Sunday, April 28, 2013

3's A Crowd: An Iron Man 3 Review

Prepare to be spoiled!

Iron Man 3.  What's not to like?  It has Robert Downey Jr.  That should be enough.
But just to keep us on our toes, this high-budgeted flick also introduced a massive fire power of extended fight scenes featuring a bevy of spanking new Iron Men Tony Stark has built during his down time.  He makes self-functioning robot suits/war machines as a hobby, I make papier maches.  I have never felt more lame.

As usual, the mechanical magic of how battle-ready his Iron Men suits are totally floored us.  If you have geeks for kids, they'll love every bit of this.  Of course, keeping Tony Stark grounded with his hilarious and painful experiment foul ups still gave my kids great joy.  Because there's nothing better than seeing a genius fail.  Haha!

Ah, the stunts.  This time around, they were jacked up to mind-numbing level --which my boys gobbled up like a tall glass of chocolate parfait on a hot summer day.  Our favorite:  the Barrel of Monekys save-the-falling-airplane-passengers skydiving bonanza.  That was awesome! 

Now, with the uber exciting peripherals done with, let's talk storyline.
Iron Man 3's terrorism plot using genetically altered super human soldiers isn't anything new.  But using the Mandarin as a marketing tool to give the terrorist attack solid, scary footing is definitely one for the books.  Showbiz is everything, people!  To bad dudes still using ransom notes and masked over voices while laying out your demands by phone --for shame!  Take your cue from the Mandarin. Valuable tip:  If you're not a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr (which should mean you must be a sad, sad little algae), then go watch this movie for Ben Kingsley.  The man is incredible!  Respect, dear sir... respect...

But what is that glue that ties this film's story together?

Yes, folks.  Good old fashioned couple's 'You never have time for me!  All you think about is your hobby!' quarrel which eventually led to the sacrificial self-destruction of all those fantabulous Iron Men suits, the replacement of Tony Stark's mechanical heart with a normal one, and in essence, the end of Iron Man.  Are you happy NOW, Pepper?!!  No amount of abs exposure will make us like you now!  Ha!

Jolly good show, nonetheless.  At the end of the movie, there was only one question that freaked out my boys... with that kind of wrap-up, will there ever be an Iron Man 4?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Summer Score, Forest Cove

So where did we go this summer?  The beach, of course.  We're easy. 
But, with the aid of my incredible vacation planning prowess and immeasurable love for discounts and freebies, a simple beach trip transformed into an all-in-one luxury trip.  Well, semi-luxury.  Like I said, we're easy.

Forest Cove by day.
Forest Cove by night.
We went to Forest Cove, a lovely glass beach house in Nasugbu, Batangas. 

Possibly the only beach house with this pretty a complete kitchen set-up...

... and the most comfortable beds of the expensive goosedown sort. 

It came with the usual resort amenities.  Spectacular view, banana boat, jet ski, henna tattooes, and island hopping boat adventures in brand new, quality life vests.  None of those beat-up, orange wrap-arounds.

The gold mine is that it also came with a pass to next door exclusive, ultra swanky Terrazas de Punta Fuego!  SCORE!  You can get the pass discounted or for free.  Guess how I got ours?  Hehe...

You see?  That ultimate vacation is all in the meticulous researching and the insatiable hunger for value for money.  For this crafty mom anyway. :)
Summer's not over yet.  Why not give Forest Cove a try?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Power Summer with Power Mac!

The Power Mac Workshop Series.  I'd like to call this summer choice one of my gossamer parenting wins.  Uh-huh.
It's not the usual pre-planned, month-long summer camp.  Power Mac gives you piece meal workshops.  And you know what, that's just right.  Each session didn't drag.  There was instant gratification.  Ergo, it made kids instantly happy.  Cool logic when you think about it.

Each workshop features a Mac/iOS/iPAD application to learn.  You get to choose, and then progress as you wish.  It's like building your specialty box.
For starters, Miro chose Video Game Development via the Game Salad program.

In as short as 2 and a half hours, he realized Professionalism.
None of those cutesy, 'preschool' set-ups.  This is an adult office set-up.  We mean business!  And my boy liked it.

Each kid got his own MacBook Pro, and almost a guide each.  There were 3 teachers to 4 students.   

The task was to create your own game.  So the mechanics of the whole thing had to be planned out. Lots of swarm actor attributes, explosion size, and integer talk here and I'm not going to pretend I understood an iota of what went down.  But you do see consequences to your miscalculations and you have to rethink and redo your strategy.  They allow the kids to make mistakes and make it right. 

