Team Spirit for Your Smartphone and HopeLine

#VZWBuzz Disclosure

Dropping my smartphone and cracking the screen is something that worries me a lot. It had never happened until the morning that I can still see in slow motion. I was standing in the hallway of our elementary school. Suddenly, the phone slipped between my hand and my son’s hand. I stood there and watched helplessly as my smartphone went flying from several feet in the air to the marble floor below.  Typically, I put phones into something immediately, but had not had a chance for this one. As I picked it up off the floor, I held my breath. I was so very lucky, that phone only had a small little crack in the corner and it has not spread.

When my precious Samsung Galaxy S5 arrived, I wasted no time and went to our local Verizon Wireless store before I activated the phone. At the time, the phone had just been released and there were not a lot of cases. I still knew just what I wanted to purchase. Since I knew my boys would be using it with me, the Defender by OtterBox was calling my name. This case has saved my phone more than once. We are big OtterBox fans for our tablets and my first run with a phone case has been impressive.

Defender by OtterBox

Now imagine being able to cheer on your favorite NFL team while protecting your prized phone at the same time. Thanks to OtterBox and and the NFL pairing up – Verizon Wireless website, football fans from all 32 teams may purchase a Defender by OtterBox for their iPhone 5/5S, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S5.

Thanks to #VZWBuzz, I received a Buffalo Bills case to dress up my Galaxy S5 for football season. Since it’s the same great Defender series by OtterBox, I can let up on my defense mode to let my kids touch my phone. Oh and for those with a tendency to be butterfingers, I am able to let down my guard about fumbling my Galaxy S5. It’s also fun to see closet Buffalo Bills fans notice my case and give me a thumbs up. It isn’t every day that someone in New York can brag about a winning record in Buffalo (5-3 at the moment).

Which team OtterBox are you looking at and what would you love to see next?

If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, be sure to login to your account. When I look at mine right now, the OtterBox line is 25% off. If the NFL is not your thing, there are plenty of other great accessories available. Those with an iPhone 6 can check out the OtterBox Commuter Series supporting HopeLine from Verizon Wireless during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. There are additional items for the rest of October in purple for HopeLine like the LG Tone Pro headset on Verizon Wireless that I have been eyeing. As always, please consider donating phones that you are not using to HopeLine from Verizon where they will get the refurbished devices with 3,000 minutes and texting to survivors of domestic violence that are with participating domestic violence agencies.

Here’s the VZWBuzz Recap from October 10, 2014 with TheOnlineMom about HopeLine from Verizon.

Have you ever donated a phone to HopeLine? If you have I  would love to know your experience. If you have not, please look at the information and consider helping this amazing cause.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and accessories like the NFL Otterbox to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Tuesday Tales: Children’s Activity Atlas

Imagine a book that can take your child around the world and back again. This is the reality of the Children’s Activity Atlas – An Interactive & Fun Way to Explore Your World. I received this book from Sterling Children’s Books to review with my family.

Children's Activitry Atlas

Children’s Activity Atlas – Written by Jenny – Illustrated by Katrin Wiehle and Martin Sanders 

Published by Sterling Children’s Books August 2014 – ISBN 9781454913207 – $16.95 – Ages 5-9

The book by Jenny Slater is a hands on atlas that includes 13 illustrated maps by Katin Wiehle and Martin Sanders. The book also includes a small passport tucked away inside. This is where the book becomes something that will engage kids. The thirteen regions represented in the book with their own map have a section in the passport. The passport gives facts about that part of the world and also asks them to find answers to questions on their map. To do this, they must utilize the map grid to reply.

Children's Activity Atlas with Passport

The maps are beautiful and include capital cities, important cities, rivers, mountains, and country borders. The How to Use the Atlas section explains using the grid. The maps also have biome information and and area where children can place flags for the countries in each regions.

My older son loved looking at the maps to see areas that he has been talking about in school. He was also able to help my second grader when he wanted to explore.

Inside the Children's Activity Atlas

As a parent and teacher, I think this book is a fantastic way to get kids involved in maps and different regions of the world. The information included will likely make many want to learn more when they are finished. I could see adults making more passport questions to keep kids busy on rainy or snowy days ahead.

Do your children like to explore with maps? I would love to know favorites books that they have used to explore educational areas like this. . As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received both of these books from Sterling Children’s Books to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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Apps to Work on Math Fact Fluency and Counting Money

VZEducation disclosure

Over the last few years, the focus of math education has changed drastically at the elementary school level. Students used to spend a lot of time learning math facts and other basics, now children are diving deeper into mathematics at an earlier age. As a parent and teacher, I see a major difference in these automatic math skills from my oldest son to my younger son. At open house, my son’s teacher noted that they wanted kids to work at home on math fact fluency. They had also seen a decline in the ability of kids to just know the math facts in recent years. To help my second grader with this, we are using the online program that was suggested, but I wanted some more fun items to have on his tablet.  Thanks to Verizon Educational Tools, I was able to search for just what I was looking for. I selected two apps to try with JSL. One would work on math fact fluency and the other would practice with counting money.

