Merry Puzzles – iPhone & iPad game

Did you know there’s only like 9 days until Christmas? (We do both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house. Yes, there’s probably a reason for tweets like this one:

Heh. Truth be told, I haven’t finished shopping – so a note from Santa is still a possibility. But I’m sure they’ll be angels the day before just to make me feel guilty if I didn’t get them anything…

In any case, one present I got earlier this month was this Merry Puzzles app (available for both iPhone and the iPad). There’s a bunch of adorable illustrations, cut into random little squares that you have to put back together again. The illustrations have built in animations you’ll see once the puzzle is completed. There’s a few different levels. Zach has stuck to the easy level. I tried one at the “expert” level… yeah, I’m no expert for sure. So there’s definitely a huge range of challenges there!

Merry Puzzles iPhone App: $0.99*
Merry Puzzles - Countdown to Christmas - Twigsbury

Merry Puzzles iPad App: $1.99*
Countdown to Christmas - Holiday Puzzles - Twigsbury

*Price at time of this writing. I received a copy of this app for review purposes.

Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick Candles Giveaway

I am significantly behind on reviews/giveaways. This one has been sitting on my desk for awhile. Before we move to our house and all my materials get officially lost, I thought it would be a good idea to post the giveaway. I’ll include their product information below, but I will say that I really do like these candles from Febreze. Right before we sold the house, I had the chance to try them out and I was really surprised to hear/see that the “wooden wicks” in the candle really do crackle. It’s a very relaxing sound. 😀 And the candles smell really nice too. I’m looking forward to using them in our new house!

Here are the product details from the manufacturer:

No fireplace, no problem. Breathe a sigh of relief because the new Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick candle has you covered. Bring the calming crackle of a burning fire into your home anytime of year with 80 hours of “ahhhhhhhh.”

Available in nine premium scents, these tranquil candles are specially designed with a wooden wick to recreate the ambiance and sound of a crackling fire indoors. Offering a brilliant range of everyday fragrances, Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick candles can help inspire a scent and design transformation in your home.

Be sure to look for Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick candles at your local Walmart in fragrances like Green Tea Citrus, Pomegranate Mango, Cranberry Pear, Orange Honeycomb, Rosewood Plum and Willow Blossom; as well as seasonal scents that include Anjou Pear Spice, Gingersnap Vanilla, and Yumberry Sangria.


I have one Walmart gift card to giveaway with $15 on it so you can try out these candles too! All that’s required is that you leave a comment telling me which scent you’re most likely to try. For an additional entry (up to one additional entry per day awarded) tweet the following – and leave a comment here for each tweet you make:

Win a $15 Walmart gift card and try out a Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick Candle!

Contest ends December  27th, 2010 at 10pm PST. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. I will be using to choose the winner. I’ll contact the winner via email, and he/she will have 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, if I don’t receive a response, another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: Febreze provided me with the Febreze Wooden Wick Candle Kit, information, and the $15 Walmart gift card to giveaway through MyBlogSpark.

smarTouch Gloves Review and Giveaway

So as I posted earlier, for my birthday my husband, parents and siblings all chipped in to buy me an iPad. I can tell you that the iPad is the most awesomest thing ever, but that’s for another post. There is, of course, one problem having gotten an iPad for my birthday, and that my birthday comes in the fall – cold weather will soon be upon us. (Yes, even after I move to California, I’m sure I’ll need to wear gloves, because it does get cold there once in awhile) – and actually – what’s that saying “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco?” I’m the type of person that wears gloves the instant there’s any kind of chill in the air. Obviously gloves and iPads / iPhones don’t usually play nice. I’ve seen some versions of gloves that will work with these devices, but they usually have some sort of weird nubby thing that’s sure to fall off at some point.

Well, Isotoner has come out with a great pair of gloves that work with the iPhone and iPad but without the nubby thing. They’re called “smarTouch” gloves. (Although I’ve seen them in some stores listed as “Smart Touch”) They sent me a pair of gloves to try out and I can attest that they do in fact work. There’s a piece of conductive thread woven into the index finger and thumb that the iPhone and iPad does register. My one complaint is that it would be even better if this material were on ALL the fingers – especially for use with the iPad because I do use QWERTY typing on it quite often. But hunt-and-peck typing is better than having to release my hands to the elements just to type a few words!

One additional nice feature these gloves have is the non-slip palms so that hopefully I won’t drop my phone and crack the glass again. Ahem. Yeah, that wasn’t fun.


