Saturday, August 27, 2016

FIND IT GAMES "MYTHICAL CREATURES" REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

 A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free & was provided one to giveaway

Dragons, Trolls and Unicorns have been capturing people's imagination in fairy tales for generations.  The Mythical Creatures edition of FIND IT® GAMES allows players the fun experience of searching for and discovering fantastic animals, creepy monsters, and magical treasures.  Shake, twist and spin the game to search for mythical creatures and artifacts that range from the elusive Big Foot to the enchanting Cupid's Arrow.  Forty items are hidden to be discovered in a sealed see through cylinder filled with colorful pellets.  A variety of weights, dimensions and colors make some things easier to find than others when playing the game which makes for a fun and challenging experience.  Our family has really enjoyed competing against each other to see who can be the first to find all the hidden objects contained within FIND IT: MYTHICAL CREATURES.

To share our family's enjoyment of the game with our A Geek Daddy blog readers and social media followers, we have a FIND IT: MYTHICAL CREATURES game to giveaway.  Who wants it?!



To be eligible for this giveaway you must follow @Geekdad248 on Twitter and retweet our original contest tweet embedded above before August 31, 2016 @ 11:59 pm EST.  Must be a US  resident over the age of 18 to participate. No P.O. Boxes allowed for delivery of the prize.  One entry per person and winner will be selected from all eligible entries. Identity Games International will be responsible for the delivery of the prize to the selected winner. By participating in this promotion you waive any liability of any kind against the publisher of this blog. A Geek Daddy is providing this giveaway contest as a benefit to our readers and social media followers and has not been financially compensated for this promotion.

There are several ways to play FIND IT.  One way is to download and print out a check list of all the items contained within the container.  People can play by themselves seeking out all the items or compete against other players to see who can find all the items first.  Another option is to deal out the clue cards that come with the game.  Each card has examples of items a player can collect.  Players take turns searching for items that meet the requirements on their cards.  Players get rid of their cards when they've made a match.  The first person without any cards in front of them wins the match.  FIND IT is flexible in providing suggestions on how to play the game but also allows players to determine their own rules to follow so the only limit on enjoying the game is a person's own imagination.

Whether you are 6 or 106, a person can have fun playing this game.  Because it is self-contained there are no parts or pieces that need to be manipulated or handled.  Nor is there any need to set up or clean up this game.  Because FIND IT games are compact, self-contained adventures they are easy to pull out for an entertaining family game night and make for ideal distraction to keep kids amused while traveling for a family road trip.  Find It Games are made from high-impact plastic tubing to ensure these "contained adventures" stay contained.

In addition to MYTHICAL CREATURES there are a variety of FIND IT games to choose from with a multitude of themed objects to search for.  Can you find the buried treasure in the PIRATES versions of FIND IT?  How about the T-Rex in the DINO version?  Can you spot the giraffe in the WILDLIFE game?  There are currently 12 versions of FIND IT to choose from.  To check them all out and for more information, please visit finditgames.com


Friday, August 26, 2016

A DOG'S PURPOSE - Movie Release Date + Trailer

Today is #NationalDogDay which seems like the perfect time to announce the release date and trailer for Amblin Entertainment & Universal Pictures upcoming movie A DOG'S PURPOSE. Based upon the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Purpose shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.  This family-friendly film told from the dog's perspective (voiced by Josh Gad) stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Roberson, K.J. Apa, Juilet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz and Pooch Hall.



A Dog's Purpose arrives at movie theaters across the United States on January 27, 2017.  For more information visit adogspurposemovie.com or follow the movie's twitter account @a_dogs_purpose


#ADogsPurpose

Thursday, August 25, 2016

River Raisin National Battlefield Park

August 25th marked the 100th anniversary of Congress creating the National Park Service as an agency of the United States Department of the Interior when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act into law. As its name implies, the agency manages all of the U.S. national parks, as well as many national monuments, conservation areas, and historical sites.  All together the National Park Service manages 412 sites covering more than 84 million acres across the United States as well as locations in American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  While Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and the monuments along the National Mall in Washington D.C. are some of the best known locations, properties managed by Park Service range from the 13.2 million acre Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve in Alaska to the 0.02 acre Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania.  You can do a search for locations that may be near your home or an area you plan on visiting at nps.gov/findapark.

