Embassy Suites Launches #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks!


Three-quarters (77%) of parents across the nation take trips where they stay in a hotel at least once a year with their kids – regardless of how many children they have – with about one-third (30%) of families traveling three or more times a year.¹ Parents say that family vacations are among their favorite moments with their kids, and that’s why a favorite, family-friendly hotel brand is taking steps to help make these important journeys even easier on parents.

Recently, Embassy Suites Hotels, the Hilton Worldwide brand of upscale all-suite hotels, announced the launch of its new #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks community.

“Family vacations come in all shapes and sizes, but some of the challenges parents face are the same, which is why we are committed to providing families with everything they need for a terrific experience – from two-room suites to free, made-to-order breakfast to complimentary drinks and snacks for all ages at our evening reception,” said John Rogers, global head, Embassy Suites Hotels. “We are taking it a step further this year with new team member training, family-focused amenities and the new #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks online community, which gives parents the opportunity to learn and share great advice on what makes trips with the kids easier and more fun.”

The Embassy Suites #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks program includes the following components:

  • #PrettyGreat Family Travel Hacks Online Community: The online community provides family travel “hacks” – simple, clever tips to make vacation journeys with children easier, from packing to keeping the kids entertained on the road – posted by family travel experts and fellow parents. Currently, parents can post their own battle-tested hacks for the chance to win one of eight one-night stays to the Embassy Suites hotel of their choice, awarded weekly from March 19 through May 14, 2015.


  • Embassy Suites Team-Member Training: Fifty-six percent of people surveyed in the recent Embassy Suites Family Travel study said a friendly staff would make them return to the same hotel or stay at the same hotel chain in another location for a family vacation.1 Embassy Suites is reinforcing its commitment to providing families with a great guest experience by incorporating family-specific training into its orientation program and ongoing team-member training sessions.  The brand is also adding resources, such as how-to videos featuring our All-Star Team Members, and encouraging team members to share their demonstrated best practices to inspire others.


  • Family-focused Amenities: Embassy Suites is adding a variety of new family-focused amenities, from cocktail napkins with family-friendly games – like tic-tac-toe, Sudoku and word search – for the evening reception, to baby- and child-specific “do not disturb” signs, to coloring books and crayons at check-in. The brand is also planning a pilot program to offer baby care amenities – such as baby wash, wipes and other essentials – at select properties this summer.


To better understand and respond to the needs of traveling families, Embassy Suites Hotels commissioned a survey¹ of 2,000 U.S. parents with at least one child under the age of 18 at home. The results reinforce the desire of all parents to travel with their kids, and reveals key wishes and stumbling blocks related to family travel including:

  • Families travel frequently, but Millennials show real wanderlust. Nearly 40 percent of Millennial parents (38%) travel and stay in a hotel three or more times per year with their children – a higher rate than both Generation X and Baby Boomer parents. Still, eight out of 10 parents (82%) overall wish they could travel with their kids even more frequently.


  • Families that travel together, stay together. Sixty-three percent said they are motivated to take a trip with the kids in order to “build new memories with them,” and 62 percent said “spending time with their kids while they are still young” is a motivating factor.


  • Travel is a family affair. Millennial parents often bring other family members on vacation. About one-third (34%) of Millennials bring another family member other than their partner and/or a grandparent (31%) on family vacations. Generation X and Baby Boomer parents are both less likely to take these additional family members, with Boomers being about two times less likely.


  • Family travel is an important part of parenting today. Seventy percent of parents are motivated to take family trips because they believe giving their kids experiences they didn’t have as a child is important. These parents want their kids to be more well-rounded than they were at their age (51%) and want to provide more for their kids than their parents were financially able to provide (47%).


  • Family-friendly amenities lead to a successful vacation. Fifty-three percent said “affordable two-room suites,” and 47 percent said “free hot, made-to-order breakfast each day” would make them a lot more likely to take a trip with the kids, the two highest-rated of the choices offered. That’s good news for those staying at Embassy Suites, which has long catered to families by offering every guest a two-room suite, free cooked-to-order breakfast and a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary drinks* and snacks.


Have Fun With Dexter With The New MONKEYCAM IOS-App


MONKEYCAM – free iOS app now available for download from the iTunes App Store



To celebrate the March 10th release of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is pleased to announce MONKEYCAM, available as a free download exclusively from the iTunes App Store for your iPhone and iPad.


Make your photos come to life using this fun photo-editing app! Add static or animated stickers of the cheeky Capuchin, Dexter, to your pictures for a hilarious addition to your favorite memories.


Dexter can mischievously photobomb you and your friends, or lovingly give you hugs and kisses. Either way, the monkey madness is sure to get a laugh!


