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The last few rainy days have kept us inside in search of something silly and fun to pass the time. We do like to get out and dance in the rain, but today was just too cold. We were bored and in need of something different to occupy ourselves. I took a look around the house to find something new, something we haven’t already done a billion times. Well, as luck would have it I checked out a couple of books from the library last week with a ton of fun things for us to do! And I found a craft that is super easy, using only things we have in the house where we can stay warm and dry.


  • Tissue Paper
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Large dinner plate
  • Tape
  • Balloon



Unfold the tissue paper completely and lay it flat on the table. Trace the outer edge of a dinner plate to create a circle.


Draw a snake shape inside the circle, or simply cut into a spiral leaving room to make a head. If you want you can draw on eyes and tape on a small tongue.


Next comes the fun part. Tape the tale of the snake to the counter. Blow up the balloon and tie the end. Now rub the balloon against your head (or something wool if you have it) to create an electrostatic charge. Now, laugh at how your hair stands straight up! Then apply balloon to the head of your snake. As you raise the balloon the tissue paper snake should attach its self and follow the balloon. This looks like you are charming the snake.


That’s it! A fun, quick craft that my kids enjoyed. They continued to play with the balloon without the snake because when you are six nothing is more special than a balloon; even if it can make you a snake charmer. Hope you are surviving the rainy days of Spring!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 


I recently saw this game on a newsletter I receive, The Daily Grommet, and had to have it. I contacted the PR department and pretty soon I was in possession of my very own game called Jishaku.

It is a game unlike any other. The goal is to get all of your pieces on the board first. The issue is this: the pieces are very strong magnets. They kind of look like rocks and are actually called “stones” in the game. The board is an enclosed eggcrate (like the one that goes on your bed) with 22 – 23 “wells” or spaces to put your stone.

The game is easier said than done. Once you get a few magnets on the board they seem to develop a mind of their own. They jump around and they also jump up unexpectedly and attach to each other. When it does that, you have to pick up all of the magnets that stuck together and put them in your hand…(sigh). My son beat me repeatedly I must admit. He seemed to get the hang of how they behaved. Me, I just kept picking them up… The whole family tried it out and we had a great time laughing at each other as the stones came flying up off the board and into our hands.

I say, pick up Jishaku. It will give the family lots of fun and laughs.

Jishaku is recommended for kids 14+ and retails for around $19.95. It can be found on the web.  It is also sold at Barnes & Noble.

The staff at Hudson Valley Parent receives a lot of parenting products to review, so many that sometimes we can’t get to them ourselves. We were lucky enough to receive this review of The Tony Hawk: SHRED game for X-box 360 from a staff’s family member. His conclusion? This game is worth a look. Sounds perfect for snowy days because you have to get up and move around instead of just sitting with a controller. I’ll let our reviewer explain:

“SHRED is a great simulation-type skateboarding game.  The setup of the wireless board took only minutes, while the calibration took another 2 minutes or so.  Not being a skateboarder, I found this game to be very user-friendly.  The controller board was easy to stand on, while realistically bending and turning as an actual skateboard would do.  The 4 sensors located around the board allowed me to perform “grabs” and “ollies”, along with some more advanced skateboarding tricks.  The tutorials and training modes during setup allow for some practice and understanding of the game play while you get the feel for the board.  You can watch the practice videos and tutorials as many times as you need to feel comfortable playing the game.

I played for a little more than one hour without even realizing it.  It is quite addicting when you see the player on-screen imitating your every move on the board while skating through exotic skate parks.  Also, this game proved to be a surprising workout as I was visibly sweating after the hour of game play.  I’d recommend this game to anyone looking to have some fun, burn a few calories, and simulate skateboarding without the risk of injury.”

What did you like about this product?

1.  Tutorials – not being a skateboarder I was able to pick up on the tricks quickly.

2. Controller Board – the controller board is as realistic of a skateboard as you can find without wheels.  The board was simple to set up and easy to use.

3. On-screen graphics – the player I chose to ride as me imitated my every move while cruising through beautiful skate parks and amusement parks.  Very realistic!

What did you dislike about this product?

1. Calibration – Calibrating the board can be potentially difficult if you are not deliberate with the actions on the board.  I had no trouble calibrating but my girlfriend did have some trouble following my game play.

2. Tricks – Some of the tricks are a little difficult to perform and took a while in the skate park for me to complete them even though I was doing what the tutorial said.

3.  Saving – If you do not chose to sign-in and save your progress, the board needs to be calibrated and setup as if you’ve never played before.

Would you recommend this product to parents? Yes or No


*Please note that Tony Hawk: SHRED is rated “E” (Everyone – content that may be suitable for ages six and older) by the ESRB.  Players can also visit Tony Hawk: SHRED’s interactive website at and learn how to master over-the-top skate and snowboarding gameplay tricks and explore new game info, soundtrack details, dozens of training videos, talent bios, gameplay tips and more. Tony Hawk: SHRED is available for Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and Nintendo Wii™.

Everyday in our office we receive a number of interesting products that we are lucky enough to review. Now, we are by no means experts on some of the products we receive, but we try to find the products that we feel “help parents…parent.” Sometimes the products are just fun, like Wii console games. I love Wii, I remember the days of playing Super Mario Brothers with my brothers on the original Nintendo game console. Today, my brothers and I still love to play Nintendo games they are just more high-tech.

Recently, the staff received My Ballet Studio for Wii and Storybook Workshop for Wii. My Ballet Studio My Ballet Studio for Nintendo Wii allows players to practice authentic ballet moves. Young ballerinas are encouraged to study hard at ballet school and learn real techniques in movement and position lessons and performance modes. Gamers will be able to track their progress and measure how close they are to perfecting their dream routines. Very cool, if my niece was older this would be a great present for her. Since we are also big on writing a reading activities for children, I love the Storybook Workshop game concept. Storybook workshop is an interactive reading-based game involving classic folk tales from around the world. Recordable readings, voice alteration and a Singalong mode bring each tale to life. You’ll earn rewards, such as having your Mii (your Wii game player) appear in select stories, while introducing your children to the same beloved stories you heard as a child.

Isn’t it amazing how many games there are out there? Check out ago The National Parenting Center’s: “The Best Family Wii Games – Holiday 2009,” there are some good choices on there. I feel like playing some games right now, what about you? Do you have any funny memories of playing video games or even board games? Maybe your children have a Wii and you secretly (or not so secretly) love to play with it. Let us know below and the best comment will win either My Ballet Studio for Wii or Wii Storybook Workshop!

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