Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PhotoWorks $50 gift card giveaway

When Smartypants, my 10.5 year old was born, we took a million pictures of him. Maybe not that many, but at the time we were still using film (film!), and I have many photo albums from his early years.

About five or so years ago we went all-digital with our pictures, and I'll be darned if we've printed more than 50 of them in all that time. Sure, they are categorized and available to easy viewing right on our desktop computer. But who wants to fit four people in a single office chair and review years worth of photos?

Not me.

So when I had the chance to make a complimentary photo book from PhotoWorks, I was thrilled. I jumped in with an ambitious (for a PW virgin) project- last summer's vacation to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

In retrospect, I would have picked something a bit smaller for my first go-round, but I LOVE the results. I have a high quality photo book that I can leisurely page through as I snuggle on the couch with my boys. I can tote it to grandmas and show her the good times from our family vacation. At last I have a vacation memory book- which is crucial because I'm forty and those brain cells are dying faster than you'd believe.

Because this was my first photo book, I don't have much to compare the PhotoWorks interface and process to, but I can say I figured it all out on my own. I had many choices in terms of cover colors, layouts and fonts. In fact, so many that it overwhelmed me a bit as a newbie, but then again, no one in my family is known for their sense of design.

As far as the finished product, I already told you I love it! It's hardcover with sturdy pages and binding. The photo quality equals what I sent in- meaning, my sharp pictures came out crisp and my fuzzy ones came out, well, less sharp. My fault, not theirs. (I'm on a learning curve, people.)

I'm giving away a $50 PhotoWorks gift card to one lucky winner. You can use the credit toward a photo book or any other PhotoWorks products like cards or gift items.

RULES To enter, leave a comment below letting me know what PhotoWorks project(s) you'll make if you win. Entries from US residents will be accepted through 11:30 AM CST 1/26. Blog or Tweet this post for an extra entry each (come back and comment to let me know you did so). You can also gain an extra entry by subscribing to my main blog.

Monday, January 19, 2009

KenKen: the new Sudoku

Move over Sudoku, there's a new game in town- KenKen. It's the latest international puzzle craze.

We were sent a KenKen book (price around $9) in order to experience these math logic puzzles for ourselves. My eight-year-old and I took to them immediately. Well, once we figured out what were were supposed to do.

KenKen builds numeric skills through simple arithmetic puzzles that involve simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, or sometimes all four operations. See an example here.

Ken is the Japanese word for wisdom. Get yourself a double dose of wisdom--make that a three double doses, because I'm giving away a set of three KenKen books to one lucky winner.

These make for great unplugged entertainment on long snowbound days and are perfectly portable, making them great for travel, too.

RULES To enter, leave a comment below. Entries from US residents will be accepted through 9:30 AM CST 1/19. Blog or Tweet this post for an extra entry each (come back and comment to let me know you did so). You can also gain an extra entry by subscribing to my main blog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chopped: the new Food Network show

Get the scoop on Chopped over at Stacy Libby's blog, Laptop TV Mom. She was part of a phone call with host-to-be Ted Allen. He was a hoot when he spoke to us at Camp Baby, and it sounds like he's just as amusing over the phone.

For an more official take on the show, click over to Food Network.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Zenses Giveaway!

I'm too busy with Twitter and (yes, finally) Facebook to play video games, but when the folks at Game Factory sent me Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest for free, I figured the games were worth a try. With thoughts of Punta Cana on my mind, I opened the Ocean game and negotiated the use of Pikachu's Nintendo DS.

These games are advertised as addictive puzzles for women over the age of 25, which in some ways puzzles me, but DH had little interest in them, so I guess they know their target market. As for eight-year-old Pikachu, he pretended not to like the Zenses games, but was sucked in before the first puzzle was solved.

Zenses Ocean
features six games with puzzles accompanied by spa-type new agey music. It's like Brain Age lite. There's no annoying professor or depressing brain age labels, but users might find themselves thinking a bit to meet the challenges. Gals (and guys) can set the level of challenge for each game and play to her heart's content.

I'm not one to pick up my boys' DSs and wile away my time- that's what Twitter is for!- but I did find these games rather addictive once I started playing. And, because my visual-spatial abilities are, well, lacking, and my memory is fading, I found some of these puzzles pretty challenging. I felt portions of my tired old gray matter springing back to life!

I'm giving away a copy of Zenses Rainforest for Nintendo DS, which also features six multi-level games and a soothing soundtrack. See a trailer for it here.

RULES To enter, leave a comment below letting me your big time sinks. Entries from US residents will be accepted through 9:30 CST 1/12. Blog or Tweet this post for an extra entry each (come back and comment to let me know you did so). You can also gain an extra entry by subscribing to my main blog. Please note I will be sending my unopened Rainforest game to the winner via USPS.

Good luck!