Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No Ride Up? Check. Wedgie Free? Check. Easier to Sort? Check Check. Prevents Boys From Grabbing Their Man Parts? Ummmm....

I'm too busy to review things these days. Yep. Too busy. Not enough time in the day, people. Oh - hang on. Was that a Hanes campaign? Oooh, girls, sign me UP. Sign me up and send those socks and underwear my way.

And so they did. The good people at Hanes and Parent Blogger Network have generously allowed our family to test run their line of socks and underwear for girls and boys.
And did we test run the heck out of these babies.

First, here is the normal state of the "sock bin" at Casa Get in the Car...

Sad, isn't it. What if...what if there were socks that were slightly easier to match? The girls would have cute pink toe boxes and the boys would have blue ones. And then my sock bin would look like this....
Okay, I'm not there. Yet. But Hanes has some great products. We reviewed the Hanes Girls’ No Ride Up Panty with their Comfort Fit Promise (and they have those handy printed labels instead of tags, which irritates so many kids), the Boys No Ride Up Brief, the Boys No Gap Fly Boxers, and the best part (for mom) their Shaped To Fit Ankle Socks for Girls & Boys.

When my youngest daughter wears skirts, she wants full coverage of her booty area. This is where the Hanes Briefs come in very handy. She has comfort, no wedgies (for real. No. Wedgies.), and doesn't give a second thought to her panties all day.

When she wears jeans, it's a totally different story. Any mom with girls over the age of six months knows that jeans only come in the low rider/hipster/where the heck is the zipper it's only an inch long variety. Which means normal panties stick over the waist band of the jeans. So. Not. Cool. Mom.

With the Hanes bikini panties - Chloe was covered and still cool in her jeans. Enough coverage to make me happy, lower fit to make her not humiliated enough to die a thousand deaths, OMG.

As for my son - he wore the bejeezus out of the socks. We have dark wood floors in our house, which means sticky dirty kid feet tend to make an impression on them. Hence, my "socks on the feet at all times" rule while in the house. Unfortunately, this also means that my kids invariably run outside with their socks on...and no shoes...and the socks end up looking like this in a few days:

We've been wearing the Hanes socks non-stop for the past few weeks and not a hole in sight.

In addition to no holes, Jacob has been sporting the most adorable boxer shorts just like his dad - which he loves. But when he's wearing jeans or tighter fitting shorts, the briefs we tried out were well-fitting, and again, wedgie free.

So, a Hanes mom I am, and will continue to be. And with a family of six, that's a lot of Hanes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Brainetics Review: Barbie Wasn't The Only One...

Who thought math was hard. Do you remember that? The Barbie who complained about math and created an enormous backlash within the feminist community? I was so furious to read about that at the time - well before I had children. I thought that half of the reason girls were failing in math and science was cultural. Girls weren't given a chance to excel in these areas, and the insipid marketing folks at Mattel weren't helping things along with their numbers reticent Barbie Doll.

Then I had two girls. One is brilliant at math - actually enjoys it, and other ranks it right up there with trips to the dentist. So when the wonderful women of PBN put out the call for BRAINETICS, the program that promises to help your child with math, I jumped.

Brainetics is created by Mike Byster, an uber-genius who's sole mission in life is to get kids excited about math. And he's not just any run of the mill math genius who started seeing patterns in numbers from the womb - he actually cares about children so much that he has dedicated his career to helping children get excited about numbers.

Brainetics promises that your child will learn how to compute with out pencil and paper, that it will improve their memory, concentration, and skill level. But most importantly, Brainetics promises to improve your child's confidence. Without confidence, it's pretty much hard to learn how to do anything.

Since my daughter is at the older end of the spectrum for this program, I gave her the box and said, "Have at it." Of course, I had to micromanage just a teensy bit, but for the most part she went to work on her own.