Key Features:

  • Customize your photos with NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM film elements, including stickers, frames and filters
  • Add animated stickers, such as Dexter kissing, jumping, eating, hugging and slapping
  • Save the creation to your camera roll as a photo or video
  • New stickers to be released via push notifications



LEGO Star Wars (@Lego_Group) Droid Tails on @DisneyXD #LegoDad


The LEGO Group, world renowned manufacturer of construction toys, today announced that Disney XD has acquired LEGO® Star Wars™: Droid Tales for airing later this year. The animated content series consists of five 22-minute episodes that re-tell the Star Wars saga in chronological order from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace up through Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Disney XD is also currently home to the animated hit series Star Wars Rebels.

“Since we introduced our first LEGO Star Wars set in 1999, we have seen and heard from countless Star Wars fans who have used LEGO bricks to tell their own version of this timeless story, re-enacting favorite scenes and imagining new story lines,” said Jill Wilfert, vice president of licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group. LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales gives us an opportunity to share highlights of the Star Wars story with a sense of
humor and excitement that can only be conveyed through the LEGO brick, and will be a fun resource for families as they gear up for the next movie.


As its title suggests, Droid Tales is a re-telling of the Star Wars universe through the eyes of C-3P0 and R2-D2. Following their victory celebration in the Ewok village on Endor, seen at the close of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, C-3PO and R2-D2 have gathered to regale Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the other Rebels with the tales of their adventures that led to the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. An accidental kidnapping occurs while the droids are reminiscing and suddenly viewers are taken on a new adventure that leads to encounters with familiar faces and places that prompt the re-telling of the entire saga. The series offers all of the playful humor that viewers expect from LEGO Star Wars.

Information on airdates for each episode is not yet available. Additional LEGO Star Wars activities to get the family caught up will launch throughout the year.

LEGO Star Wars (@Lego_Group) Slave I To Be Released #LegoDad


After attending the recent Dad 2.0 Summit conference I left completely in awe of the amazing Star Wars LEGO sets that have recently been released. I am a #LEGODad and love sharing LEGO sets with my own daughters! Over the next few days I will be sharing some of them with you and I think that you too will be very impressed. I know that I for one would love to build each and every one of these!

Here is the Second one that I wanted to share: The iconic Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett Ship, The Slave I!

Search the galaxy for fugitives with Boba Fett and his Slave I with rotating cockpit and wings, dual shooters and a display stand. Track down fugitives with legendary bounty hunter, Boba Fett aboard the powerful Slave I! This exclusive LEGO Star Wars model features a rotating cockpit and wings for flight and landing mode, plus dual shooters and hidden blasters to repel attackers. Reenact the capture of Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and take off from Bespin with the carbonite-imprisoned Rebel hero in the cargo hold. Attach the stand to display this iconic ship in characteristic upright flight. Includes 4 minifigures with weapons: Boba Fett, Bespin Guard, Stormtrooper and Han Solo.


  • Includes 4 minifigures with weapons: Boba Fett, Bespin Guard, Stormtrooper and Han Solo
  • Also includes Han Solo in carbonite!
  • Features a rotating cockpit and wings, opening side hatches with hidden guns and missiles, 2 rotating dual shooters, cargo hold and a display stand with data sheet
  • Weapons include special blaster pistol for Boba Fett, blaster pistol for Bespin Guard and a blaster rifle for the Stormtrooper
  • Boba Fett and Bespin Guard minifigures are unique to this set • Rotate the cockpit and wings for flight and landing mode
  • Place carbonite-imprisoned Han Solo in the cargo hold
  • Open the side hatches to unleash missiles from the hidden guns
  • Showcase the huge Slave I in upright flight on the display stand
  • Recreate classic scenes from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back • Measures over 7” (20cm) high, 17” (45cm) long and 14” (37cm) wide in landing mode


Available for sale directly through LEGO beginning May 2015 via shop.LEGO.com

LEGO Star Wars (@Lego_Group) Ultimate Collector TIE Fighter To Be Released #LegoDad


After attending the recent Dad 2.0 Summit conference I left completely in awe of the amazing Star Wars LEGO sets that have recently been released. I am a #LEGODad and love sharing LEGO sets with my own daughters! Over the next few days I will be sharing some of them with you and I think that you too will be very impressed. I know that I for one would love to build each and every one of these!

The first one I will share is the Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter – the iconic Imperial starfighter as seen above!

LEGO proudly present the Ultimate Collector Series LEGO Star Wars TIE Fighter. As featured in many of the action-packed Star Wars battle scenes, including the decisive battle that led to the destruction of the first Death Star, this large-scale LEGO-brick rendition of the classic Imperial starfighter has intricate detailing, as well as an opening top hatch and an exclusive TIE Fighter Pilot minifigure with a blaster pistol. And when you want to keep it safe from Rebel attack, mount the model on the display stand and keep yourself updated with all the key facts and figures on the included fact plaque. The Ultimate Collector Series TIE Fighter is the perfect addition to your Star Wars collection!

  • Includes a TIE Fighter Pilot minifigure with a blaster pistol
  • Features an opening top hatch
  • Includes a display stand and informative fact plaque
  • The perfect flagship model for fans of Star Wars and LEGO brick building
  • Collect one of the most iconic starships in the galaxy!
  • TIE Fighter measures 18.5” (47cm) high, 12” (30.6cm) long and 12.2” (31cm) wide

Available for sale directly through LEGO® beginning May 2015 via shop.LEGO.com

OzoGroove, A Great New App Supporting Your @Ozobot


Ozobot has charmed geeks and toy masters at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the American International Toy Fair, with USA Today and Popular Science giving Ozobot their Best Tech Toys of Toy Fair distinction. They are a finalist in Most Innovative Toy in the TOTY awards, were awarded the Holiday Seal of Approval by The National Parenting Center last week, Dr. Toy has placed Ozobot on her 10 Best Technology list for 2014. Once stocked on shelves, the MSRP will be $49.99 each. Online shoppers can find these tiny robots in time for the holidays at.  For more information, please see my attached press releases.

OzoGroove, the newest app from the makers of the world’s smallest programmable robot known as Ozobot, proves that robots can glide and dance with grace. Until now robots have been getting a bad rap for their mobility with humans taunting them with “The Robot” dance, well, no longer! Techies, kids and game enthusiasts can now download the free App from Google Play or the iTunes Store and cue their favorite music, then code their amazing buddy to perform a Waltz, do the Tango, or whatever you dream up!


For anyone not familiar with the hottest smart toy in augmented reality, Ozobot can be programmed for action in thousands of ways, making Ozobot quite the versatile game piece, strategy game and now a dance star.  Not sure where to start with Ozobot’s sweet new moves? OzoGroove comes with built-in demos, versatile dance tools and even a help desk. Simply download, cue your music and sequence a few moves. Over time users can master their skills and create uber cool moves within the app’s PRO editor option.  Finally something that will thrill emerging geeks, artists, grownup techies and luxury lovers! For only $99 for two or $49 for one, these brand new tiny robots pack a huge punch of play and educational value in one small price, and they’re small enough to stash in a purse or backpack (or pocket) for on-the-go fun.

Friends can even gather their Ozobots together to create a dance troupe and choreograph a routine! Online shoppers can find these tiny robots for holiday giving at Ozobot.com (save 25% today for Cyber Monday, check Facebook for code!), sharperimage.com brookstone.com, momastore.org and amazon.com.


You can also personalize your Ozobot using liquid glue and ordinary craft supplies with one of the “skins or helmets” that came with your Ozobot! In December, their website will sell a four-pack of skins so you can create different personas.

Skylanders Trap Team Unleashes Full Experience On New Formats


Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) announced today that it will bring the complete Skylanders Trap Team videogame to tabletsi at launch, marking the first time a full Skylanders® game will be available on iPad®, Kindle Fire and Android tablets day-and-date with the console version. The tablet version of the game delivers the same experience with console-quality graphicsi[i] and comes with its own high performance controller, delivering yet another significant technological leap to the Skylanders franchise.

The Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack will include a Bluetooth® Traptanium PortalTM; an embedded Bluetooth® controller to provide the best gameplay experience possible; a built-in tablet stand; two Skylanders characters; two Traps and a display tray that lets Portal Masters keep track of the Traps they’ve collected and which villains they have trapped.


“Skylanders has become an incredibly appealing brand and franchise for kids around the world. And the tablet has become an incredibly appealing gaming platform for kids around the world. But we haven’t been able to bring the full Skylanders experience to the tablet until now,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “We always want to deliver breakthrough experiences, and we also always want to be wherever gamers want to play. This is a chance for us to bring the magic of Skylanders to a whole new platform and audience. Whether you want to sit on the couch and play with the wireless controller, or play on the go using just the tablet itself, this provides a great experience for gamers.”

Skylanders Trap Team brings a ground-breaking innovation to the Skylanders franchise by reversing the magic of its signature Toys-To-Life™ play pattern to let kids bring life to toys. Skylanders Trap Team allows Portal Masters to seek out the most wanted villains in all of Skylands, defeat them and pull them out of the game into their living rooms by capturing them in magical Traps. Fans can then play as both heroes and villains who join the forces of good in an all-new adventure. Now, for the first time in franchise history, fans can experience a fullSkylanders game on the go, wherever and whenever they want.


