked up completely into the vacuum (I ain't afraid of no ghost), and use the Dark Light attachment to shine light on the many MANY secrets that hide away at every bend closet, toilet bed etc. around the houses.

     If you are one to obsess over collectibles, I don't know if I should tell you to get this game or to give it up! Finding all the hidden gems and boos in this game is amazingly difficult and to be honest I would take you out to lunch if you could do it the first time around. However it gives the game a high replay value because honestly I am not going to be happy until I reach a hundred percent.

     An added bonus is the extra online multiplayer game that focuses on getting through the mansion's floors (up to 25 levels) with your team and to collect as many ghosts as possible. Honestly I have been so obsessed with the main game I haven't really messed around with this yet- but again it gives you that added gameplay that will keep you going back to the game long after you beat it. I love a game with high replay value.

     What else can I say? Actually a lot - the puzzles you encounter are hardly repetitive (there is this dog you have to chase around about three times that was a tad annoying but I forgave them) giving you new challenges to conquer through each door.  Luigi's cowering and sighs of relieve never get old.  The Ghosts cracks me up, and the Boos with their insanely corny names are actually laugh out loud worthy. This game is the second one that I have played that really utilizes the 3D aspect of the console. You get the very real feeling that it was developed with the 3D in mind- instead of as an afterthought which really immerses you into the game.  The unique viewing ability helps you find all the secrets that those programmers tried so hard (and did a darn good job) to hide from us, and gives you a very awesome gaming experience.



     If there is only one game you can purchase in the near future, I highly recommend Luigi's Mansion. There is no possible way that you will regret it.



                                                        Life is Strange


      Life is Strange  is an independent documentary that tells the stories of the Jewish people directly affected before and during WWII.  Filled with interviews with Shimon Peres (president of the state of Israel), Walter Kohn (noble laureate in Chemisty) and Uri Orlev (children's book author) as well as over 20 others.
      The film tells the story of all the trials, horrors and simple pleasures of their lives in one of the most horrific times in our history.  The documentary tried to explore the connection between old age and childhood, meaning what lessons a person takes with them throughout their life.  Does what happens to you in your childhood effect what you remember or who you become later on?
      The answer is yes.  These people give us humbling as well as horrific retelling of what they went through and how they survived.  Remembering some incidents in great detail, like not receiving presents at their bar mitzvah, but as they get to their lives in the ghettos and concentration camps, simply fade in and out with less detail. There is a reason why the brain makes it harder to recall certain events in one's life. Some describe the time full of emotion, others with a sense of sadness, but others, just sounded far away- like they are telling us about someone else's lives, not their own.
        First-time filmmaker Issac Hertz does a good job of getting stories out there in a way that you become emotionally connected to the history of their lives, as well as the person. With close-up camera shots of the interviewees and footage of the era, Hertz presents us with a wonderful oral history of a time that we wish did not happen, but cannot and should not forget.

Where and When:January 24 - 30, at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, NYC.
Run Time is :1 hour 36 minutes; not rated
Directed by Isaac Hertz













     In a yellow and blue circus tent that rises amidst Citifield sits a world of unimaginable beauty and amazement. The arena seems almost impossibly small yet large enough to fit a whole audience, the central circular stage is where you are transported into a mysterious island where the Goddess rules. An aerobatic, dance, and live music production depicts the story of the the queen's daughter who falls in love with a boy whose ship wrecks on the island- during her coming of age ceremony. The two of them must face trials and setbacks before being able to be together.



     First let's discuss the costumes. Never have I seen such beautiful pieces of art displayed on the human body. Everything from head to toe was a piece of art making the island come alive. There was a lizard man (played by Viktor Kee) who playfully interacted with the audience, warrior women, reptiles, and peacocks- everybody on stage was presented to bring you into this imaginary world set on a sparsely decorated stage. You were fully immersed while watching the Goddess ( Andreanne Nadeau) doing high aerobatics from a crescent shaped moon hanging in the air.  You felt as if you were seeing the stars sparkle in the sky behind her rather than the rafters on the ceiling.  The music that was played live behind the delicately sculpted screens made you feel almost trance like as you watched the bodies on stage twist and contort in the most amazing of ways. Never in my life did I think the human body could bend and twist a body in such a way that was so beautiful yet so shocking. Their movement flowed not only in sync to the music that filled the air but as if the notes themselves were running through their veins. How...how!!! Did they do that?  Not only that- but they made it look easy- like try this at home easy but please for the love of god do not try this at home lol.
    Every segment was a moving piece of artwork that wove into this story - each beautiful each amazing in their own right. From juggling to aerial straps, each act was a constant sense of shock and awe- but everyone was entitled to a favorite- and for me that was when did her "Water Bowl" dance. A tub like basin that was ever present on stage is the scene of the young heroine's showcase (performed by Iuliia Mykhailova).  She contorts and performs feats of utter amazement in and out of the basin filled with water- while her suitor stays on the side and watches- until finally they meet. Ah- take my breath away!


     There are also some comedic parts of the show staring the captain of the shipwrecked ship that is looking for love- in the audience. As well as that crazy lizard pouring popcorn over every one's heads before the show even began! On several occasions the performers were in the aisles- pre-show interacting with the audience, and during the show as part of the routine. With so many things to keep your senses tinkled you never felt over whelmed, but you did feel like you were witnessing something very special.  From the minute you enter the tents to the time the show ends you knew this was not just an ordinary show. So please by all means take someone you care about to this amazing traveling production that is at Citifield until May 18th. Put your phones away, cut your cord from social media, and for that matter all the worries of your world, and visit Amaluna- you will take the memories with you for a lifetime.