Isotoner has reserved two pairs of these gloves for me to give away.

Required Entry: To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite winter activity is.

For an additional entry: Tweet the following (and leave a second comment telling me you did so):

Enter to win a free pair of smarTouch Isotoner gloves that work with the iPhone/iPad! >> @theworkingmom

(click the link to tweet)

Contest ends October 18th, 2010 at 10pm MST. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. I will be using to choose the winner. I’ll contact the winner via email, and he/she will have 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, if I don’t receive a response, another winner will be chosen.

*Disclosure note: the smarTouch gloves were provided to me by Isotoner.

Mathomatix Number Sense HD iPad app review


The creators of PunFlay’s Mathomatix Number Sense for the iPad, outdid themselves from a technical and educational standpoint.  As a child works her way through the 5 different games included in the application, she is having fun while gaining number skills and concepts that build on each other in a natural and pedagogically appropriate way.  I wonder how many other apps have been checked against the National and California Standards for teaching mathematics to kindergarteners.  Very impressive!

Booster Balls focuses on counting from 1 to 30.  The child collects 10 balls at a time and then feeds them to a cute little monster.  A child’s voice gives clear and easy to follow instructions and provides a model for the child to count along with.  The game is simple and fun.  My six year old granddaughter, Kayla, liked catching the balls and feeding them to the monster even though the game was clearly no challenge.  Five year old Joey and 3 year old Leah really enjoyed counting along, and with each repetition of the game became more confident.

Do the Dotty is a “connect the dots” game with sets of 10 numbers up to 30.  Now we are upping the ante.  Not only do you have to be able to count, you have to recognize what the number looks like and follow the instructions, connecting the numbers in sequence to create a picture.  Kayla, of course, breezed through, repeating the game many times, changing the colors of the completed pictures.  Joey declared the game really fun, but required some assistance as the numbers increased.  After a few tries, he began to recognize the numbers on his own.  I could tell that playing the game over a period of time would improve his skills.  Leah loved creating the pictures, but needed a lot of help following the directions and recognizing the numbers.

Recognizing  the numbers in sequence is one thing, but finding them in random groups is another challenge.  Numberella provides this challenge.  The players are asked to pick out a specific number floating in a cloud to create a rain shower.  Easy for Kayla, not so easy for Joey and Leah, but entertaining enough not to discourage repetition which leads to learning.

Now we come to the really conceptual challenge,  using an understanding of what the numbers stand for to manipulate objects.  Fishoonka and Toot Toot Train accomplish that brilliantly.  Fishoonka emphasizes the concepts of ‘more and less’ by having kids move fish back and forth to create the requested pattern.  Toot Toot Train takes it to the next level by requiring the addition or subtraction of cars to create the desired train length.  Joey needed guidance to achieve this but began to get the hang of it.  Even Leah began to get the idea and was very pleased with herself.

All in all, I give this app 5 stars.  As an educator, I appreciate the careful crafting of the games from the concrete to the conceptual.  This is a real learning tool as well as an attractive and entertaining game, a bargain at $1.99.  Bravo, PunFlay!

Number Sense HD: $1.99*


*Price at time of this writing

Disclosure: We received a free copy of this app for review purposes

Coolest Geek Toy (that my daughter is loving right now)

OSnap Circuits line. Basically they’re these pieces that very easily snap together, and you build various electronic devices. A fan, (that also doubles as a flying saucer with the right set up), an alarm, a music box, a light switch, etc. etc. It makes building circuit boards as easily as playing with Lego’s. They have a little booklet with easy to follow diagrams showing you how to build the various projects. There are symbols on the pieces that show you how it would look on a “grown up” diagram. As well, the booklet explains what is happening with what you’re building – so it’s teaching you as well. My daughter cruised through the first set she got for her birthday (something like 100 projects). So we ran out and got an add-on set that had 300. For a kid that normally has a fairly short attention span, she is playing with this toy way more than I expected.

If you are looking for a really cool science type toy – this one is a great idea. The site says it’s good for kids aged 8 and up – but it is simple enough I think kids a little bit younger than that could even do it.

Click here to see the larger Snap Circuits SC-300 set on (you’ll notice it has 5 stars and something like 469 reviews. I’m not the only one that thinks this is the coolest toy ever) 😉

Here’s a video of her playing with one of her circuit projects: