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Summer Bridge Activities®, Grades PK - K
Summer Bridge Activities®, Grades PK - K
by Summer Bridge Activities
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.60
45 used & new from $8.47

5.0 out of 5 stars A well organized pre-k workbook, February 18, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We buy a lot of these kinds of activity books. Most of them we buy just as "coloring books plus" for the kids. Which is to say 75% of what they do is color for fun and 25% of what they do is academic. That's fine with us - we don't push academics too hard at this age, but it beats having them just in Elmo for the 200th time. We do occasionally pick out a workbook specifically to teach something, and for that we usually go for a more specific title or set of titles. Such as when one of my sons really wanted to learn to read and write at a very young age. We started out with some alphabet and phonics books and worked up to some word books.

This is meant to be a broader activity book for use over the summer to prepare your child for kindergarten. To do it right you need to ready to sit down for 10 minutes at a time with your child twice a day. Not a big deal if you have one kid. Maybe a big deal if you have several.

After looking it over I think it's good survey and you can get some value by following the format (which is 3 month long sections divided by days). If nothing else you get a good assessment of where your kid is at. I think that is particularly useful if you child hasn't been to a preschool with a specific curriculum. I don't think kids need to master everything, but at least you know where their strong and weak points are. It also get's them used to the kinds of activities the will do in kindergarten. That important for kids who have never been exposed to structured academics before. For the price I think this is a good value.

The book is of good quality, not nearly as flimsy as our "typical" work book. Price wise it's fair. You can get slightly cheaper books (and more expensive ones) but I think it's a good value for what you are getting.


T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Architectural Elements Building Blocks in a Wooden Box - 59 Piece Set
T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Architectural Elements Building Blocks in a Wooden Box - 59 Piece Set
Price: $29.20
6 used & new from $28.94

5.0 out of 5 stars These were a hit with my kids, February 18, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have four kids, and as a result, a lot of blocks. I almost didn't get these, but I have two kids (a 7 year old boy and 3 year old girl) who really love blocks and I love that it's not a computer or TV screen. Right off the bat, these were a hit. They've got some shapes that are about bit out of the ordinary, and that really appealed to both of them. It's not a big set, and that caused a little problem for my kids when sharing, but they worked it out by adding in some of our other blocks. If this is your first set it's a good choice, but beware: they have some awesome, and expensive block sets. Price wise these are a little expensive for blocks, but they are novel and very well made. If you are on a budget I think there a decent and cheaper options, but if you've got a junior architect, there are well worth the money. They're cheaper than a typical computer game and worth a whole lot more in so many ways. And I love any toy where kids of different ages can play together.


Cornstalk Fiddle and a Shoestring Bow
Cornstalk Fiddle and a Shoestring Bow
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic CD - I wish I could find more of his music, February 14, 2015
I don't recall how I stumbled upon this album. I think a friend recommended it to me. I don't know much about the artist, but I do wish he had more CDs out there. The song are mostly traditional and original Bluegrass/Appalachian music, but there are some Americana/Country songs such as "Here We Go Again." Which by the way is just a fantastic song. That's the song that get's me on the internet occasionally looking for more of this guy's music. So far this is the only CD I've found by him. I also really love the banjo tunes "Cousin Sally Brown" and "Arkansas Traveler." And while I've heard "Cotton Eyed Joe" played a hundred different ways, I never really get tired of it, and this version features some really fine fiddle work.

I really can't recommend this album enough, it's fun, well executed, and has a nice mix of traditional and original Appalachian mountain music. I just wish he had more of it out there!


Delkin 64GB microSDXC Memory Card 660X 99MB/s UHS-I U3(DDMSD66064GB)
Delkin 64GB microSDXC Memory Card 660X 99MB/s UHS-I U3(DDMSD66064GB)
Offered by PhotoCraft
Price: $64.90
2 used & new from $64.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did the job on a 4k GoPro, February 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The first thing I did was take this over to my neighbor's house. He's has the Hero4 Black GoPro camera, which is a 4K camera. Exactly what this card was designed to handle. There may be a tougher real world test but I don't know of one. We checked out GoPro's web site and this card wasn't listed on their (very short) list of approved cards. However we did notice that Delkin was one of only three brands mentioned on the list of supported cards for some of their other cameras (along with Lexar and SanDisk).

