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September 21, 2011

test for blake


MORE WORDS!!!! This is 7 of the 8 of us at the Knorr4 Cook-off which was hosted at BlogHer'11. Just looking at the picture makes me want to run back and experience all of it again. AH-MAZE-ING. For real.
It was such an amazing experience and to any of you bloggers out there, please go to BlogHer'12. PLEASE! You will NOT regret it. There is such a comraderie between everyone. We just get each other. We know what it's like to try to build your name, keep the kids happy, stay sane and do what you love.

Knorr and BLAKE IS MESSING WITH MY POST!!!!!!! did an amazing job. The day of the competition started out fantastic, but by the time I was prepping my food I had become nervous. Jan, from A little Glimpse (the one on my right) was so kind and just kept reminding me to take a deep breath.

We were able to use the kitchen to prep all of our dishes. I was getting sick to my stomach because I had specifically prepared something that was delicious, full of flavor, but most importantly, easy for every day cooks. Around me, wow, the dishes were amazing. Tons of fresh ingredients, some I'd never even worked with before. I kept thinking, "Ok, um I really should have gone for something more impressive!" Then I would think, no, this is what I'm all about. I want to teach people that you can start off slow and easy, but still impress your friends, family and loved ones.

By the time we made it out to the Knorr booth I was feeling anxious to get cooking. It's funny because once the cameras turned on and we were cooking our recipes I actually felt completely fine. Not at all nervous. Well, not true. At the beginning everyone was introducing themselves and one contestant had a whole crowd of supporters while the rest of us didn't know a soul at BlogHer. That threw me for a second. Everyone erupted in cheers for her and I leaned over to Crepes of Wrath and said, "wow. Nothing like having the crowd cheer for your competitor." But, let me make it clear... I wasn't bugged. I just had that moment of, "I have no one here in person cheering me on." AND THEN....
Amy from Super Healthy Kids showed up and gave me a little thumbs up and a smile. Friends, I suddenly was perfectly fine. I remembered who I was, why I was there and that I had all of you cheering me on from all over the United States. (Thank you so much for your sweet comments, emails, texts, and tweets) Love you all ;)

Away we all cooked. I loved it. Can I have my own show? Knorr, why don't you think about that? It would be awesome. We could teach recipes through the internet vs. cable. Call me ;)
I had met Sydney, an amazing chef that competed on Chopped, and he let me talk through my whole recipe with him. I felt like I had already had a dry run. The cameras watched our every move. Einav asked us questions. We cooked. We cooked some more. Then it ended and we all took a huge, deep breath.

Want to watch me in action? I know you do!!! Click HERE see how it all went down and what I have to say about Knorr!

So, then we waited around, did some interviews and got hit with exhaustion. All of us kept saying that once we were done we were suddenly so tired. We had all been nervous etc. Anyway, then they announced the winners.

Oh guys, I thought I had no chance. I had 100% decided that my prize was just getting to come so I kinda just chilled. Then Einav announced my name. You can kind of see it in the video, I say, "Shut the front door!" Haha. I'm so embarassed. What a dork. Oh well. Too late now. Can't be taking that back. I was just so shocked!!!!!!

This experience was AMAZING. The chefs are so talented. Knorr is a quality company and Oglivy is one of the best PR companies I've worked with (And I've worked with a lot being on the Simply the Sweet Life team).

I can't tell you how much I believe in Knorr. It's a company that truly cares about their products and wants to help consumers to know how to use it and become better cooks.
I'm so excited to have the opportunity to get out there and talk to people about what I believe in, Reinventing Family Dinner. It's so important. I would give anything to teach the world that cooking does not have to be a chore. It doesn't have to be hard, time consuming and expensive. Being in the kitchen helps families create healthier food choices and healthier lives. It does. You think more about what you're eating and how much. It's the best place to bond with your loved ones. You get to teach your children how to cook, about math and science and you get to spend quality time together which opens up the door for your children to talk to you. Really talk to you.

Here's what I love about the Knorr Concentrated Homestyle stock. Since so many of you have asked why I prefer it.
*More flavor vs the tasteless water that other stocks can be
*Ease of use. You can use it without diluting it like I did, or you can add it to ANY liquid
*Ease of storage. Hello!! No more cartons and cans taking up so much space in your pantry.
*Quality. It's quality stock. Period.


here are some short form rules written in HTML

So grateful for this experience. I am so excited!!
I hope you'll all stop by and say hello. I love hearing from people. (What blogger doesn't?)