Apps to Work on Math Fact Fluency and Counting Money

 

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2 is a free app that you may pay to upgrade.

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

The app that you get free includes addition facts for sums up to 10 and sums to 20. After this, you can pay to unlock subtraction, money, and time categories for additional math skill practice. These additional bundles cost 99 cents each or you can get the three for $1.99.

Lakeshore shares that the app was made to meet these objectives:

  • Use strategies to add and subtract fluently
  • Tell and write time in hours and half hours using analog and digital clocks
  • Add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies; know from memory all sums of two and 1-digit numbers
  • Tell and write time to the nearest five minutes using a.m. and p.m.
  • Solve word problems with dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies using dollar and cent symbols

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

There are eight levels of play for each area of the app. As kids move along they earn points and the pace continues to increase. So far, JSL has only tried the free portions of the game, but he likes it enough that we will probably spend the $1.99 to allow him to do more in the upcoming weeks. He really likes that you simply look at the math problem and pop the bubble as fast as you can to get points within 60 seconds. Your goal is to get as many points and keep bubbles from hitting the water where they pop.

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2 - addition

I appreciate the simplicity of this app. It does not make JSL anxious as he works on fluency of math facts. Some educational apps go too quickly, increase music volume, and can make even an adult nervous. The cute frog blowing bubbles that you need to pop while doing math is perfect to keep kids practicing over and over again. Another item to think about is that Bubble Pop Math Challenge 3-4 is also available and works with children on multiplication, division, rounding, and fractions.

Freefall Money – Coin Math

Freefall Money – Coin Math is a free app that is available to help children work on counting money.

Freefall Money - Coin Math

While JSL can count money, he needs a bit more practice. This seems to have been covered only a little in previous years, so I wanted to make sure that JSL could go shopping and count money on his own. The nice thing about Freefall Money is that you can adjust the settings. Kids can work their way up from problems using only three coins to ten.

Freefall Money – Coin Math

The coin illustrations are wonderful and do a great job for kids to recognize. If the coins are too close together, you are able to move them apart to make it easier to count the amount of money easier. Kids can match coins to amounts, tell the amount, and fill the piggy bank with a specific amount of money. The level of difficulty can be adjusted from three to ten coins at a time.

What apps have you used with your children to increase their math fluency and comfort levels? Please share any math level because kids of all ages can use practice to keep their skills in check. The key is to find something that your children like and does not seem like extra work, but is more fun while they learn.

It's Me

Disclosure: I am participating in a paid campaign about Verizon Educational Tools. I will be sharing how I have used this with my family.  I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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Halloween Costume Selections

Captain America and Harry Potter have left the building and will not be here for Halloween this year. Our house will have two new characters wandering around later this month.

Star-Lord and Darth Vader Pig costumes for Halloween

After several years in a row, we decided to let the boys select something new. We started looking at one location, and then made our way to the party store where there was a much larger selection. Gone are the days when it was easy to pick a cute costume and the boys would just wear them and be happy.

Things get complicated when you have one child that needs adult sizes because he’s too tall for the kid sizes. Then, you have to weed out ones that are not appropriate for an eleven year old and are too pricey. Sorry, but I can not justify $50 for a super hero that does not include any of their accessories. By the time you add in a wig, weapon, and various other key items, it would be well over $100 (conservative guess there).

When we were finally able to leave the store, TechyDad and I had two boys that were thrilled with their selections. Of course, later on in the day I saw JSL take his costume out of the bag. He was already half dressed by the time I caught him. I had him go outside with me for a photo shoot. There is just something fun about Star-Lord.

Star-Lord Costume for Kids

Alright, I admit I was saying I am Groot to get the kiddo to laugh. If I had the time, I probably would figure out a way to do something with Groot.

We Are Groot - Perler Beads and Disney Infinity 2

It’s time to share what Halloween costumes your family have this year. What did your kids select and did they have a tough time deciding? Are you dressing up or do you have a costume you would love to wear if you did?

It's Me

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Time for Sukkot

It’s hard to believe that Sukkot is already here. The holiday season continues with the start of Sukkot at sundown this evening. The kids have been talking about it at Hebrew School. JSL came home with an edible sukkah on Sunday.

Edible Sukkah for Sukkot

Making one of these was something we talked about for a family celebration that I am helping to run. If you are interested in making them, it is very simple. You just need the following items:

      • Paper plates for building – to construct your sukkah on
      • Graham crackers – three squares make the sukkah walls
      • Frosting – holds the pieces together
      • Small pretzel rods – for the sukkah roof
      • Candy pieces – kosher candies like mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, gum drops, fruit shapes, and licorice

Kids can make their sukkah while listening to Sukkot stories like The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery which I shared on Tuesday Tales in the past.

Now I am off to finish preparations for three fun Sukkot related art projects that I will be helping to coordinate over the weekend. I leave you with a fun Sukkot Style spoof from The Maccabeats.

Additional Sukkot posts sharing great projects that my children have done over the years can be found here:

Happy holiday to all that celebrate and please feel free to share how you traditionally decorate your sukkah.

It's Me

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