Archive for October, 2008

Boo! What’s your best Halloween story? Share to win!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

The big day is finally here…Happy Halloween!  Even before the big night, we’ve had a couple of memorable Halloween moments in our house.  Last weekend we had a Halloween party attended by 17 ghosts and goblins.  Here’s the parade…

Speed is Batman this year and two Super Girls attended the party.  He walked around the party holding each of them by the hand proclaiming “I got TWO Super Girls!  I got TWO Super Girls!”  Most of the parents laughed.  The dads of the two Super Girls did not. 

For one of the games we played “Make your Mommy a Mummy” and armed each kid with a roll of toilet paper which ended up being quite hilarious!  

Oh and I also got a kick out of seeing Speed as Batman, my husband as his faithful sidekick Robin, and my father-in-law as Superman.  Three generations of super heroes under one roof!


3 generations of super heroes!

3 generations of super heroes!

I think my favorite Halloween story though is actually my brother’s who, when he was 4, spent weeks getting excited to dress up as a ghost.  On the big night my mom got him dressed and let him look in the mirror and he got so scared that he refused to leave the house for trick-or-treating and went right to bed.

What are YOUR best and favorite Halloween moments (your own or your kids’).  I have five copies of the brand new Wiggles DVD called Sing a Song of Wiggles to give away.  (It’s a brand new  collection of your favorite foursome performing a nursery rhymes and original songs by the Wiggles – not even available in stores until November 7th).  We’ll send a copy of the DVD to five commenters chosen at random on November 3rd.  Make sure to put your email address on the comment form so I can contact you for shipping info if you win.

Wiggles DVD box

Wiggles DVD box

School Reviews Contest on!

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Today we are announcing an exciting opportunity for your school’s parent organization to win $1000 in the School Reviews Contest.

Did you know that your child’s school is profiled on’s SchoolFinder tool is designed to help parents research schools. We supply data such as test scores and student diversity statistics, but rely on parent reviews for the bigger, more personal picture. It’s easy- the top three schools with the most accepted reviews on December 20th will each win an award of $1000.  The prize will go directly to your school’s parent organization.

We hope you take advantage of this easy and fun way for you to promote your child’s school on and raise much-needed funds for your school’s parent organization. Find and review your child’s school and encourage your fellow parents to review today!

Sharing’s New and Improved Local Schools Tools with Real Estate Professionals

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Since the launch of our local school data and tools at the beginning of September, we’ve been working hard to improve the services and to respond to user suggestions. We’ve added a number of new features to the tools to increase performance and the user experience. Our Local Schools widget now allows users to show schools within a certain school district or show schools within an entire county, city, or particular zip code. The web service has similarly been enhanced and now includes multi-call and auto-expand radius functionality, and city-level information, such as average test scores and number of schools within a city.

With the launch of these new features, we thought it was a great time to reach out to a new set of users and used it as an opportunity to attend the California Association of REALTORS Expo conference in Long Beach, CA. The Expo gave us the opportunity to share the local school data and tools with agents, brokers, and other real estate sites at the largest real estate trade show in the state of California.  Finding the right neighborhood school is an integral part of the real estate buying process and access to accurate and up-to-date school information can deliver a lot of value for real estate agents and their clients.  Over 500 interested real estate professionals learned how to customize a Local Schools widget for their own site or blog by choosing the city, zip code, school district, or county they serve and customizing the color and size of the tool to fit seamlessly on their site.

REALTORS shared their enthusiasm for including school information directly on their website for their clients so easily.  It was clear that valuable information often comes at a high price, and the simple fact that the widget and school information are free was surprising and exciting to all we met. We also shared the school data web service with many in the real estate field. The web service gives developers access to the complete SchoolFinder database via an API key and was of interest to a variety of listing and search sites, such as our friends at, as well as numerous regional brokerage firms.

We learned quite a bit from our second time exhibiting (the first time was at last year’s National PTA Conference in San Diego, CA).  Our lime green lunch bags were a huge hit with everyone at the conference and we should have brought twice as many to the expo!  Also, standing all day is exhausting… good thing there was a booth selling foot massagers not too far away! Lastly, it helps to have a friendly face in the booth approach the passersby, as’s Patrick proved to us- the ladies loved him!

We were thrilled with the response from the real estate community at the Expo and hope to continue our outreach and share our SchoolFinder tools across the country.  The Local Schools widget continues to evolve, the newly added feature to customize the widget for a school district or an entire county was a result of helpful feedback from users.  Also, a WordPress plugin has been implemented so that bloggers can insert the widget successfully in WordPress blogs.  We hope to continue to improve our tools, so please let us know what you think!  Send any comments to

Help! I’m going Bangladesh on my kids.

Friday, October 17th, 2008

At Whiz’s six year well visit I finally got brave enough to tell my pediatrician the truth.  I’ve ruined my two precious children.

Are they bright, well-mannered, happy, healthy and sparkly kids?  Well, yes.

But they’re also the two pickiest eaters on the planet.  And it’s starting to drive me insane – and to embarrass me.  When we go to friends’ houses for meals I have to explain that my kids won’t be partaking in the lovely meal they’ve prepared because they eat no meat, only raw fruits and vegetables, and single ingredient main course selections like pasta or cheese.  The good news is that the things they will eat are pretty good for them and net out to a relatively healthy diet.  The problem is that if something looks or smells the tiniest bit different than the items on their short list of approved foods, they both summarily turn up their noses, declare it ‘yucky’, and refuse to eat it (or anything that’s touched it of course).  And I have enabled their insanity by serving as a short-order-chef.  Not only do I almost always make two dinners (one for grown-ups and one for kids), but I also frequently make three dinners (one for grown-ups, one for Speed, one for Whiz).  RIDICULOUS right?!?! (more…)

The holidays are coming early this year!

Monday, October 6th, 2008
Today published its 2008 Gift Guide.  I’m SO excited about it!  As things get scarier and scarier in the economy, I’m realizing that when the Jolly Old Elf and I are shopping for the boys this year, we’re going to want to make every dollar count.  We’ll likely have fewer things under the tree, so I want every one of them to be home runs!  The gift guide is going to help – a lot!

For months now our office has been full to bursting with more books and toys than you can imagine (It was like coming to work in Santa’s workshop!).  Our selection team (of editors, parents, teachers, and kids) road tested every item.  I saw our Editor-In-Chief float by my office wearing butterfly wings and watched our CEO zoom by in carpet skates.  It’s been lots of fun around here but the best part is we now have a fool-proof list for parents (and grand parents, and aunts & uncles….) to use for their holiday shopping this year.

To make the list, products had to be really fun but also have some physical, developmental, or educational benefit.  There are definitely some electronics and some cool toys made of plastic, but there are also lots of toys made of wood, fabric, and other materials that will last a long time and help kids get back to basics a bit. And most items fall in the $20 – $40 range.  It’s organized by grade level so you can shop fast and shop smart.

Check out the Gift Guide and let us know what you think.  And to help get you in the spirit, we’ll choose 10 commenters to receive Disney’s new Little Einsteins DVD The Christmas Wish (not available in stores until October 14th).  With exotic snowy landscapes, magical ballet performances and classical music and artwork, it’s a perfect treat for kids – and may let you get some online shopping done! Make sure to include your email address on the comment form so we can contact you for shipping info if you win.

Little Einsteins

Little Einsteins