December 22, 2010

MasterCard MarketPlace makes savvy shopping a snap

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and MasterCard MarketPlace - and I'm giving away $100! Contest is now over - but the deals are still happening!

I'm not always the savviest shopper, when it comes to finding great deals. I'm also easily irritated by bargain-hunting crowds and the Extreme Holiday Shopping mentality. I want to get a good deal, but I also want to stay in my comfort zone with familiar retailers and products that I don't have to fight over at 4am. All this adds up to a whole lot of online shopping as the winter holidays approach...and a whole lot of uncertainty that I'm getting a great price.

I know there are sales and discounts out there, but I rarely have time to seek them out. In fact, my inbox is already crowded with mostly-unwanted emails from online retailers, announcing deals that rarely make me sit up and pay attention.

BlogHer asked me to sign up for MasterCard MarketPlace to check out their deals. It took me less than a minute to create an account, and begin selecting merchants that I'd like to receive special deals from. I wanted to see if there were better, more customized deals available through MasterCard MarketPlace.

Lo and behold, I've been really impressed by the significant discounts being offered by some of my favorite stores (helloooooo Sephora!) and the special limited time deals are fabulous (and happen year 'round!) I love that if you've indicated interest in a particular company and signed up for e-mail alerts, you'll receive a heads-up advance notice email so you don't miss the opportunity to shop . This has already helped me check off some important gifts on my list, at a discount that makes me feel like doing the "Rocky At The Top Of The Stairs Fist Pump."

Now, because MasterCard is behind all this - they've got extra special deals for MasterCard cardholders who register with the site. Holiday Overwhelming Offers are these really great, really short-time 50% off offers that get posted every weekday, until December 24th, at 1pm Eastern. That kind of thing makes me hyperventilate with excitement. They say Overwhelming Offers provide Overwhelming joy. Sounds about right to me!

Do you want to easily uncover Black Friday-like deals at deep discounts all year long? Check out MasterCard MarketPlace, and share your favorite deal in the comments. I'm going to be awarding one lucky commenter a $100 MasterCard gift card from BlogHer so you can get your shop on. Not only that - you've got 19 chances to win, because there are 19 other BlogHer Reviewers telling you about their experience with MasterCard MarketPlace this holiday season, and they're all hosting giveaways too. Check the Exclusive Offers section section for more details.


  • No duplicate comments.
  • You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  • a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.
  • Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST on December 31, 2010.
  • This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
  • Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
  • You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • The Official Rules are available here.

October 20, 2010

Do as I say, not as I do.

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and LG Text Ed

A few weeks back, I dropped my iPhone for the 900th time and finally killed it. Of course, trying to purchase a replacement phone in Silicon Valley on a same-day basis was unthinkable, and instead, I brought home a temporary phone - an olde skool flip-phone with very basic features.

To me, it was a temporary jail sentence. To my 11-year-old daughter, it represented The Future.

"Mom, when you are done with the phone, can I have it?" she asked.

"Uh, why do you need a cell phone?"

"So, I can text with my friends! And take funny photos to send to people!"

Yeah. I'm not sure that's a good idea. Especially after I saw her cock her hip to the side and hold the phone aloft to take an overhead, profile-style self-portrait.

See, as a parent, I'm not always the best example for my kids. I cuss in front of them on occasion, goose my husband in the buns when he walks through the front door, and don't always demonstrate mature, responsible behavior with my cell-phone.

In fact, when I call my husband, a close-up shot of my cleavage appears on his cell-phone, a shot that my kids saw me jokingly taking. We've had some risque conversations via text and face-time chat, albeit not THAT risque, and not in front of the kids.

My 11-year old is quite web-savvy, and we've done a lot of talking (and double-checking) about web safety and common sense behavior both online and off. We control her internet access and review her activities with her, and I've explained that while I trust her to do the right thing online, I also don't expect her to know what the right thing is in any given situation, which is why we are actively involved in her online life, with her full knowledge and permission.

Hey, it's one of the benefits of being a mommyblogger - she assumes I'm all-knowing and all-seeing on the internet.

