10 Products I Love that are Made in PA

I’m so happy to call Pennsylvania my home. I’ve lived in PA for most of my life and I have no plans on leaving. That’s why I had so much fun coming up with this list of the top 10 things produced in the Keystone State for USALoveList.com

Check it out and let us know your favorites!

LOVE Park, Philadelphia, PA

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Practicing Math with Flashcar, a Math Learning Game.

I’m one lucky Aunt. My 7 year old nephew, as well as my sister and 2 year old nephew, have been living with us this year. They’ll be here for a few more months until my brother-in-law finishes his time in Korea with the military.

The 7 year old is in 2nd grade and this has given me early insight into what to expect from our local public school system. (Only a few more short years until my own son has his first day of kindergarten.)

For instance, there are no more A, B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s – or E’s as my school used. I had to use a guide to understand the first report card that came home a few weeks ago!

Not only this, but as part of PA state standards, my nephew is frequently given timed quizzes on basic math facts. He supposed to do a sheet of 50 addition or subtraction facts in 4 minutes or less. The kids are supposed to have the answers memorized. He knows his math facts, or at least how to figure out the answers, but he’s getting intimidated by the timing aspect of these quizzes and doing poorly.

So we have to PRACTICE!

Enter FLASHCAR, a math learning game.

At first, I thought it looked too simplistic or boring. The game is essentially flash cards with an added twist. But that didn’t matter to my nephew. He was immediately drawn into the game and racing his car around the track. It didn’t matter that math problems were the fuel that propelled our cars forward.

The game comes with 2 card decks. One deck has addition and subtraction problems and the other has multiplication and division problems. We stuck with the addition/subtraction set.

And, even though the problems are easy for adults, the game consists of an equal amount of skill and chance. So don’t think if you get all the questions right you are automatically going to win. Lady Luck handed me enough “pitcards” that my nephew zoomed past me despite missing a few flash cards. He was so excited that he WON that he wanted to play a second game right then and there.

I do think the game would be more fun and flow better with more than 2 players but overall I have to give this game “two thumbs up” going by my nephew’s reaction.

The game was definitely a confidence builder for him!

To purchase this game yourself online head over to kids-learninggames.com where you will find both the board game for sale as well as information about the pending online version.

Manufacturer Description:

  • Challenge your child to race to the head of the class with the Flashcar board game
    Age appropriate for children in grades 1 to 4, ages 6 to 12
  • 1 to 6 players
  • Includes 100 rugged math question/answer cards, colorful race car game pawns, game spinner, and 25 pitcards for added excitement
  • Answer math questions correctly in addition, subtraction, multiplication & division to move around the race track game board
  • Different levels of questions make game scalable to different learning levels.
  • Made from recycled materials, made in the USA

Disclaimer: The makers of Flashcar allowed us to test drive this game by providing me with a copy of the board game for review.

Cyber Monday Event

Did you shop and score any deals on Cyber Monday?

I was lucky and got to “cyber” shop in person at the Philly Social Media Moms “Cyber Monday” Holiday party. Dave and Buster’s hosted us and lots of children’s product companies sponsored the event. The sponsors gave us a peek at some of the top sellers of the season. Too bad I don’t have a daughter or other young girls in the family because I thought the Lil Miss Muffin toys were adorable. I think my son and nephews are going to love the crazy KooKoo birds I came home with though. Will have to wait til Christmas to know for sure but they make silly noises AND lay eggs so I think they will be enjoyed.

I also got a close up look at the Paddywhack Lane line and was even more lucky to come home with two of their children’s books.

My son is a train-a-holic at the moment so it was fun to see products from BigJig Toys. They even gave everyone one of their pink wooden train engines. Can’t say that I’ve seen many pink train toys! Thankfully my toddler could care less about color and will be absolutely thrilled to have another train.

Ohanarama is not a toy company but they were also there. They are a new social media site FOR FAMILIES where you can play games together and compete for real-world prizes. (*ahem* I’ve teamed up with them to offer children’s book prizes to schools!) Ohanarama’s CEO, Jane Hoffer, also introduced us to Paradocx Vineyards a really unique wine company that is a CSA and sells wine by the bucket. Yes, I said bucket!

All-in-all it was a perfect ladies’ night out and super fun to window shop while checking out new products.

A few pics taken by Musings of a Housewife:

Me and a few of the other Philly Social Media Moms
KooKoo birds

NEW Night Time Parade at Sesame Place

Sesame Street is one of the first TV shows I allowed my toddler to watch. Since I grew up on the show like most of America it was an easy decision. I knew it was wholesome entertainment that’s occasionally amusing to adults – True Blood parody, anyone?

My son quickly grew fond of Elmo, Abby, and many of the other characters on the Sesame Street. And amazingly lucky for us we are not too far from Sesame Place, the children’s theme park based on the classic television show.

This weekend we were invited to explore the park and watch the debut of their first ever night time parade!

We arrived in the late afternoon and almost immediately ran into Oscar the Grouch hanging out in his trashcan! Shortly afterwards, Liz from SixYearItch spotted us walking down the main street through the Sesame neighborhood. She and her daughter were checking out the fire station that’s part of the life size recreation of Sesame Street.

We moved on to the rides. Big Bird’s Balloon ride was the most anticipated ride of the day for X. He also loved the Sunny Day Carousel and for the very first time he stayed on a horse for the whole ride instead of on the bench seat!

In between rides, we caught a couple of shows. First was Elmo’s World Live which is wonderful live recreation of the Elmo’s World you see on the TV show. The ‘episode’ that plays at the park focuses on the art of dance. Kids and parents are very much encouraged to get up and dance throughout the show.

We found an easy and fast dinner at Elmo’s Eatery. The food is moderately priced, and even better if you get the 30% off season pass discount, considering kids’ meals come with a cute souvenir plate and cup. But this is where my only real (and maybe silly) gripe of the day happens. This is our 2nd time visiting the park, the first being very early in the season. I was looking forward to getting a 2nd matching Elmo plate. Unfortunately, they’ve since changed the souvenir plates and we now have 2 different Elmo plates that don’t stack well. I also like the look of the 1st plate better. Bummer! I do appreciate that the 2nd plate specifies that it is BPA free on the back though.

Finally, it was getting closer to the debut of the parade. You could tell everyone was excited because despite the parade not starting till 9PM families were staking out their spots along the parade route as early as 8PM! We were invited to the VIP pre-parade character meet & greet so made our way to that area. Meet & greets are generally reserved for Big Bird and Super Grover season pass holders only. With only a dozen or so families there, this made the meet-and-greet experience more intimate and less overwhelming.

X was immediately excited when the first characters started trickling out. He desperately wanted to give Telly a hug and a high five. He had his arms open and ready to go… until we actually got up to Telly at which point he decided we were WAY TOO CLOSE and that he wanted nothing to do with this monster touching business. After our quick photo, he cheerfully chirped, “Bye Telly!” and waved as we walked away. A similar scenario played out with the rest of the characters! But we had fun nonetheless and got to meet so many characters, including: Murray, Elmo, the Count, Bert & Ernie, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Big Bird, Prairie Dawn and Telly.

 


After the meet & greet it was finally dark and the night parade kicked off with lots of fun music and lights along the entire way. All the kids loved it and it was just the perfect length for holding little people’s attention. Not too long or short!

We can’t wait to be able to go again. Thanks so much to Sesame Place and Girl Gone Mom for inviting us and letting us share in this fun day and evening!

(Sorry for the blurry cell phone pics, next time I definitely need to bring a real camera)