     Risk: Plants Vs. Zombies Special Edition                                                   Review!

  






     Risk is a strategic board game that was originally released in 1957 and has lead to generations of tabletop "geeks" ( I  say that proudly my friends, I say it proudly)  playing for hours to take over the world. The game has taken on different worlds, Middle Earth being one of my favorite examples-but the special edition release of the games latest and dare I say greatest of all worlds is Plants Vs Zombie Risk Game (cheers and screaming comes from the audience...oh wait, I am not a host on TV. Dang). Released by USAopoly, this is a great marriage of two of the games that I love most.  Although most Risk players will feel (almost) right at home with this game, it does give you some very different ways to play. For one thing it is made for two players, which is pretty neat. The double sided game board is awesome giving you three super fun ways to play.  The first side has a detailed map of the PVZ town of Brainsborough.  Here you have two ways to play. Lets discuss the first way first (which is usually the case).

     "Basic Training" (or in original Risk Mission Objective) is basically an all out Plants vs Zombie war, your only mission here is to defeat your opponents.  By playing either as a plant or a zombie, your mission is to finish all the objectives before your opponent does or get rid of all of your opponents entirely- whatever happens first.  It is a great "introductory" into the game for those new at Risk or those just new at this altered PVZ mode.  Some of these new additions to this version would include the use of station wagons and Garden Gnomes appearing on the board as well as the use of awesome fraction cards that are completely customized to the world of PVZ.

  The second way "Advance Play" Or Total Domination is an all out war with one another. Pretty much just a more advanced way of playing Basic Training.  OR....OR you can just the good old fashioned way of invade and conquer. The one who conquers all the territories wins! Bam!

  The third and I have to say my FAVORITE way of playing this game is the Front Yard Skirmish, Or Tower Defense mode. This is literally putting the video game on a table top and going at it. My husband and I have been playing this way non- stop (well when the cats and our son let us) since we got the game and it is so much fun. It is a completely new spin on the game intertwining basics of Risk with the PVZ game giving you a fun new way to play. One side is plants, the other side zombies, just like the other two versions the difference is the game board, and how alike it is to the original PVZ game. The zombies and plants both have two different ways to attack and have a different set of upgrade cards that you can buy with the coin value on the fraction cards. Each person gets thirty pieces and you win by either invading the house (if you're a zombie) or getting rid of all the zombies if you are a plant. It is a fun, relatively short game play (for risk) that really has you laughing out loud. I loved  playing every single game and enjoyed the smack talking I provided for every one's entertainment, even though I lost more than I won.
            The game is priced at $29.00 and is available right now at the PVZ store! It includes "Over 160 game pieces include Double-Sided Game Board, 40 Peashooters, 10 Threepeaters, 40 Zombies, 10 Zombie Mobs, 40 Garden Gnomes, 12 Objectives, 9 Station Wagons, 7 Re”mind”er Pieces, 30 Plant Faction Cards, 30 Zombie Faction Cards, 6 Plant Upgrade Cards, 6 Zombie Upgrade Cards and 6 Dice"
  

    So once again Plants Vs Zombies has come out with another unique way to enjoy their franchise. With the help of USAopoly, who are known to make amazing special edition games, you are guaranteed a fun night with your loved ones. Just don't take it too seriously, like throwing a bowl of popcorn at your opponent, err,husband when you convince yourself they are cheating. Not that I do that but I mean it happens. So I have heard.




  Seriously guys, make sure you check out USAopoly. They have so many funny games that one brief look made me want to buy the whole shop!



*I was given this awesome game to review, however all opinions are my own, because if I didn't like it, I would have shipped it right back!



                                         Mommy's Time Out: Plants Vs. Zombies Two-                                             It's About Time!





                            Mommy's Time Out Plants Vs. Zombies Two- It's About Time!



  Yes yes I know you know that I am a huge fan of this game. Addicted, yes, obsessed quite possibly but I think I am teetering on the normal with that obsession.   The long awaited second series has been released for the Ios phone since August, and more recently for the Android users. So why did it take me so long for me to review? Well I'll tell you why. I am very wise grasshopper and I knew that although the second started out amazing- that there  would be updates that made it more amazing, and my friends that update has arrived.



   If you played the first game you know the gist.  This is a basic tower defense game (meaning you need to protect something) with a mutated plant and zombie twist. Big fun. Well the second game in this series called Plants Vs Zombies: It's About Time (a pun about how long it took them to make the second game) is a great sequel to our beloved franchise.

Crazy Dave is back and looking for a taco he lost through history for some reason. Crazy Dave along with his time traveling car brings you to three worlds with a fourth coming soon. You will battle zombies during the Egyptian reign, the pirate age, and the cowboy era. The fourth looks like a futuristic type world which I am personally looking forward to.



     Unlike the first game this one is free to download and play but does include IAP (in app purchases). You can buy plants and coins that you can use in various ways throughout the game. Along with the plants that are ready at hand you can use the coins you collect or purchase coins via  IAP, to buy "actions" that can help you wipe out a league of zombies when you are being bombarded. For somewhere between 800-1200 coins you can pinch off the zombies' heads, throw them off screen or electrocute them with a swipe of your screen. If you are playing on an iPhone skip the pinching the heads off zombies option and go for the flinging them off screen. You have a limited time to do any of these actions and I have used them more than once in a pinch.  While it doesn't really go with the whole game play of PVZ, I kinda like it because after trying to beat a board four million times I can pull a little flinging action out of my pocket and finally beat the board. Another new addition is the plant food option. Every once in a while when you beat an undead they will let out a big old plant food seed. Use this seed with varying results on the plants on your board. For example, you need some more sun power? Put some plant food on that cute little marigold and it will pop out a bunch of sun for you to collect and use to your advantage. Have a potato mine planted? Use one of these babies on them and three more will pop up over the board. I LOVE THIS FEATURE and I will absolutely use my coins to buy more if my game play is not giving me enough. LOVE IT!