But with a cell-phone, the element of "mom could be looking over my shoulder" is lessened. While I plan on spending a lot of time talking about all the possible repercussions of sexting and sharing inappropriate images, I am aware that I haven't set the best example.

Do I have to clean up my own act in order to set a better example for my kids? Does a slightly raunchy text between two old married people even count as sexting?

How do you start the conversation with your kids?

Each comment left on this post benefits with a $0.50 donation!

Visit LG Text Ed , where Dr. Rosalind Wiseman explains the dangers and consequences of this new form of flirting. You can also watch Emmy award winning actress Jane Lynch share a lesson on the sensitive stuff kids are sending around without thinking about the consequences.   

September 23, 2010

You try your best, but sometimes poo happens.

This is a sponsored post from 8th Continent and BlogHer.

BlogHer and 8th Continent asked me to share one of my many mommy-blunder moments in support of their new campaign that celebrates the real soul of motherhood: doing your best every day, and trying not to screw up too much. Can I get an amen?

Read on to hear about one of my hall-of-famers, and then share your own awesometastic parenting blunders in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card and a 6-month supply of 8th Continent products. Contest has ended! Winner announced soon :)

Ah, motherhood. From the moment you first lay eyes on your child, you are owned, heart and soul. And by owned? I mean PWNED.

There is (pretty much) nothing you won't attempt in order to earn a smile from your little tyrant. You'll find yourself frosting elaborate cupcakes and handcrafting color-coordinated decorations for a birthday party populated by kids who communicate like chimpanzees. You'll spontaneously break out into manic singing and dancing in order to quell a tantrum, no matter who is judging. And believe me, there's judging aplenty for a mom whose best just isn't cutting it that day.


You will stay up until midnight for a week straight to help create a science project. You will walk the halls in the early morning hours singing lullabies to teething monster children with profanities swapped in as lyrics.

You should get some sort of parenting badge for the first time you catch vomit in your hands.


Yes, for the love of your child, you'd attempt to climb Mt. Everest. The problem is that very few of us are actually equipped to climb Everest. Sure, you can hike up your yoga pants and haul that backpack full of snacks and toys all the way up to the dead zone. Moms know that once you get there, you're likely to realize you forgot an extra pair of big-boy underpants and you'll find yourself gasping for air while improvising a breechcloth with a hair scrunchy and a maxipad.

(For those of you who are trying to picture that particular fashion configuration, I'm sorry. For those of you who've lived it, I salute you.)

I've had some memorable mommy blunder moments over the years, but by far, the most hysterical was when I attempted to take my 18 month-old daughter and newborn son to the zoo:

Shortly after the birth of my second child, I ventured to the zoo for an outing with a friend. All was well until the baby had a diaper blowout of epic proportions, and my 18 month old took off for the playground while I was trying to change his diaper.

Crunch time. Baby with naked, poo-covered butt. Toddler heading for the hills. Stroller with purse and camera and video camera and enough supplies to survive a winter in the arctic plus run a triage unit in a major city hospital, resulting in a heavy load that required two hands to push.

Time's up. What do you do?

With a strangled aaaaaargh! I shouldered my month old son, slimy naked hiney displayed to God and Country, and abandoned the stroller as I sprinted after my fleeing, flapping daughter, who had the indecency to giggle and say "git you!" at me as I was closing in on her. In slow motion, I reached a hand out, and snagged her shoulder. I spun on my heel, long hair swinging in an arc, baby wailing, and toddler protesting. We made it back to the stroller and I held my daughter's torso snugly between my knees while I wrangled the baby in to a clean diaper.

And then I began to laugh and cry at the same time.

That was the transforming moment, when I went from normal woman to Evil Mommy. I'm thinking the time has come for me to design an outfit. Probably would be a good idea to stick with poo-brown, though, to save on dry cleaning.

8th Continent totally gets it - this whole mom gig. If you haven't seen their hilarious videos that feature some not-so-awesome mom moments, you've got to check them out. Here's just one example:

Nice Job, Mom. Indeed.

So, okay - let's hear it. Can you top my son's two-buns salute with bonus fleeing todder? Share your tale below for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a 6-month supply of 8th Continent products. Then, go share another tale or eight with my fellow BlogHer Reviewers - you've got 8 chances to win!

Then, submit your amusing parenting faux pas on our 8th Continent Facebook App and join the hundreds of stories from moms just like you. Share it with your friends and vote on your favorites. You could win a room of choice makeover from Home Line Furniture or the grand prize of a complete adventure package from Caravan Tours.

8th Continent is also on Twitter. As am I. Even sometimes when I am supervising homework.

My sweepstakes rules:

  • The sweepstakes runs from September 22, 2010 to September 30, 2010
  • No duplicate comments
  • You may receive an entry by tweeting about and linking to my giveaway, and then sharing the link to your tweet in the comments below.
  • Please note, only two entries per email address will be accepted.
  • Entrants must be 18 years or older, and US-residents
  • See theofficial rules
  • Winners will be selected by random drawing - please make sure leave a valid email address!

January 25, 2010

2010 Lincoln MKT

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Lincoln.

BlogHer and Lincoln recently gave my family the opportunity to test drive the brand-spanking-new Lincoln MKT for a week. Although I had been a passenger in an MKT briefly (like, around the block) during last summer's visit to Ford's Taurus plant near Chicago, I was in a car full of women yelling things like WOOOOO! so I might have been a bit distracted. In any case, I was excited to get the chance to discover what the MKT was all about in some real world scenarios.

The morning they dropped her off, I immediately grabbed the camera:

MKT Review

I don't know what comes to your mind when you think of Lincoln, but in my mind, I used to think:

1970 Lincoln.jpg

The beauty sitting in my driveway caused quite a few head-turning reactions, and open disbelief from friends, neighbors and total strangers alike. To which I say I KNOW. Also, look! It IS a Lincoln.

MKT Review

We had an absolute blast discovering all the super-fun bells and whistles on the MKT - and this experience has opened up a whole new world of must-haves for our future next car. First of all - check this out - when walking back to the car after the school's winter concert, I hit the unlock button on the keyless remote, and the whole car glowed with welcoming, golden light.

MKT Review

That's the car equivalent of a puppy wagging its tail when you approach, and it made me very happy during the cold, rainy week we had with the MKT. Also, I know, we're switching from black and white to color with the photos now. Pretend you've just landed in Oz.

The interior was luxurious and comfortable for my entire family of five. Lincoln has packed in so many thoughtful features that I don't even know where to start.

MKT Review

The third row of seating is easily accessible with a few quick hand motions, and if you've ever had three squirrelly kids sandwiched into a bench seat, you'll know what I mean when I say that third row of seating can make all the difference between your sanity and wondering why your car doesn't have a sound-proofed barrier between the driver and passengers. Actually, okay, I still wondered about that. Lincoln, would you please consider adding a soundproofed barrier for us harried moms? Please?

MKT Review

In the interest of science, I climbed into that back seat, and can say that I fit comfortably enough, although my head was barely clearing the roof, and I'm just under 5' tall. There was adequate legroom for my little peanut legs, too, but I think a larger adult would probably not want to sit in this seat. That said, I believe that there are different seating configurations available, and perhaps one of the other versions would make this space more accommodating to a grown-up sized grown up.

MKT Review

The leather seats were scrumptious, and the console storage was epic. Everywhere you look in the MKT you can find handy pockets, recessed compartments and consoles that open up to reveal enough storage room to hide a small child. Okay, a really really small child. Alright, fine - a ton of DVDs, portable gaming systems, shin guards, books, you name it would fit in the compartments.
MKT Review

Even more exciting for the kids was the refrigerated compartment in between the two back rows. And no, we didn't let them eat or drink in the car, but man - what a nice feature to have, especially if you are like me and constantly on the go from school to soccer to baseball and home again. No more coolers to kick around on the floor, or eat up valuable trunk space.

Other awesome features include integrated sunscreens on passenger windows and heated/cooled seats. Seriously. My buns were all about that. I kept on cooking and chilling my hiney, to the point that it was a little excessive according to my husband, who was getting tired of having to touch my rear repeatedly while I insisted he "feel it now!"

MKT Review

The panoramic roof was also a huge hit. Man, with a few taps on a button, you could open the roof all the way up, which made me wish that it wasn't raining, so we could take a drive out at the redwoods or the coast or something. This car totally made us want to take a road trip.

MKT Review

But, since we were limited on time and weather, we decided to test out a couple of my other favorite features while heading out for some family fun.