I used this online feature and discovered the River Raisin National Battlefield Park which is located in the community of Monroe, Michigan about an hour away from our home.  To commemorate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service my kids and I spent the afternoon of August 25th exploring the site.  River Raisin National Battlefield Park marks the spot of a major skirmish that took place during the War of 1812 between a U.S. force of 1,000 soldiers consisting of the U.S. Army's 17th Infantry Regiment and units of the Kentucky militia under the command of General James Winchester versus an opposing force of 600 British Red Coats and Canadian militia aided by 800 Native American allies.  It was a disastrous engagement for the United States with only 33 of the 1,000 Americans escaping the battlefield without being killed or captured during the fighting that took place January 18 - 22, 1813.  Additionally, the day after the battle dozens of wounded and captured Americans who were abandoned when the British withdrew from the battlefield were scalped and brutally murdered by the Red Coats' Native American allies in what is referred to as the River Raisin Massacre.  General William Henry Harrison, who later become President of the United States, at the time of the battle called it a "national calamity" and inspired the battle cry "Remember the Raisin" used throughout the remainder of the war by U.S. forces.



In 2000, an excavation taking place on the property that now makes up the national park discovered a line of scattered human remains which archeologists believe identified the main skirmish line for the 17th U.S. Infantry Regiment during the Battle at River Raisin.  This helped spur Congress to incorporate the site into the National Park Service.  River Raisin National Battlefield Park opened in 2011.

When thinking of battles that took place on American soil, Revolutionary War and Civil War sites are the ones that most often come to mind.  River Raisin National Battlefield Park is a reminder that the War of 1812 also was a deadly conflict impacting the country and that Michigan was a cross road in determining the future of  the United States.  When driving around Metro Detroit and southeastern Michigan today it is hard to imagine the area 200 years ago as a wild frontier that was a contested gateway to the growth of the United States beyond the original 13 colonies.  River Raisin National Battlefield Park pays tribute to those people who lost their lives fighting in a battle long forgotten by the general public in a conflict that contributed to shaping the country we live in today.



At the park's visitor center you can watch a 15 minute video which provides the history of the War of 1812 and the battle at River Raisin's role in the conflict.  It also provides an excellent narrative that describes how the events of the battle unfolded.  Combined with two wall-sized maps that can be referred to during the video presentation, it is easy to picture how the skirmish took place on the grounds surrounding the visitor center.

The visitor center also features several full-scale vignettes that show how American and British troops may have appeared during the battle.  The life-like statues show U.S. enlisted infantry, Kentucky militia, British Red Coats, and a Native American warrior.  Original military firearms from that time period are also on display.



There are also several miniature dioramas on display that depict scenes from the War of 1812 including the skirmish at River Raisin, the naval battle of Lake Erie, and the decisive victory in the battle of the Thames by the United States that re-established its control of the Old Northwest Territory.


Visitors can also try on costumes replicating the clothing the combatants would have worn during the War of 1812.  My kids and I tried on the hats that were part of the standard uniform for the U.S. Army's infantrymen during that time period while we checked out the various artifacts, diagrams, pictures, and maps on display at the visitor center.  We learned about history and had fun while exploring the River Raisin National Battlefield Park.

The grounds of the park contain a .6 mile paved Battlefield Loop Trail with historical markers.  There is also a 1 mile crushed rock nature trail that meanders through the battlefield grounds.  A trail also connects the national park with nearby Sterling State Park which has 6 miles of hiking paths through a marsh habitat, fishing lagoons, and Lake Erie beach access.



In addition to exploring the battlefield, my kids earned patches from a park ranger for learning about native Michigan flowers, herbs, and vegetables that are grown onsite during our visit.



We had a nice summer road trip adventure visiting River Raisin National Battlefield Park.  It is open 7 days per week from 9am to 5pm excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.  Admission is FREE.  For more information about the park, visit nps.gov/rira.