  You go through each world in the classic linear fashion, beating one board and the next until you hit the end and travel to a new world- this is vastly improved from the way it started out collecting keys in order to get to the next world- it kind of drove me nuts, so I am happy with what is an improvement in my eyes to the game.

  The zombies also don't just walk around with cones on their heads or a newspaper. Oh no they have been upgraded as well. From sandstorm attacking zombies, to pirates flying over the plank on ropes or via parrots, these zombies are moving in whole new ways to break your boarders and break your head.  This keeps you interested and frustrated at the same time which in my opinion is a great way to play a game. Oh and did I mention that Gargantuars are now showing up in special boards in each world. Oh yes. This insanely huge minion packing zombie wields era period outfits and some weird accessories- like a gigantic SHARK that they fling around and bash your plants in. I was cracking up; they are super neat.(Yep i just described zombies as super neat)

   The graphics are still the cartooney fun loving colorful artwork that we all love- just amped up.  They are crisper with a completely smooth look. There is no lag even when a ton- and I mean a ton of zombies hit your screen. Each one looks hilariously deadly, and adds a lot to the game visually.

  You still use the sunflower "power" system collecting sunlight to gain enough energy to "buy" the plants you chose during your game play. The oldies are back for a second time around- Peashoots, Wall-nut, my favorite the Potato Mine (hey I'm Irish) as well as some new ones that will be a fast favorite, the Bloomerang, Coconut Cannon, Snap Dragon and more.
   Some more new features in the game is the pinata parties, which is a series of three bonus boards that come up randomly on various days. These boards give you a conveyor belt filled with plants and a variety of zombies from all the available worlds attacking you on the old school PvZ lawn. When and if you beat the board you get to crack open three pinatas and enjoy costumes (yeap the plants now have little costumes that they wear when you unlock them) coins and alike. You will be notified via push notification and then you have the option to ignore or NOT and enjoy the calamity of the board. There are also various Yeti Zombie sightings which will send you to replay boards you already completed and try and defeat it again and to catch- or really let's be honest be-head this elusive beast. Your prize is a big old bag of coins if you come out of the board victorious, lose and you will just have to wait for another sighting to try again another day.





   All in all with this new and improved version of the game I am whole heartedly happy. They have improved upon a great game giving it not only a new look but a new way to play.  It will keep you occupied, frustrated, and compelled to keep playing. I believe that even though they did add the IAP, which I usually detest, the game is free and you can still play with minimum or no need to buy anything. The fact is the option is there and with the new upgrade it does not feel as if they are shoving that option down your throat.  It's there if you want it and people will take advantage of it. So if anything thank them for keeping this game free for the rest of us!

   This is a game that will make you use that brain that those zombies find so tasty to strategize and defeat your foes. With comic interludes between Crazy Dave and his car as well as his notable random ramblings, you will never be bored in this amazing sequel. Thanks so much PopCap for not disappointing and we look forward to what's to come in the future. With the recent merge with EA there is sure to be lots more in store for the franchise in the near future (like a console PVZ game coming out soon!)




Essence Of Beauty Line Coming To Your Local CVS This Fall 2013



     You no longer have to travel to the mall or seek out your favorite specialty store to buy  luxurious and expertly crafted scents.  Essence of Beauty will be bringing a line of amazing bath and body products that will make you wonder how you lived so long without them. Essence of Beauty is coming out with four brand new scents that will be coming to your local CVS store this fall! These fragrances will be available in body mists, shower and bath gel, body lotion, hand cream, and even hand sanitizer (the Wind Kissed line only).

     I was lucky enough to get some samples of this line to try out, and I love them! I have on my hands right now the Wind Kissed calming body and hand cream. It feels velvety smooth when applied and does not leave you with a sticky after affect that unfortunately some lines
do. The minute you apply this your skin feels smooth and soft. Their special formula combines revitalizing passion flower seed and rice bran oil, Vitamin A and E and my favorite, soothing aloe vera.   I find it difficult to describe smells, but the way it is outlined is as a "clean floral with hints of mimosa and white freesia white amber and soft musk" so that seems right on the money for me. I love a musky scent, and somehow they have mixed a musk with a flower and made it work. I love it! Another lotion from their line is the Forever Paris "embracing body lotion" This smells amazing, with an almost fruity and floral mixture, this is a complex scent that even has notes of French Vanilla and warm amber, leaving you to experience it a little differently every time you put it on. The way they layer all the scents in such a way that they are all so different yet work is simply amazing . The lotion itself utilizes the same amazing benefits as the Wind Kissed I just described, with the flower seed, rice bran oil, Vitamin A and E, and aloe vera.