The SYNC system rocks. Within minutes of the car being dropped off (whereupon I stood in my driveway and waved cheerfully to the cutie-patootie driver until he was out of site and then did a weird end-zone dance) I had managed to get my iPhone not only talking to the hands-free phone function, but had imported my contacts into the system - all without cords or plugs or drama. Not only that, but it effortlessly (and wirelessly!) picked up music from my iPhone - allowing us to rock out to tunes on demand.

MKT Review

Not only that, but you can totally talk to the system, and it understands what you want. I was able to get driving directions, change radio stations, change the temperature of the car, and guide my family into the closest In-N-Out Burger all without touching the screen.

MKT Review

Mmm. In-N-Out Burgers.

MKT Review

Okay, so then it was back in the car for more rockin' out. That's how we roll.

MKT Review

I'm one of those people who regularly runs over my trash can on the way out of the driveway because my husband thinks it is fun to put the can right behind my car. I can't see it back there, and I always forget to look. That's a pretty significant problem, don't you agree? Never mind that that is also about the height of a child on a bike, and the fact that we live in a busy neighborhood full of not so attentive kids and... let's just say that while the rear visibility through the windows of the MKT was initially frustrating, I quickly fell in love with the rear-view camera and warning system.

MKT Review

There's some sort of radar built into the car's sides, too, that allows the MKT to warn you (via your side mirrors lighting up) if a car is approaching from your right or left when you're trying to back out of a parking spot, and it is this same radar that allows the MKT to parallel park itself, perfectly, every single time.

I tried to make a video of it doing this, but it was basically me screaming with glee, so I'll spare you. But I will admit that I drove around for about an hour repeatedly parallel parking, and it never got old. Not even a little bit old. That is some super awesome fun technology.

Another thing that really impressed the heck out of me was the Adaptive Cruise Control feature. I'm a chicken with using cruise control. I like the idea of it, but I'm always worried that someone is going to pull in front of me, and I'll have to stop using it, and then restart it, and it's confusing and waaaah. So when I learned that the MKT actually senses the speed of the cars in front of you and adjusts your speed to maintain a safe distance, and then will readjust back to your set cruising speed as soon as it is safe to do so - well, sign me up for that. We

There are lots of other amazing features on the Lincoln MKT - a V6 engine that performs like a V8, state-of-the-art safety features right on down to rain-sensing windshield wipers (cool!) and headlights that turn in the same direction as your steering wheel to better light your way.

We spent a lot of time looking at each other and saying "Shut. Up." about the cool things the MKT could do. It totally changed the way I'll evaluate cars in the future, and I feel really lucky to have had the chance to have this extended test drive opportunity.

Would you like the chance to drive a 2010 Lincoln MKT for a Night on the Town? Here's your chance to win a first class experience from Lincoln. Indulge in style. Enter to win a night of pampering with the Lincoln MKT. (valued at $1,500).

You and a guest could win:

  • A chance to drive a 2010 Lincoln MKT* for the evening

  • Local spa package for two

  • Dinner for two at a local restaurant

  • One night stay at a local hotel

To enter, please visit the special offers page.

But wait, before you go... be sure to check out all the reviews, because each reviewer is giving away a $500 Visa Gift Card! Want to win MY gift card?

To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me your favorite technological feature in your car - or in your dream car - or you may leave a link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. The contest will begin January 25, 2010 and will end February 24, 2010. Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.

• No duplicate comments.
• You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
• You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
• This giveaway is open to US residents, aged 18 and older
• Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
• You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
• Please see the official rules here: Official rules

December 18, 2009

Ninja Master Prep

This is a compensated review for the Ninja Master Prep.

In September, the lovely folks at Euro-Pro paid for my flight and hotel in New York City for a special blogger launch event for the Ninja Master Prep. I also received a Ninja of my own, in order to write this review.

The event itself was held at the super-lovely Mandarin Oriental in New York City. Will you look at the view from our reception room?


We were greeted warmly and allowed the opportunity to mingle with our fellow attendees.

034(from left to right, Carmen from Mom to the Screaming Masses, Y from Joy Unexpected, Lotus from Sarcastic Mom and yours truly.)

Then, we were whisked into a special demo featuring celebrity chef Robin Miller showing us how to use the Ninja.

I announced my excitement:

Jenny Twitter1.gif

And got random props from a roving band of ninjas:

Band of Ninja's Twitter1.gif

This was just before things got underway for reals. I kept the silly tweets to a minimum, because honestly, I was totally into the presentation.