When all was said and done, the kids demoed their own games.  This was the only time when the kids went back to being kids again --screaming their heads off when they killed off the alien ships or when their hero ships got obliterated 5 seconds into the game.

Loot bag time!  The kids got to take home their self-made games to show off to their friends and families.  They got a neat t-shirt, too.

So in that short-a-time, Miro had enormous fun and learned at the same time.  He came out with a proud, goony smile, and me -- with a happy, well-deserved pat on the back.  Good job, mimi... good job. :)

The Power Mac Summer Workshops are still ongoing.  Choose your child's wild here.  We're thinking of doing 3D Animation next.  Yowza!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Spark of Genius, SparkleLAB.

455 P. Guevara Street, San Juan, Metro Manila. 
If you ever find yourself in San Juan, somewhere near Cafe Ysabel and the Metro Art Gallery, why don't you enter that quaint little red house in the corner?  It's a whole new world inside.  I promise you.

Picture frame made out of old toys.
This unassuming abode is actually SparkleLAB, a toy making+game making camp for kids ages 9 to 99.  99... Guess that's why I was invited to its Open House.  Lol!

Inside, you'll be greeted by the coziest, most colorful explosion of childhood fun.

Keyboarc couch.
Nom-noms while lounging on rock pillows (love those!).
Even the office is a playground.
The coolest chill out activities --which happen to be where kids draw inspirational nuggets as well.

Board games.
More board games!
Floor games.
And yes, video games.  Here, owner Miss Rosanna plays Little Big Planet with my boys.
And they never spoke to me again.  Lol!
And be amazed by the awesomeness children's imagination can accomplish.  From recycled scraps to ingenuity from scratch, every end product totally pulls out a huge success factor for your little ones.

Kid-made toys.
Kid-made puppet.
Kid-made fridge magnets, Fire Princess and Treetrunks.
Kid-made iPad case, Flambo.
Kid-made hooks and key chains.
Kid-made barrettes.
Kid-made headbands.  The calculator keys headband floored me. :)
Kid-made stuffed toy.
Eye candy falls short in describing SparkleLAB.  Although if you do get visually overwhelmed with joy, it's normal.
What it really is, is a hands-on adventure.  The kind only inventive kids and kids at heart can possibly embark on.  Speaking of which, you and your family might want to take your minds and hands on this one-of-a-kind trip this summer.  SparkleLAB has educational and innovative workshops for every toy making and game making itch you may have.  Click here for fun levels and schedules.

If you can think it, you can make it.  If you make it, you can play it.  At SparkleLAB.
Thanks again, Miss Rosanna!  We'll be back!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Papier Macheniacs: The Topping Dead

Oh, but they're more than that.  Lately, we've been pushing our recycling projects to become something more practical and reusable.  Remember Lego Keeper Gunther? :)

So today, we've come up with Papier Mache toppers --a sticky tribute to our Top 1 Favorite TV series of all time, The Walking Dead.  Surprisingly, this TWD project isn't the least bit bloody to make.

First, check your trash.  You see that big empty tissue roll?  That's your main ingredient.  Carefully cut the tube into three equal parts.

Embellish!  All you need is newspaper sculpted into hair and hats.

Off to the fun part --weapons.  Itsy bitsy, tiny ones!  You're gonna use a ton of tape, believe me.

Then, papier mache like the wind!  Gluing tissue to a tissue roll --ah, the irony! :P
Oh, you better make sure you get a good, strong double layer on these babies, by the way.  You're leaving the middle part hollow.  So you'll need strength on the body's frame itself.

Paint.  My boys insisted on Season 1 Rick Grimes.  Because "he's cooler in a sheriff outfit!".

Now, top 'til you drop!

Here's Rick as a pen sorter.  If you're hopelessly OC like me, you'd like to categorize your markers in the marker bin.  Uh-huh.

Daryl as a bottle topper.  Ok, no functional value there but it does make a simple water bottle look nice and badass.  Lol!

Michonne as a paint jar hider.  Because we'd rather cover up our paint jar messes than wash them off.  Eh, who needs clean paint jars anyway!

Hey, here's a plus!  These Walking Dead characters are swell space savers, too.  They stack up perfectly as a neat totem pole for pack-away time.  With the number of papier mache figures this family churns out on a weekly basis, yeah, space savers are very welcomed.

There!  Did we inspire you to get the family together for a night of TP-ing over TWD reruns?  If we did, we're proud to say you're on your way to a TOPtastic day.  (Yay us!)

See more photos of our TWD project on Papier Macheniacs.