     As well as the lotion, I also got to try out two of the body mists and I was clearly impressed because here I am writing about it. I have to admit body mists are kind of annoying to me. Sometimes they are so strong that one spritz is enough to bring you over the edge, and then on the total opposite end of the spectrum there are the mists that you need to pour the whole bottle on yourself to even notice the scent and for it to have a lasting effect. I was so genuinely surprised at the Essence of Beauty line I was constantly going around to my friends (and hey maybe a few strangers) saying come on over and smell me. Come on, I smell divine. And they all agreed thank you very much, if not walking to the opposite end of the room after our little interlude.  One or two pumps of the bottle is all it takes to cover you in the delicious scents of this line. It is not over powering and yet not under rated. They have found the balance I needed in my body mists and I am going to be eternally grateful! In the Tropics one is an invigorating scent that mixes pink grapefruit, juicy pomelo and a "mingle with wild agave cyclamen flowers and sandalwood" (I love sandlwood) that puts a  little pep in your step as well as making you smell nice. Lastly the Secret Woods sent, which is my favorite because of both the name and smell. Has the "alluring mystery of a hidden forest". This is a warm vanilla musk scent that has hints of jasmine and pomegranate (who knew that pomegranate was good outside of a martini- I kid I kid..) I have been wearing the body mist I received non stop since I got it and will definitely be going to CVS and buying  the bath and shower gel as soon as it is released in the stores.

     All in all this is a great line of high quality scents at a low cost available in one of the most  popular drug stores on Long Island. The prices range from $1.99 for a single 1.75 oz hand cream to a 3 for $15 deal on a variety of their products, making this an easily accessible and totally affordable line of fragrances from a company that does not test on animals and is gluten free!

        Thank you so much Essence of Beauty for the chance to review such a great line of fragrances, you have made a life long customer out of me and I know everyone will feel the same way when they get a chance to try them out this Fall 2013!



Mommy's Time Out: Advenchewers Review





      As a mother I hold strong feelings against chewing gum. As a person in love with a great casual platform game, I fully support Advenchewers. A game that is all about a boy and his piece of gum! Run jump and float through the air with your handy dandy bubble gum, collecting coins and helping to free your three bird friends in this 48 level game. The goal is to collect as many coins as possible by the end of the level.  As a bonus you can try to help free three birds friends that for some reason get into tricky situations in each board. Pretty simple huh? Nope, black blobs of goo, robots, and background obstacles will keep you on your toes

. There is a feather that will let you ride an invincible Phoenix as well, that helps you sail through the board and collect coins at an awesome rate.  There is also an array of different kinds of gum to chew adding a varying element to the game that is appreciated, for example the gum of invincibility, or one that gives you the ability to freeze an opponent among others. The only real question I have is.. is the gum sugar free?






   All in all it is a great fast paced game that you can pick up at any time even if  putting it down is a little harder to do. For those of us that are a bit "OCD" like myself you will find yourself going back into the board to get the birds you missed, grab that phoenix feather, or get a higher score. So suffice it to say the replay value is very high.  The controls are fun and gaining control on how large to blow your bubble is a challenge at the begining but you get the knack of it fairly fast.  It is quick to respond on my iphone touch screen with no delaying or lagging.




   This is a great game that is well worth the $0.99 that you pay at the app store. The graphics are great, bright and crisp and not at all looking like they just threw it together-like you get with other games.  If you want a highly addictive, fun game this is for you. Go for it!





                                       

Let Me Tell You About Something- A Book From A NJ Housewive Caroline Manzo








     Everyone has their secrets, their little guilty pleasures that they don't tell anyone about. Well my friends I am exposing my secret for the world to see. I love the Real Housewives of New Jersey. There I said it and I feel a little freer. Yes they are a little nuts and I know I know from NJ but I love this cast of characters. One of my favorites is the strong opinionated and leader of the Jersey pack Mrs. Caroline Manzo. I just liked her from the beginning: her 'head of the family'take on situations, her devotion to her husband and family, and her no nonsense attitude towards any situation made her have a special place in my heart.   I will even admit that in certain family unpleasantness I have often thought wwbd (what would Buffy do) but when slaying them was clearly not an option I would turn to my second best, wwcd (what would Caroline do). With her new book Let Me Tell You About Something- you no longer have to wonder. In this 215 page book Caroline

dishes about her life her trials and how to face them. Giving advice on how to raise your children, how to find and nurture romance, and even how to make amazing meatballs.  But if you're looking for gossip on her fellow cast mates this is not the book for you. While Caroline does share a look behind the scenes of the shooting of the show and her interest in auditioning for the show- the only dirt you're going to get is how they handle production and how they interact with the production team (with a decent amount of pranks) and the like. This was not a surprising move on Caroline's part and I was happy that she left all the BS out.  This book was simply Caroline being Caroline and giving out her years of wisdom.   Caroline didn't need any of those antics that make us watch the show in this book- because her fans really want to hear what she has to say.
   While reading you can actually hear her speaking through the pages. She doesn't put on airs or act like she knows it all- she just tells it how she sees it. It's more like having a conversation with a friend- you don't get the feeling that you HAVE to listen to her in order to live a complete and successful life. Caroline uses her experiences as a daughter, mother, and wife and shares with you how she would handle those hiccups in life that we all face.
     I particularly enjoyed learning how she dealt with her kids. Forgoing grounding but instead enacting punishments like taking away a game system- but not hiding it instead leaving it on the table as a constant reminder that they screwed up. The way she describes it is funny but in truth I thought it was a very smart way of discipline that I will be holding in my back pocket for future use.  I also liked how she and Albert both had roles in bringing up the kids even with him being away a lot for work, making the rules and Doling out punishments together and keeping the flow of information strong between them.  They never let the kids turn them against each other, something we all know can happen. This kept their family strong and their relationship as husband and wife consistent.
    There are excerpts from fans asking her for advice and how she answered those questions as well as a list of her top five proudest moments. You get a true and undiluted look at her life and how she has dealt with it- and she didn't spare anything. From miscarriages to romance she covered it all. I was particularly surprised at an excerpt in the "love" section of the book where she discusses cheating.  To be honest it was not something I would think she would approach- I am not sure why she does breach a multitude of different topics on and off the show- but shocked I was none the less.  She herself never admits to straying however she states a firm belief that if someone does stray there is a reason and the reason behind the action is what's important, not the action itself. I thought it was a very modern approach from a self proclaimed "old school woman" and this just made Caroline Manzo more human in my eyes and more wise than I thought before.