Still, it's a UHS Speed Class 3 Card (which is rated to exceed the minimum performance as the MicroSD Class 10 cards recommended by GoPro for the Hero4), so even if it underperforms it should be able to do the job. He mounted his GoPro on his dirt bike and put it through it's paces with the Delkin card. The video played back flawlessly and looks absolutely amazing on a 4K screen.

I looked up Delkin since I'd never heard of them (granted I used to ignore anything that didn't say "SanDisk" or "Lexar") and it's a US based company that's been around since the mid-90's. It looks like they do a lot of industrial memory products along with consumer products. Seeing that they are one of the few brands recommended by GoPro and having verified it can handle their top-end 4K camera I feel safe in recommending this product. This may be overkill if, like me, you aren't shooting 4K video, but if you are in the market for a card you may want to look at this and other Speed Class 3 cards - they aren't that expensive and it offers some future proofing. If you want to play it safe you can go with the Sandisk 64GB Extreme MicroSDXC UHS-I Card (SDSDQXL-064G-A46A) recommended by GoPro for their Hero4 Camera. If money is no object then the SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC Memory Card SDSDQXP-064G-G46A should be on your radar based on their excellent reputation.


Speck Products MightyShell Case for iPhone 6 - Retail Packaging - Carrot Orange/Speck Blue/Slate
Speck Products MightyShell Case for iPhone 6 - Retail Packaging - Carrot Orange/Speck Blue/Slate
Price: $49.95
3 used & new from $43.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the cheap case it's replacing, February 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have a Speck case on my iPhone that I'm pretty happy with so I put this on my wife's iPhone which had some no-name cheap case on it. Right off the bat it was clear how superior this case was. The fit was perfect, and it provides just enough of a lip over the screen to protect it from a flat fall. The interior is stamped with ribbing which provides a little extra shock protection and will minimize scratching from any sand or debris that get's inside the case (as opposed to a flat interior where the sand will constantly rub against your case).

Now my wife spent about $20 on her cheap case. Is this worth the extra cost? Well it's definitely a well made case, and the iPhone 6 isn't cheap, so on one hand it's worth buying a decent case. However if money is tight I think a cheaper case will do the job, just not as well. If you have an extra "risk" factor such as kids, jogging with your phone, or you just tend to drop you phone, then buying a nicer case is probably your best option.


ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass for Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Case Friendly
ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass for Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Case Friendly
Offered by Blue Dragon Inc.
Price: $16.44
21 used & new from $11.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the cheap ones I had been using, February 7, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have to admit I was dubious about the price of this thing. I'm used to getting screen protectors that cost much less. But then I found them to be mediocre and had kind of given up on them. Still, I have small kids and I thought I'd give this a try to see if was really better than the cheap ones. It is - by a long shot. It goes on much, much easier than those cheap ones that you're constantly trying to smooth the bubbles out of. The tabs on the top and bottom make it pretty much idiot proof. The key is to clean your screen really, really well before installing it. You don't want to trap even a single grain of sand between the cover and your screen. I had no trouble at all getting my case on over this. And it is crystal clear. Once it was on I couldn't tell you it was there. I've only had a week, so I can't comment on how well it protects, other than so far so good. If you had given up on cheap screen protectors like I had, this one seems worth the price ($17 on Amazon as I write this).


Black Holes: And Other Bizarre Space Objects (Science Frontiers)
Black Holes: And Other Bizarre Space Objects (Science Frontiers)
by David Jefferis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.65
41 used & new from $3.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for kids 7-12, January 26, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was a big hit with my black-hole obsessed seven year old son. He's read it from cover-to-cover at least a dozen times. It's clearly written, well illustrated, and provides the right level of information for elementary aged children. What I like most is that it takes tough concepts and presents them clearly. Not "dumbed down" just "boiled down." A lot of easy to follow analogies are used that work well for kids. My wife and I are both engineers and she has a physics degree, but we struggled to explain some of the more bizarre aspects of black holes. This book did a great job of covering that ground.

We also found that "How the Universe Works" Season 1, Episode 2, while not specifically created for kids, is presented in a way that is accessible to kids. In fact my 7 and 8 year old sons love the whole series.