Monday, August 22, 2016

Back to School Crayola Products - Crayons, Markers & Colored Pencils

** A Geek Daddy received the featured products for free to review **

It's the beginning of Second Grade for my twins beginning on September 6th.  Thanks to a complimentary box of crayons, markers, and colored pencils, Crayola sent our way my kids will be well stocked for returning to school.  Getting a brand new box of Crayola crayons was always a fun part of returning to classes after summer break for all the neighborhood kids when I was in elementary school.  If you were lucky your parents would get you the monstrous 64 crayon super box with a built in sharpener in the package.  Buying Crayola products when it comes to back to school shopping is still a family tradition but for my kids they now have many more tremendous products to choose from then when I was their age.



One of the modern updates to Crayola products that I really appreciate as a parent is their line of Ultra-Clean Washable markers and crayons.  These non-toxic crayons and markers are specially formulated to wash clean from skin, clothing, and even painted walls.  Featured in classic colors as well as in a variety of other fun shades kids can engage in self-expression without parents or teachers worrying about having to cleanup a mess.  Today's children can create more vibrant art work then when I was a kid with Color Max products which provide the brightest, truest colors that Crayola has ever offered.  Look for Crayola's Ultra-Clean and Color Max labels when doing back to school shopping.


In many class rooms, traditional black chalk boards have been replaced with more modern white dry erase boards.  Crayola offers a variety of dry erase crayons ranging from traditional shades to cool neon colors.



What kid wouldn't enjoy creating school projects and personal works of art with markers infused with tasty and funny scents such as Buttered Popcorn and Barn Yard.  Each scented marker in the Washable Doodle Scents pack is also decorated with fun character illustrations inspired by its smell.  My daughter just adores these Doodle Scents markers!



My son really enjoys using colored pencils in the drawings and illustrations he creates.  Crayola's Twistables and Erasable colored pencils have worked out really well for him.  I hadn't thought about it until he started using Crayola Erasable colored pencils but most brands really aren't very erasable.  With these easy-to-erase pencils from Crayola, kids can easily make changes or fix mistakes without worrying about having to start over again.  Twistables allow users to avoid having to sharpen or peel a traditional wood colored pencil. The clear plastic shell shows how much color is left and protects a pencil from breaking while it's being used.



To see all of the great products Crayola has to offer for use at home and school, please visit Crayola.com

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Supergirl Incorporated Into LEGO Dimensions Experience

Supergirl has received a burst of popularity since the launch last year of a new television series.  Now the super heroine is leaping into the action of the LEGO Dimensions video game as a playable character. Beginning in late September of 2016 for a limited time, LEGO Dimensions Starter Packs for Sony PlayStation 4 computer entertainment systems will include an exclusive, bonus Supergirl LEGO minifigure.  In addition to Supergirl, the LEGO Dimensions PS4 Starter Pack will include the videogame, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway,  LEGO minifigures of Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle, plus the LEGO Batmobile and the LEGO Toy Pad, which allows players to transport special LEGO minifigures and models into the game.



The Supergirl LEGO minifigure will have a number of extraordinary in-game abilities to help solve puzzles and battle enemies, including Super Strength, Flying, X-Ray Vision, and Beam Attacks which enable her to shoot heat beams out of her eyes.  She can also transform into Supergirl Red Lantern with additional abilities such as firing powerful Red Lantern energy bolts and energy beams from her Red Lantern Ring.



If you aren't able to obtain the Supergirl minifigure through this limited edition PS4 Starter Pack, the character will also become available in the near future as a "Hire-a-Hero" option for all consoles.  This is a feature in LEGO Dimensions that allows players to sample characters using studs collected in the game.  Players can select the hologram minifigure near certain hint stones to unlock characters for a limited time to try out their special abilities to solve problems and complete puzzles.