I was somewhat sceptical when I popped into her room and saw her watching television. It looked like she was watching a game show - and she was glued to the screen. Hello! Brainetics brings the lessons in five DVDs in a frenetic, exciting pace that keeps even the most reticent child's attention. This is NOT your dry math brought to you by a droning professor in the classroom. If there had been Brainetics when I was in school, I might have actually done well in math, too. This guy has a LOT of energy, and he's a lot like watching a figure skater: he makes it look easy. Maddie actually had her workbook open and in front of her as she reviewed these DVDs in her room. All I can say is, given her age, I was really surprised this held her interest. Typically, she's most easily engrossed in Teen Vogue or Harry Potter. Not math. And certainly not five math-related DVDs. When she told me how to multiply two two digit numbers in my head (not something I can do) I knew Mike was a genius.

Unlike figure skating, though, this is something almost anyone can pick up. My daughter has always liked card tricks, so Mike really spoke to her interests when he tied in mathematical skills and cards.

Most importantly, though, we have had AIMS testing all week this week, and I have been very nervous for my daughter. Yesterday I asked her teacher how she was doing.

"Well, the math section is quite challenging this year, so we'll see. But Maddie seems very relaxed and confident. Her whole demeanor over testing is different this year."

My daughter seemed confident? She wasn't visibly riddled with anxiety on math day? This is the first time ever that a teacher hasn't expressed concern over Maddie's apparent fear and loathing over math testing.

That alone is worth its weight in gold. I don't care if she's a straight A student - I just want her to like the process of learning. And clearly, so does Mike Byster.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Ultimate Tea Diet

Mark "Dr. Tea" Ukra has written a book that is, you guessed it, all about tea. The Parent Bloggers Network is reviewing his new book, so sit back, grab a cup of you know what, and see if this is for you.

The Ultimate Tea Diet is a book that talks about a lot more than just drinking tea to get healthy and/or lose weight. If it were that simple, my skinny jeans would fit a lot better by now.

Dr. Ukra takes tea to a whole new level. If you weren't already aware, here are some of the amazing properties in that product that filled the Boston Harbor, as spelled out by Dr. Ukra.

* Boosts the immune system
*Lower blood sugar and cholesterol
*Prevent cavities and tooth decay
*Decrease high blood pressure
*Prevent arthritis
*Sharpen mental focus and concentration
*Reduce the risk of stroke, heart didease, cancer and more...

Sounds like a wonder drug, doesn't it? So what does Dr. Ukra recommend we do to take advantage of these miracle-like properties?

Eat or drink tea with virtually every bite placed in your mouth. This book has pages and pages of recipes that incorporate tea in ways I never thought plausable or palatable. Craving something sweet and bad for you? Have a cup of caramel flavored tea, instead.

Making chicken for dinner? Create a rub with some tea leaves and serve with Tea-bouleh, Tea-applesauce, and some iced tea to drink.

Every meal of every day can have tea in it of you follow this diet.

I decided I had to do it in baby steps.

First, I read and enjoyed thoroughly his discussion of tea versus coffee. I have long known that drinking a pot or two of coffee a day is not healthy. And I happen love tea, I just don't drink it all that often. So I have been enjoying a cup or two in the morning, and following it with my own favorite tea. According to the good Doctor, tea contains elements that help cancel out the negative effects of the coffee when consumed imediately following your java.

So since reading this book I have gone through four or five boxes of Tazo Zen green tea. And it has helped me largely kick my coffee habit. AMAZING. That alone is worth the price of the book.

As for the tea-infused food? I had to give it a try, too. I'll admit, I read his accounts of how we are supposed to eat if we are serious about tea, and it just looked too daunting. I don't think I could do it at this stage in my life. BUT, I did have a jar of loose white tea leaves, and so I made a spicy cayenne/tea rub for my normally boring chicken breasts and it was great. I didn't taste the tea, but I was supposedly reaping the benefits - a win/win.

If anything, I liked this book because he really is quite throrough about teaching what, exactly, makes tea so healthy. Trust me when I say L-Theanine is our friend. There are chemical compounds in tea that are truly wonderful and beneficial for our bodies, and I love that because of this book I am drinking green tea every day, instead of just once in a while.