   So if you hold your own NJHW obsession secret or out in the open and love Caroline Manzo as well, definitely pick up her book. It is a touching look at life as a true housewife turned celebrity that will have you eager to turn the page and will keep you thinking about the words written upon it




             




                                                          I love Fabio....






       So you guys understand that I am in love with chef Fabio Viviani. His dreamy accent his playfulness oh and the fact that he cooks!!! Excuse me, what's not to love? His  newest cook book Fabio's Italian Kitchen- which came out in May-  takes us on a culinary journey through his life. Growing up, his family didn't have very much money and when his mother got sick, well, things got worse, and at age 11 he worked at night

using a "borrowed" motorbike to help support his family. This is the kind of man that you want your son to grow up to be. As you can see that along with his amazing recipes, he gives us a glimpse into his life. Showing us where his worth ethic, love of food, and bliss in life come from!.  The pages are filled with amazing recipes that Fabio grew up with. He explains not only how they are made but in some cases the stories behind them.
     From simple recipes (like Fabio's version of fried chicken- with a twist adding sage and rosemary-he had me worried with that one, but OMGOOSH it was amazing, I am not kidding)  to sharing his uncle's home made pizza that I made tonight with my son! (spoiler -that one was delicious as well!)  This cookbook is a truly unique blend of life, love, and food that I have never experienced before. It is like the love behind the recipes pressed itself onto the pages and are brought into your home.  It touches you like any good book should- but rarely how a cookbook does- right in the heart.
  So yes I have a tiny (huge) crush on this cutie Italian chef and hey you may too but don't buy this book because of that. Buy it because there is love stamped along with every letter, every picture, and every recipe in this book.  Buy it because when you thumb through it you are getting a glimpse into an amazing story of not only one man, but his whole family, and buy it because he is giving us a gift by sharing his and his family's life and love with us and letting us bring it into our home.




   Oh and did I mention that he also tells you how he set his Grandma on fire (she was fine) and slapped the hand of the Pope? No? Well you will have to read all about it in his book!




  To learn more about Chef Fabio Viviani please visit his website (he posts a lot of great information including recipes and kid friendly healthy meals!)




 To hear what he had to say to us when we interviewed him this past December click here


                                         



                     Soul Doctor- A Review 

                              


          Soul Doctor, the new hit musical playing at the Circle in the Square Theater will blow you away.  Based upon the life of the "Rabbi Rock Star", the controversial Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.  His life's journey is brought to the stage in an array of beautifully choreographed musical numbers that had you clapping and dancing in your seats from the moment the curtain rose.  The music playing blanketed everyone in the theater in an array of music that flowed through the room.  The performers roamed freely up and down the aisles using the uniqueness of the theater to its full advantage, dancing and singing to a mixture of tunes that made this Rabbi famous.




     The Carlebach family had to flee from Nazi Germany to America when Shlomo was just a boy. His father runs a small temple that has a hard time to bring in a congregation.  Shlomo fights within himself to follow his family's wishes to be a traditional Rabbi, to keep "the word alive" in the traditional way, while yearning to break away from those same traditions that confine him.  His dream is to bring music to the temple but does not know how to combine his two passions in a way that would work. During this journey of self discovery he forms an unlikely friendship with Nina Simone. Simone, who was known as the "High Priestess" of soul at the time, gives Shlomo the strength and inspiration to follow his dream and to spread the message of  his God in his own way.




     Eric Anderson, who played Shlomo, was an absolute sensation, turning the soft spoken Rabbi into a self reliant leader of a phenomenon in the span of two and a half hours was nothing short of a miracle.  He played the role as if he was Shlomo reincarnated and sang inspiration with every note.  When he would start singing beginning in a soft chant like melody and then literally jumping up and filling himself with the music you found yourself gripping your chair or jumping right along with him.


     Amber Iman who played Nina was incredible. In her retelling of the hardships that Nina endured during the civil rights movement she captivated the audience and brought some to tears. Her singing transported you to the time where those songs were sung, and she felt every word she sang and made you feel it as well. There was no one better at making a connection with the audience than Ms.Iman.
     Between the two leading actors and the amazing talent of the supporting cast, this show transported you through time and places with minimal amount of scenery and a overwhelming amount of heart and soul. The tale of Shlomo is an inspirational one-whether you knew of him before you went to see the play or left there just meeting him, you will have the same experience- utter and total admiration for the story, the cast and the music.



     I want to thank Culture Mom Media for giving us the chance to see and review this wonderful play. All opinions are my own, I truly did love every second of this play- if you hadn't noticed!





                   Mommy's Time Out: Book Worm and                                  Book Worm Heroes





     PopCap Games just keeps the hits coming. I have been playing three of their games on the iPhone in the recent months. One called Bookworm has been around for a while, but the other two, are new Solitaire Blitz and Bookworm Heroes. All three are great games but in this Mommy's Time Out I am just going to cover the Bookworm games, so here we go!