Right about that point, Robin was pulverizing ice cubes into snow, in a side by side demo with a blender. SNOW. She made a bunch of other recipes - a fish thing, salsa and guacamole, several blended drinks, soup... she had me at "SNOW."

After the presentation, we had the opportunity to play with not only the Ninja, but a whole bunch of other Euro-Pro products (reviews forthcoming on those as well.) We also got the chance to visit with Robin Miller.


We enjoyed a lunch featuring the dishes that Robin had demonstrated before scattering back into the city. All in all, the event was really fun and informative, and made me super-excited to get my Ninja on back at home.

So, here's the thing. I absolutely love love LOVE this thing. I've had blenders and I've had food processors, but neither was capable of effortlessly whacking just about anything into submission with almost no cleanup after the fact. The motor goes on top, and even if it is plugged in, it will not engage unless all the parts are properly seated, making it completely safe for even my seven-year-old to operate (provided I do the assembly of the blades.)

I have broken two blenders making frozen fruit smoothies. BROKEN. As in tore-up, motor-on-fire, can't- handle-it broken. Plus, I always had to stop it 500 times to stir things around, and mush things down so that the blades could do what they are supposed to do.

My food processor was great at chopping and mixing, but I always managed to make a holy mess with wet ingredients. Plus, you can't serve from the bowl - you have to disengage the whole thing from the machine, and then scoop or pour it into a serving vessel.

Now, I seriously just dump in the fruit and pulse it about 5 or 6 times, and I've got frozen fruit snow. SNOW.

Pineapple Snow!

In fact, we've successfully made fruit sorbet this way, that was ready to eat straight from the Ninja. This is a bag of frozen pineapple blended with a can of light coconut milk. That's it, and it was delish. No sweeteners needed!

Basically, it's sorbet

I seriously use it every. single. day. We make salsa, guacamole, frozen drinks, smoothies and even whipped cream. That one blew me away. In LESS time than it takes to use my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, it whipped heavy cream perfectly. Like, six little pulses or so. That is crazy talk, my friends. It took longer to scoop it onto the pie than it did to whip it.

I use it so much that I've managed to rub the logo off the motor pod part. It's now known as the "JA" around here.

Gettin' my Ninja on


While I don't do the whole dual bowl prep, if you wanted to make, say, fresh salsa and frozen margaritas at the same time, you can! You just move the motor from one container to the next.

Some of the other great features: everything comes apart easily and effortlessly for cleaning, and the plastic used for the pitcher and smaller bowls don't discolor or get etched like my old food processor's bowl did. Because the motor is on the top, and the blades lift out of the mixer bowl, you can serve right from the mixing container (and they provide handy snap on tops if you want to store in the fridge.)

Part of the reason that my review is taking place so long after the trip and receiving the Ninja at my home is my 38-year-old sister was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after my return from New York. She's doing really well now, thankfully. As part of her therapy, she's modified her diet to include a ton of fresh, raw foods. Right away, I knew that she needed a Ninja of her own, and I was delighted to give her one on Christmas. I'm happy to report she's a convert, too.

December 12, 2008

Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa game for the Nintendo DS

The lovely gals at MomCentral recently gave my family the opportunity to play-test the great new game based on the movie Madagascar, Escape 2 Africa for the Nintendo DS.

As usual the second any new game arrives, the kids made off with it immediately. I can always tell when a game is a big hit, because I have to be sneaky to get a chance to play it myself.

The game follows the plot of the new movie, and allows you to play as 5 different characters. It has great music and the game play is smooth and intuitive. I really appreciated the onscreen directions that appeared at critical junctions of the game - they kids seemed to wiz right through the levels after an attempt or two, but it took a little extra prompting for me, and I'm glad it was built right in.

There is a lot of variety as you move through the game, too... you can switch characters easily, solve puzzles, win battles, and can unlock really fun mini-games as you play. You use the touch screen and occasionally the microphone to control the game play, and while even my five year old could successfully play, the game had enough challenging elements to keep my older kids happy and playing (for hours. Seriously.) Even better, there is the capability to play mini-games wirelessly with two or more other DS-slinging players.

Activision has created a winning translation of these great characters and totally captured the flavor and sass of the Madagascar crew. We all give this game a huge round of applause.

Thanks so much for letting us test it out!