Video game reviews What's Hot

Reviews By Kids, For Kids: The Aether Mod for Minecraft

If you love playing Minecraft, there’s something new you should try: The Aether Mod.  A mod is pretty much an expansion to the game.  The users of Minecraft can program their own mods in Minecraft.  Why use a mod?  Maybe you want some extra fun stuff to do in Minecraft.  In fact, there’s a mod for just about anything that you could think of:  a time machine, more cooking, spells, more magic, more crafting, skills, and much more.

However, there is one mod that is basically a huge overhaul of the game that has been in development for about 4 months and was just recently released, and that is the Aether Mod.

Anime Music videos What's Hot

What’s Hot: Hatsune Miku

My daughter’s latest favorite diva is Hatsune Miku.  Miku is 16 years old, 5’2” with cyan blue ponytails that fall almost to her ankles.  She has a vocal range like no other – human, that is.  She is a Vocaloid – the child of technology, music, and anime.

Hatsune Miku performs on stage as a projection, on a massive mostly-transparent screen surrounded by towers, under a rock star light rack.  Rimmed by her band of live musicians, The 39s, she sings in the midst of a sea of glow sticks moving in rhythm.  With expressive dance moves and fun, catchy tunes, her name reads “first sound from the future”.

She is a musician. She is entertainment. She is a confluence. She is illustrated by KEI, animated by SEGA, created by Crypton Future Media, and powered by Yamaha’s technology, with a voice sampled from Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita, singing a song written by Ryo Supercell), that is published by Sony Entertainment.

Music videos What's Hot

What’s Hot: The gummy bear song

My kids are listening to this right now. Techno kid dance party. Feeling the need to run to the store and buy some gummy bears for snacking. Want more? Check out the official gummy bear website and Youtube channel.

Music videos Parenting What's Hot

What’s Hot: Mean, by Taylor Swift (or, Tales of our First Girl Sleepover)

My daughter, Katy, had her first sleepover party recently.  She’s 9 now, and I promised when she was done with third grade she could have one.  I was a little nervous.  Although we’ve had countless boy sleepovers, this was our first GIRL sleepover.

Boy sleepovers are rowdy, wild, and full of videogames.  What would girls want to do?

Healthy Kids Parenting

Healthy Kids: The top 12 “bad” foods

First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to “work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.” According to CDC statistics, childhood and adolescent obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years; approximately 17% of kids aged 2 – 19 are obese.

In other words, one in five children is overweight by age 6. That’s crazy!

We all want what’s best for ourselves and our kids, but sometimes there is conflicting advice about what’s “best”.

According to an article in The New York Times, experts at Harvard University have recently published a study on the factors that influence weight gain, and its relation to exercise, sleep, TV watching, smoking and alcohol intake.

Predictably, the study showed the more a person exercised, the more they tended to not gain weight; they less they exercised the more they tended to gain weight.

Surprisingly, the kinds of foods people ate had a bigger impact than the amount of exercise.

According to this research, there are some foods that are more likely to contribute to weight gain (“bad” foods), and there are foods that resulted in weight loss or no gain (“good” foods).

Music videos What's Hot

What’s Hot: Pop Tart Cat a.k.a. Nyan Cat

Half Pop Tart, half kitty, it’s Pop Tart Cat!  My kids are hysterically in love with this Internet phenomenom.  They watch, and just laugh and laugh and laugh.  Kids.  It’s cute, and a bit addicting.  It’s funny, and a bit irritating.  There’s also an extended version here for 15 full minutes of Pop Tart Cat fun, and a new smooth jazz cover extended version here.  And if you still can’t get enough, there’s a 10 hour version here.

Just go with it.  You know you want to.


Bedsharing with your children – experts say “no harm, no benefit”

CNN today had an interesting article on bedsharing with your toddler. Basically, the experts say while it’s not advisable for infants under 12 months old to bedshare, or co-sleep, there is no harm for kids older than 1 year. What’s important is that parents and kids are getting safe and sufficient sleep:

“If a family is going to bed-share, both parents must agree to it,”  explains Brett Kuhn, associate professor of pediatrics and psychology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  “Make sure it’s planned and intentional and that you do it from the beginning of the night to the end of the night.  You’re not going to play musical beds when the child fusses.”

Bringing a child into your bed to stop repeated episodes of crying may not only interrupt parental sleep but  interfere in the child’s ability to soothe himself to sleep.

I agree it’s important that kids need to know how to fall asleep on their own – without you there.  But I disagree with the “whole night” requirement above.

Every family is different, and what works for some, doesn’t work for others.

Cooking with kids

Cooking with kids: Banana bread (or muffins!)

Here’s a tasty, easy recipe for you to make with your kids for banana bread or muffins.  If you’ve got 3 overripe bananas, everything else you probably already have in your fridge or pantry.  We make double this recipe at least once a week, and it’s a favorite of the kid’s friends.

This is a fun recipe for little ones, as there’s measuring and pouring, mixing, and operating a blender.  (Noisy!)  It’s a good idea to use this opportunity to teach about blender safety.  (Also, no licking batter with raw eggs is another good rule.)

Makes:  3 mini loaf or 6 large muffins or 12 regular muffins.

Equipment you’ll need:

Large bowl
Rubber spatula
Mini loaf or muffin pans


Preheat oven to 350.

Spray your pans with cooking spray/oil.

Step 1:  mix dry ingredients in large bowl

2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
Couple shakes of nutmeg

Step 2:  mix wet ingredients in blender

2 eggs
½ cup (1 stick) softened butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar

Blend; then add one at a time to blender while running:  3 overripe, peeled bananas.

Step 3:  pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix.  Put in pans.

Step 4: Bake

Regular muffins – 20 minutes
Large muffins – 30 minutes
Mini loaf pans – 40 minutes

Photo by foodpr0n.