     First up, Bookworm, available for PC, Mac, IPhone/ipod touch, and Nintendo DS, this is a great single player score attack puzzle game-or a  spelling game for kids and adults of all ages. With the adorable book worm mascot Lex, who has his little glasses and bow tie on, the scene is set in a library where Lex likes to munch on the words you spell- but it's not as easy as it sounds. Sure a normal word search gives you problems, but in Book Worm there is not set list of words so you have to find them on your own, on top of that you get tiles that are on FIRE and if you let them go all the way to the bottom will burn down your whole library. Yep that's right, not only do you lose the game, but you destroy a whole library, great job there buddy. HAHAHA.
     It is a truly addicting game, with various kinds of tiles to increase your score. You go from a lowly encyclopedia salesman, to well I am not really sure what comes after Senior Librarian (but I will, oh yes I will find out) but I am sure their will be more
pristine titles the further you go up so make sure you use those tiles to your benefit. The green tiles which are worth more than regular ones can come completely randomly in the game or because you are spelling longer words (three letters is the absolute minimum) and will be placed on the top of the board only.  The gold tiles, diamond tiles, and sapphire tiles are given as your letter forming abilities improve and can show up anywhere on the board and are the ones that really make a difference to your score. They also keep burning titles from going through your board at an alarming rate. You can hit Lex the awesome worm mascot for some help, and he will scramble the words for you, however not without cost, the more you hit Lex the more burning letters you will get on the board so don't overuse him!




   There are also various bonus words that will pop up now and again that will give you extra points for finding, which is a fun additive to the game play, as is the "collection" of words that you try and find or happen upon randomly on the ios what is ios? (cell phone or android version) game.  Words are grouped together and put into books which you can try to find and collect, completing the book and being even more awesome. So far my Pet Book is complete, and I am working on body parts.

     There is also another version included on the iPhone game called the Arcade that you can play as well as the classic version that I just described. In this version the game runs on a timer and adds red tiles every few seconds, and need to be dealt with asap. This leaves you a bit less time to plan your longer words. I personally like the classic relaxing mode with no timers, and less bombardment of the red tiles, however my husband plays the arcade mode like crazy, so it is clearly a personal preference and an addition to the game that I really think benefits the player, literally giving you two games for the price of one.




     Another thing that I really appreciate is how it is age appropriate for the younger kids. You cannot type any dirty words (not that I tried... OK, I tried but in the name of research I say!). Also certain words that you find are defined by Lex, which comes in handy; I spelled the word gams, and yes you are correct I had no idea what it meant I just kinda hit some letters. Well it turns out that the "gams" definition is Legs, usually female. Well that night while watching SciFi's Eureka, the one where they time travel back to 1947, a solider says hey gal you have a nice pair of gams. Well what do you know I now know what that word means! Without Bookworm I would not have gotten the funny albeit sexist joke! See! You need to play this game for SOOO many reasons! I love it, you will love it, and your kids will love it. Totally worth the $1.99 at the app store.




                                               Next Up: Bookworm Heroes






     OK, So you have the gist of what Bookworm is all about, well Bookworm Heroes is a completely different game so just put what you just learned on the sidelines. This is a social multi-player word game that invites you to battle your friends. Unlike Scrabble or Words with Friends you are given a block with 16 letters and you can use any one of those letters to make a word.  Each letter still has a point system to it, but they don't need to be connected in any way. At the end of your turn your mascot goes across the screen and kicks the butt of your opponent; how hard is depending on how good your word is.  Yep that's right Pop Cap just made spelling games awesome.  With the hero feature of the game and by using your in game currency which you can earn just by playing the game you can rent heroes and pets that add some really snazzy moves to the whooping of your opponent.  You can play as Lex or as some other famous literary character, including Shakespeare which is just adorable. Each character and pet has a unique special abilities, and tiles to boost word scores this will help you be more powerful and to help defeat your evil facebook or random opponent!

     I think its a great game. My husband and I have been playing word games since I was prego with my son. It went from us sharing the phone and taking turns to being able to play against each other like in Words with Friends to finally being able to kick each other butts by being a better speller.   Can't get any better in my eyes.  But don't get the wrong impression this is still age appropriate for kids. The characters are fun looking, the fighting in the game is clearly in the silly pretend violence arena. You still cannot spell dirty words (RESEARCH) and it is a fun mixture of a standard spelling game and semi action game. There is always one free character available so you don't have to always spend your covetted coins if you don't want to, or if you ran out-it happens and as always there is the option to buy coins as you see fit using real money. Tap the Game Center for leaderboards including total number of wins and wins per hero. You can also taunt your Facebook foes, I mean friends by sharing the epic word you just spelled.The graphics are great looking with crisp colors and detailed graphics that don't hurt the eyes. The game play, although not new has made a very cool twist that I personally feel the spelling game industry needed.   Anyway you look at it, BWH is worth the free download and playtime. So go, play, and have some spelling fun!


           Check back for Solitaire Blitz which I will be posting separately from my Bookworm review





                                 Zombie Dice Review


     So if you have been following my site you've come to realize I love playing games-and I can't help but love a good Zombie game. We have already discussed Plants vs Zombies (which is coming out with some great stuff soon) and now I would like to introduce you to my newest love Zombie Dice. I haven't played a dice game in years and I am so happy that this game is my re-introduction to this type of gaming.




     You are a Zombie - in the game not real life, this is not "Walking Dead"....yet- your goal is to eat thirteen brains first and win!  The set comes with thirteen dice and each has a different number of the same symbols: a brain, which means you have got your victim- keep count of how many you receive during your turn;  footprints, which means your victim has got away; you keep the die or dice that has the footprint if you choose to roll again during your turn reusing it and only adding the number of dice you need to make three; and finally a blast- which means your victim has fought back!; get three blasts during your turn and you lose everything!

The set also comes with an awesome zombie container and lid for easy storage and usage for the game.  Each turn requires you to pick three dice from the container- each color represents which die has the most brains (green) to the least brains (red), and you can roll as many times as you want during your turn- but beware the gunshot blasts- they can make it all for not!