LEGO Dimensions is developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. For more information about the video game, visit lego.com/en-us/dimensions

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Miraculous Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir T-Shirt Contest

Have you ever seen a t-shirt design and thought to yourself I could create something better than that? Well fans of the animated television show Miraculous Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir have the chance to do just that! ZAG Entertainment, the producers of the television show about a pair of teenage super heroes battling evil doers in Paris, France, has partnered with We Love Fine to host a t-shirt contest.  Participants who submit their own original artwork featuring the characters from the animated series will compete for the chance to have their designs purchased by We Love Fine for artwork on the t-shirts they sell.  How cool would it be to be walking down the street and see someone wearing a shirt featuring art you created displayed on the front of it?!

Eligible entries will be displayed at welovefine.com where visitors can vote on their favorites.  So if you don't have the artistic touch but are fans of Ladybug and Cat Noir you can cast a vote for the designs you'd like to wear on a t-shirt.  Submissions with the best ratings will be offered the opportunity to be created into t-shirts that will be distributed through the We Love Fine retail network.

To submit an entry, click here.
To check out the entries and vote, click here.


Miraculous Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir follows the adventures of Marinette and Adrien, two high school kids who have been entrusted with an important mission -- they need to capture akumas, which are creatures that can turn normal people into super powered villains.  To accomplish this task they turn into teen age superheroes, Marinette transforms into Ladybug and Adrien becomes Cat Noir.  There is a twist though...they don't know each others secret identities.  Marinette doesn't know that beneath his Cat Noir costume is Adrien whom she has a crush on.  On the other hand, Adrien has a crush on Ladybug not knowing that she is actually in fact his friend from school Marinette.



You can catch the television show Saturday mornings at 8:30 am ET/PT being broadcast in the United States on Nickelodeon.  Several full episodes are also available to view for free online at nick.com. Also check out the newly released music video of Laura Marano performing the show's theme song.

Roald Dahl's THE BFG -- the animated movie

 ** A Geek Daddy received the featured product for free to review **

This year The Roald Dahl Literary Estate is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the beloved children's book author who gave the world with wonderful stories such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The BFG, with Roald Dahl Day on September 13, 2016.  Joining in the celebration PBS has recently released a digitally restored version of the 1989 animated movie, ROALD DAHL'S THE BFG on DVD.  This cartoon version of the popular children's book would be a nice to treat to include in your family's own Roald Dahl Day party or a similarly themed event at a school or your local public library.  To help you join in this year's worldwide celebration of the author's life on September 13th, a FREE downloadable party pack is available to download from the official Roald Dahl website.  Pick up a copy of ROALD DAHL'S THE BFG from the Shop PBS online store and download the Roald Dahl Day party pack to host your own fun event.

In ROALD DAHL'S THE BFG, little orphan Sophie is snatched from her bed one moonlit night by a giant who whisks her away on a magical, thrilling, and funny adventure.  Unlike scary giants, the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is a good giant who blows sweet dreams into the bedroom windows of children as they slumber.  When Sophie learns that a monstrous band of not so nice giants is off to England to gobble up innocent boys and girls, she sets out to stop them once and for all with the help of her new, rather large, friend.


If you grew up enjoying Hanna-Barbara cartoons on Saturday morning television like I did, this heart warming animated movie will bring back memories of those types of cartoons which aren't as common anymore. Parents can enjoy this cartoon experience with their kids by watching this film together.  Produced by British animation studio Cosgrove Hall, the UK's equivalent of Hanna-Barbara for children's programming, the fantastic world of Roald Dahl comes to life in this classic animated feature about the amazing power of friendship between a little girl and a big-hearted Giant.  My kids really enjoyed spending an evening munching popcorn while watching this family friendly movie on the living room television set with Mom and Dad.

In addition to the re-released movie, the DVD also includes a never-before-seen Roald Dahl documentary.  In the documentary, Roald Dahl talks about several of the well-known books he has written including The BFG, The Witches and Matilda.  It also includes excerpts from these books read by renowned British stage and voiceover actor Sir Michael Hordern.  By purchasing this entertaining movie from Shop PBS you are also supporting PBS ability to provide interesting and informative television programming as the proceeds support America's largest public media enterprise.