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Disney Interactive Studios Introduces Wii Video Games: Review and Give-Away!

Disney-Interactive-StudiosLast week, the Monkey and I were invited to the beautiful Victorian in Santa Monica, CA for the Disney Holiday Blogger Tour.  It was such a treat to preview all the fun items that Disney Interactive Studios has developed just in time for the holidays. Disney recognizes that one way to spend time together during the holiday season is to make it fun and interactive.

I love playing games with my family and, in my house, that often includes Wii video games. However, I usually reserve our host of Wii games for older kids and adults. As much as my 3 year old is fascinated by DJ Hero, I don’t necessarily think it’s appropriate for him to find his inner DJ Gregg Gillis just yet! Needless to say, I was especially interested in Disney’s new kid-friendly Wii video games.

Disney has created a whole portfolio of video games designed for the whole family. The family-friendly interactive Wii video games include: (continues…)

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Donald Duck Has a Gun!

Donald Duck has a gun

(photo from

In preparation for an upcoming trip to Disneyland, I sat down with the Monkey to watch some classic Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons on YouTube. I haven’t watched any of these cartoons in at least 25 years, but I remember especially loving Donald Duck. Who didn’t love Donald?!? These cartoons are classics!

Now, before I let the Monkey watch anything, especially on YouTube, I watch it first to make sure it passes the mom-test.  But this was Donald Duck, one of Disney’s most beloved characters. Of course it’s safe for a toddler to watch!

Uh, NO.

We watched a few cartoons that were absolutely enjoyable and fun. Donald playing with sea lions, Donald flirting with Daisy Duck…and then the Monkey pointed to a small clip titled “Toy Tinkers”.


Here is my thought process as my two year old and I watched the clip together:

Look at those cute little squirrels! And there’s Donald Duck in his house, getting ready for Christmas. Oh look, the squirrels see all the nuts Donald has laying around and are now breaking into his house. Those pesky squirrels! Now Donald sees them and decides to have fun with them. Ha! They’re playing a game with Donald as they each steal back the nuts from one another. Oh, how clever of Donald, he comes down the chimney dressed as Santa and hands one squirrel a small nut and the other squirrel a much bigger nut. Oh, now they’re fighting over it and…uh…they just smacked each other over the bigger nut. Hmmmm, I’m not so sure about this….wait, wha….WTF!!!!!….a squirrel just opened a nut to find a gun aimed in his face! Donald is holding the gun directly at the squirrels and marching them away!!!



I’ve never turned my computer off faster.

After I settled my toddler back into the very safe world of Elmo and Abby, I started to click around for more old Disney cartoons. I was shocked by what I came across -  WWII propaganda cartoons featuring Donald Duck and Nazis, Daisy Duck contemplating suicide, Donald and Mickey deliberately getting electrocuted by little mice, and Donald mistreating his three nephews very badly. Very, very badly.

Say what! (continues…)

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Introducing Kids To (Live) Music

We just got back from a long weekend with family and friends where we were treated to a special outdoor acoustic show from one of our favorite bands, Hot Buttered Rum (great band for people of all ages!). These guys played our wedding, so it’s especially fun for us to bring our little Monkey along to their shows.

I love outdoor shows, especially on a beautiful summer day or warm evening. Bringing your kids along can be one of the best ways to introduce them to music.  Some of my earliest childhood memories center around music and live shows so, needless to say, music has always been important to me.  Before pregnancy, live shows were something the Dude and I ventured to regularly and would even plan vacations around. That didn’t stop when I got pregnant. The Monkey probably went to about 30 shows in the womb, from bluegrass and classical to jazz and popular rock. My last concert was about two weeks before my due date. I’m still not sure how I waddled my way to that show, but I certainly got plenty of dancing space!

There is no better way to expose children to music than to introduce them to the live creation of it. To actually experience the formation of beautiful and complex melodies is a wonderful way to stimulate the senses of children and help cognitive and physical development. However, as important as it is to expose young ears to the gift of music, it’s even more important to protect those ears. The type of venue, music genre, the type of crowd, and the acoustics are important pieces of information to gather before you buy your tickets.


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OK…folks…I have a bone to pick. Although this isn’t my soapbox per se, since I did most of the custom programming, I think I deserve a few linear inches of venting space.

About what, you ask? You, AYMB’s supposedly loyal readers.

See, while you noodle your way through Mental Mondays, feast your eyes on Foodie Fridays, and indulge all things in between, there is one thing you seem to have overlooked: The Yip Yips petition. What gives?

I grew up on Sesame Street, but cannot for the life of me remember the Yip Yips. It seems that Sesame Street ran Yip Yips segments only intermittently and only for a couple select years. Thanks to the intersection of YouTube and copyright infringement, however, I discovered the Yip Yips belatedly in between train-crossing segments on YouTube (search for “five engine train,” “SP4999” or “Minto Brown” to find clips whose conclusions will cause violent tantrums in most male toddlers).

These little alien dudes rock.

Toddlers eat up the Yip Yips because they make funny sounds; parents love them because they’re super clever and, at bottom, educational. Leave it to Sesame Street to bridge that generation gap better than almost any other show. But, alas, the Yip Yips went the way of Dynasty, only without any of the “Who shot JR?” fanfare.

At launch, Aimee took it upon herself to draw readers’ attention back to the daily Yip Yips deprivation that Sesame Street works on kids today. She wrote this article embedding the above fun video clip, started this petition, commissioned me to hack-up a sidebar button encouraging folks to read/watch the former and sign their name to the latter, and even reached out to this Facebook user and this Facebook group, which, together, boast almost 8,000 members.

Only 27 33 people have signed the petition so far. What gives? While AYMB ain’t TMZ, it certainly has magnitudes more readers than that single score of signatories.

So, for the love of God, people. For the children. For the future. For all things holy. Sign the petition, would you?

Please consider signing THIS PETITION asking Sesame Street to bring back the Yip Yips!

Please forward, retweet, beg, borrow, steal, cajole…whatever it takes. Future generations will thank you.

P.S. What do you think of the new Mental Monday and Foodie Friday header “buttons”?

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Turn Off Yo Gabba Gabba. It’s TV Time For Yo Mama

Best Invention Ever

My favorite kind of mail

I know that billions of parents were (and are) able to live without DVR’s and Netflix…but I’m just glad I’m not one of them. Just like anyone else, I need a break from reality for a few minutes every day. Rather than rely on psychotropic hallucinogens or a few glasses of wine, I’d rather just escape through the TV or a good book. I hate to say it, but TV usually wins. Hey, to give me some credit, I’m in the middle of a 750 page book on Lincoln. Wouldn’t you rather watch Rock of Love, too? Er, actually…me neither.

I hate scheduling my life around TV programs and I always hated that growing up. If you missed Saturday morning cartoons or an episode of The Wonder Years or Full House, you were screwed until the following week.  Missed that one episode of Friends or Melrose Place? Bummer. You would find out what Ross and Rachel were up to from your real friends. I remember actually taping shows off the VCR, which never seemed to work well for me. I would usually either record way too early or stop taping way too soon. I don’t even know how many times I would attempt to record off an already full tape. It all seems so ancient in these TIVO’d times. We had it so rough, didn’t we?

One of my favorite things to do after putting the Monkey to bed is get an hour or so every night to unwind with the Dude and watch a great show together. Rather than wait for a new episode of some show every week, we rely on Netflix to enjoy entire seasons at a time. We tend to like shows that incite a discussion or even a debate. In other words, shows that tend to be on HBO or Showtime. Wondering what shows couples can enjoy watching together? Here’s our list of must-watch TV: (continues…)

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