      This is a simple yet crazy fun game to play with your friends. It is fast paced and can be be played with a varying number of players. The concept is just funny and I like the fact that for once you are the zombie instead of, you know, an ordinary old human. I'm just saying the grass is always greener and I am happy to be the one eating brains for once- in the game not real life!( too many people watching Hannibal-or maybe not that many since it got cancelled).




     The only thing that this game lacked was a score pad- and I guess the game-makers thought that too because they have now come out with a score pad that you can buy separate for $3.99. I mean sure technically you can use a regular piece of paper or your phone- or if you don't have "baby brain" just remember your score---then again why should I trust you?  You could be cheating or showing off- you so didn't eat 5 brains- it's more like 3... Other than a super awesome fight about eating brains you can see how this can go awry- get the pad to keep score.




     I really loved Zombie Dice and I loved the fact that they even have a free app available on on iTunes so you don't even need to gather around a table to play- although to be honest I say get the game and gather. There is something so special about playing a game with friends and family whether it be Zombie Dice or Chutes and Ladders with the young ones- playing a good old fashioned dice game is top notch and I am so happy to add Zombie Dice into my collection- now enough talk...must....eat....BRAINS!!








                                                     Mommy's Time Out: Plant Vs. Zombies Review


            So a little bit about me that you may not know is I love video games, any kind- Rpg, platform, multiplayer, doesn't matter I love them. My most recent addiction was started just a little while after Christmas and downloaded on my spankin new kindle fire (thanks hubby). I had wanted to play this particular title for awhile but for whatever reason did not download it - well I am glad I manned up and hit the buy button.  This is a causal tower defense game, meaning you want to keep bad guys from coming into "your house" (this is MY house! MY house!). The bad guys 
are zombies, and all you have in your defense is sunshine and flowers. If you haven't already guessed, (and seeing as there is a huge picture of the logo on top of this article I would be worried if you didn't)  I am talking about the very popular Plants Vs Zombies: my new love affair.
    Yes that's right I am cheating on my husband with this addictive and funny game that is available on most phones, portable devices, your computer and consoles. Yep Plants Vs. Zombies is everywhere and there is a very good reason why. It's freakin awesome!


      The world has finally been taken over by zombies, as we all knew this day was going to come. All those people refusing to wash their hands, all those  dirty door knobs. Yeah it was a give in.  We the surviving homes have come to our last resort, mutated attack plants. Clearly. You start out with the basics. A sunflower that regenerates 25 sun points at a time,a couple of pea shooters and build yourself up from there. The sunflower will be your best friend~the more you plant the more sun you gain and you use those points to buy the different plants ranging from 25 sun points for the potato mines all the way to 500 the cob cannon.  There are different plants that target the weaknesses of the zombies as well as doing more or less damage to your foes.  It is your job as homeowner to figure out which combination of flora will best destroy man's worst nightmare.
   You wage war in your back yard which starts off as just a plain lawn to one with a pool, and with each level you beat you get more and more mutant plants that help you beat increasingly difficult to kill brain suckers.  From just your plain old walking dead, to ones with traffic cones on their heads, all the way up to ones that disco dance their way to destroying you and the elusive yeti zombie who is a "rare and curious creature," and who is also one of the achievements you can earn by finding him.

   As  day turns to night you have an array of mushrooms to add to your list of plants. Sunshine no longer comes from the sky and now all your power comes from these tiny smiling slow poke mushrooms that give you next to no points and then slowly increases. The night time boards actually gave me the most run for my money especially when they added the fog aspect to it.  I'll admit I let out a few choice words more than once (oh calm down the kid was asleep). But I loved it, because as anyone who loves playing a game of any sort knows it's the challenge that keeps you coming back. The last series of levels are on your roof that somehow has a hole on it. I mean seriously if you're under attack from zombies patch up your roof. Anyway this leads to a whole new collection of plants, that are held in clay pots, catapults, which through a series of trial and error and yes cursing, I  finally killed every single one of those green menaces-including their boss.  The brains behind the whole thing is in his metallic body suit and weilding fire and ice balls that will squish all your plants if you don't stop them. Ah but don't be scared, by now you are a pro and these brain eaters have nothing on your planting ability. Who knew that I had such a green thumb (not my dying pointsettia that's for sure)




      This game literally had me itching to play again every time I put it down. The zombies were just plain funny and the plants were bordering on the adorable. My favorite the water plant was Cattails which had a cat head, a lily pad body, and caused crazy damage.  Crazy Dave with his pot hat and crazy eyes  that played your guide made me lol more than once and the "Bonus/Challenge levels" that popped up once or twice every level were a lot of fun and threw in a twist that was welcomed and appreciated. My particular favorite  was the mini zombies, which I was actually playing at like 2:00am and didn't realize "Crazy Dave said "sometimes zombies are real little" and I actually thought there was something wrong with my screen. Yeah I had to just put the game down at that point.  My second favorite was the whack a zombie. Anything that includes a mallot-like weapon and mole-like actions makes me a happy girl.
   These additions  of bonus rounds (which once played were available to be replayed in the bonus section)  along with the list of achievements or as I called them dares that gave this game a "second life"---which just so happens to be one of the names of an achievement--- that made this easily a replayable game (especially the twist that when you replay the actual game version Crazy Dave picks out three of the plants you will use in the level, adding a bit of the Oh gods and Ooo that was a good choice!).  I replayed the actual game three times not including the bonus rounds and the quick play which I played numerous times since I unlocked them. I am incredibly proud of the fact that I have gained all the achievements on the list, yes even  no fungus among us, where you had to beat a night level with no mushrooms. So here bask in my glory and hurry and spend your Mommy's time out (or daddy's)  saving your house from a zombie attack. Plants Vs Zombies you have been officially mommy approved!