Square Polyester-Fill Pillow Insert Form (24"x24")
Square Polyester-Fill Pillow Insert Form (24"x24")
Offered by The Fabric Exchange
Price: $24.57
2 used & new from $24.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great source for pillow inserts, January 26, 2015
I've bought a number of pillow inserts from this company and I've been very happy with all of them. The quality of the fabric seems good and the fill is reasonably firm without being hard. I have learned that when you measure don't under-estimate the pillow size you need. My old inserts tended to be a bit beat down and worn (hey, that's why we are replacing them) and I would end up ordering something too small. Carefully measure your cover and order the largest insert you think will fit inside.


HP 15.6-inch 15-f004dx Laptop (AMD E1-2100 Processor, 4GB Memory, 500GB Hard Drive)
HP 15.6-inch 15-f004dx Laptop (AMD E1-2100 Processor, 4GB Memory, 500GB Hard Drive)
Offered by Asus and Panasonic Specialists
Price: $268.95
87 used & new from $227.00

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An excellent tool for keeping doors propped open, January 26, 2015
I won one of these at a school raffle. I thought I would use it as a kids laptop - all it would need to do is run Minecraft and a few other basic games, access some kid web sites and run a word processor. I am happy to report you can run a word processor.

Okay you can access kid web sites. Or you can run a high-end internet security suite with parental controls turned on. But I haven't had much success doing both. Though perhaps the long "staring at the screen waiting for it to load" experience could teach my kids what the internet was like back when it was delivered via a 28k modem... If you don't have kids, and can settle for a little less "internet security" armor turned on, this is fine for web browsing. But as soon as that virus scanner kicks in, it's time to go get a cup of coffee.

Games. Forget it. After some tweaking I got Minecraft to run at pretty much the lowest settings possible. The frame rate was in the low 20's. Minecraft on "high" settings doesn't look that great. On low settings it's pretty much pointless. So having determined it wasn't going to work for kids, I looked around at some old games I had sitting around to see what would run on it. If there is one good thing I can say is that this has a CD/DVD drive, which is being less common at this price. You are going to need it to search out a game that will run on this laptop, because the first game I could get to run at passable settings was a five year old game called "Risen", which was only playable at low settings.

So that made me curious, what is wrong with this laptop? I did a little research and found out the basic problem is the CPU: AMD E1-2100. This is a combined CPU/Grapics chip. The graphics is provided by the integrated Radeon 8210. A mediocre graphics chip, but one at least capable of running basic games like Minecraft. Except that Minecraft is known to be CPU limited, and the CPU on this, is a 1GHz dual core chip based off their "Jaguar" low-power CPU architecture, just isn't up to the job. It's not a bad architecture (a version of it is used in the Xbox One), but you need at least four cores running at 2GHz to make a decent laptop. The slow dual-core CPU in this laptop ranks along side the CPU in an iPhone 5. Great for a smart phone or even a Linux tablet. Not so great in a 15 inch Windows laptop.

The build quality is about par for the price range. At this price point I think Acer and Asus make a better product than HP. I do favor HP and Lenovo at the $500 and up range. I appreciate that it has full sized ports unlike a lot of thin "ultrabooks" and has Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports. I also like that it has buttons for the touch pad. Battery life is decent: I easily got 3-4 hours of web browsing type activities before I got a "low battery" warning.

As long as your a prepared to forgo anything but basic gaming, this is a passable light weight "web browsing" notebook, but for the price, there are better options that will at least allow you some basic "app level" gaming without having to drop your settings to the lowest possible level.

What would I buy instead? Prices change fast so this could go out of date fast, but as of the time I wrote this I would suggest one to these options:
HP Pavilion 15-r030wm Intel Pentium N3520 2.17GHz
Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5241 AMD A4 15.6-Inch Laptop
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2015 11:24 AM PST


Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup, Pink/Orange, 10 Ounce, 2 Count
Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup, Pink/Orange, 10 Ounce, 2 Count
Price: $12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One kid loved them, one kid hated them, January 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got these for my twin three year old daughters. They are reasonably leak resistant but by no means leak proof. There is a round flap that your child opens up by sucking on. If something pointed in your kid/diaper bag presses against that flap it can leak. If your kid turns it upside down it won't spill, but if they shake it water droplets will come out.

One of my daughters really liked it and had no trouble with it. The other couldn't get it to work for her and gave up on them. I decided to try them out myself and they aren't very comfortable to drink from. They are how ever very easy to clean, which is more than I can say for most of these kinds of cups. The size is pretty good for a toddler and they grip pretty well. Overall not a bad cup but based on my experience at least some kids love them, some kids hate them. If you are looking for a spoutless cup, these are worth a try.


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