Disclaimer: I don't know what has happened to Jenny. She should really be sleeping at 2 am, not killing virtual zombies.  I fear for her health. -Christina
Disclaimer: I am worried about Christina, why isn't she killing virtual zombies at 2am. I fear for her sense of fun





                                         Mommy's Time Out: Garbage Concert at Terminal 5!






      If you grew up in the nineties then you have at least heard of the band Garbage.  If you were like me you played their CD over and over again, you taped their singles off of the radio onto a blank cassette tape, you read about them in Spin magazine, and you were just dying to look like singer Shirley Manson.  Well my friends last night at Terminal Five in Manhattan, some friends and I went to one of the best concerts I have been to in years during our Mommy's Time Out.Garbage, live in NYC after a seven year hiatus.






     I missed the opening band scouring the crowd looking for my friends but I am sure they were amazing, I mean they were opening for Garbage.  Finally I found them after pushing my way through- remember your manners, always say excuse me, and boys, let a girl pass, that is just common courtesy!   I found my friends only four heads away from the stage- awesome, and after only twenty minutes one of my favorite bands ever came up on stage......and they played one of my favorite songs, "Push It".  I cried like a boy-crazed  girl seeing one of them One Direction boys.

 
     Shirley Manson came on stage wearing a flowing black camisole. She was singing aggressively and looked totally intimidating- then she smiled. She went from a dark enchantress to someone you would chat with at a supermarket. She instantly connected with the audience.  Although there was some technical difficulties, no one cared or was even the slightest bit bothered. Everyone was completely mesmerized by the music and the charismatic lead singer




   Shirley took a moment to talk to the crowd:  "...we have been totally preoccupied with what has been going on in our lives the past 7 years, we haven't even thought about what happened to you guys. We get letters and messages from you all telling us about what has happened with you guys and it humbles us, it makes us cry. But no matter what happened we can all say we are all still here."

Amazing.




   The set was amazing, the band played with perfection, Shirley was on key and gorgeous.  After the set they played an encore bringing out Melissa Patternoster from Screaming Females, a band from NJ and doing a Springsteen  and Patti Smith cover "Because The Night" as well as When I Grow Up, You Look so Fine and Thank You Honey Bun~ a Duke Erikson solo performance that made me giggle-bringing the concert to a end. But it was a great night a good time and something I would like to do again  very very soon.




     You know sometimes being a parent you completely lose yourself. That person that you once were, that you identified with has vanished and this new butt-wiping Elmo-watching person takes your place.  Well  from the minute they walked on stage all that was gone and I was just me. For two hours as the band played some of my favorite songs-like ever-, Cup Of Coffee, Why Do You Love Me, and one of the first hits that made them famous I'm Only Happy When It Rains! I let everything else fade in the background and just enjoyed this time for myself, because heck, I kinda deserve it!


    So folks if you are a garbage fan I implore you to go and see them live, what an experience.  Thanks Garbage for making my Mommy's Time Out AMAZING!



There is nothing worse than parenting books.  Reading the endless pages of things you should be doing. Feeling all the grief afterward when you realize that A) You don't do any of these things,  and B) that you would love to do all these things, and be the awesome mother that the woman that wrote the book is, but the truth is, it's not going to happen, so there it is, double guilt. WHY DID I PICK UP THIS BOOK ANYWAY?!?!?!?!?

      Well my friends do I have a book for you!  It is called "Sh*tty Mom" and it is written by four great women, Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo and Mary Ann Zoellner.  These women include an Emmy Award winning producer, a journalist and author and comedy writer for Conan, and all of them deem themselves Sh*tty Moms! They have written a parenting book that is not only relatable to any parent out there, but also twists it into hilarious advice. 

                                                       




                                                                 Sh*tty Mom- A Review
          In Sh*tty Mom you will learn the ways of "sleeping till nine am every weekend".  What to do when you have "just had an epic meltdown" or "how to hand off the newborn who just filled a diaper." And my absolute personal favorite, "Should you stop texting if another mom yells at your kid?" In that chapter you are given advice on different scenerios from being the mom texting, to the mom who is doing the yelling--this chapter seriously had me running to the bathroom because, well I was laughing hard, and you know how it is when you had a baby...OK OK I almost peed my pants! Fine I said it.

          This book is definitely not PC, as we in the biz call it (I am unsure why I just said that) but that is why I love it. It's funny, it's direct, it uses curse words, it says the things that we as moms are thinking, yes even you  super mom that whip up those amazing cupcakes in the shape of a camel, including the hump filled with blue water colored frosting for a class of twenty five in one night and can eat anything she wants and not gain a pound. You will even  find a chapter in this book that will make you crack one of those perfect smiles. God, I want to be you....    
      Anyway, anyone who reads this book will laugh and take a deep breath and think, "thank GOODNESS I am not the only one!"  Instead of the parenting books that fill you with guilt and foreboding about what an awful mother you are going to become, this book pats you on the back and says, "hey there buddy, you are doing a satisfactory job." And at the end of the day, that's all you can ask for!
     This is such a wonderful light hearted funny read and it is my absolute pleasure to review it and to tell you all, nay, demand, that you all buy numerous copies and give them to your friends, families, or even mortal enemies (yeah I am talking to you Wonder Mother....) Share the joy of being a Sh*tty Mom with everyone!




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