The tablet version of Skylanders Trap Team upholds the same gameplay-driven adventure as the console version with console-quality graphics,[ii] complete with lush, expansive environments that push the technological boundaries of select tablet devices. Like the console version of the game, all toys will be cross-platform compatible, with all skills and upgrades intact.

Skylanders Trap Team on tablet can be experienced two different ways:

  • “Controller” –– Fans can play the game just like the console version using the Bluetooth TraptaniumPortal and toys with the custom Bluetooth Skylanders game controller included in the Tablet Starter Pack.
  • “Touch Controls” – For players who prefer to use touch controls instead of a controller, fans have the option to play the game just using on-screen touch controls.

The Skylanders Trap Team Starter Pack will be available on October 5th in North America, October 10th in Europe and October 2nd in Australia on the following platforms: a variety of iPad®, Kindle Fire and Android tablets; Xbox One and Xbox 360 games and entertainment systems from Microsoft; PlayStation®4 system; PlayStation®3 system; Nintendo’s Wii™ system and Nintendo’s Wii U™ system. A different, unique adventure also will be available on the Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system.

Scholastic #SummertoSchool Twitter Chat on 8/25


I wanted to let you know about a twitter party tomorrow! I have been working this summer on the SCHOLASTIC SUMMER READING CHALLENGE and tomorrow Scholastic will be having their #SummertoSchool Twitter chat scheduled for this upcoming Monday.


The chat will take place Monday, August 25th at 8pm EST and will feature Scholastic’s Maggie McGuire (@scholastic), librarian John Schumaker (@mrschureads), and parent blogger Bekki Lindner (@chasingsupermom), who will be Tweeting great tips, expert advice, and exciting giveaways!

August 30th is Slinky Day #SlinkyDAY


We all remember that slinkity sound and spending endless hours building stairs around our house for it to climb down. It’s time to share that joy with the next generation.

Slinky is 69 years old! It was in invented in 1945, when Richard James was conducting experiments using springs, and one fell to the floor and began to walk! Slinky® first captivated kids and adults with its ability to walk down stairs step-by-step and classic Slinky® sound. The Slinky® was first made in the US and still is! Today, Slinky® has expanded with over 20 different products including Slinky Dog™, Giant Slinky®, Light-Up Slinky®, Collectors’ Slinky® and more! SLINKY is part of the ALEX BRANDS family of brands, other brands include ALEX TOYS, POOF, SCIENTIFIC EXPLORER, IDEAL, ZOOB, BACKYARD SAFARI, ZILLIONZ and CITIBLOCS.




Join me for the #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party Tonight!

I participated in the #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party and received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.


Join me for the Kingsford Charcoal and The Home Depot #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party!


Join me on Thursday, May 1st for the Kingsford Charcoal and The Home Depot #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party from 8 – 9 PM ET to chat about welcoming the warm weather, kicking off grilling season and where to purchase all of your must-have grilling items for the season!

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Time: 8 – 9 PM ET
Hashtag:  #SpringMadeSimple
Moderator: @MomCentral
Guest: Celebrity Chef and world champion pitmaster @ChrisLillyBBQ
Prizes: 2 pre-party winners and 6 party winners will be randomly selected every ten minutes to receive a $50 Home Depot gift card. Additionally, 1 grand prize winner will receive a charcoal grill.
Questions: Contact Matt at mschuiere@momcentral.com

Follow along and join in the conversation by:

  • Create your own custom view with TweetDeck or Hootsuite
  • Following #SpringMadeSimple on your Twitter search feed

Pre-tweet to Win!
Anyone who tweets this from now until the #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party will be eligible to win one of two $50 Home Depot gift cards!

About the party:

With spring upon us, we begin planning activities for our families that get us outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Many warm weathered activities often surround one thing – a grill. Whether we’re holding a neighborhood barbeque or cooking up a quick meal for our family, cooking delicious food on the grill is a true sign of spring and summer.

Prior to any grilling season, we need to stock up on all of the essentials to make these delicious meals possible. Kingsford Charcoal, a staple in the barbecue world, proves an essential item for any griller. Join the #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party on Thursday, May 1st at 8 PM ET to chat about kicking off the spring grilling season!


How do I join the conversation?

Easy. Just tweet using the hashtag #SpringMadeSimple. Mom Central moderators will help guide the conversation with engaging questions and giveaways.

Who are the moderators?

The Mom Central Team (@MomCentral) will be on hand to guide the discussion and chat with participants. Make sure you’re following them before the party starts!

How do I follow the conversation?

Use the hashtag #SpringMadeSimple to follow along. To help keep up with the conversation, we suggest that you follow the hashtag by:

  • Create your own custom view with TweetDeck or Hootsuite
  • Following #SpringMadeSimple on your Twitter search feed

About the Twitter Party Pre-Party Giveaway?

The #SpringMadeSimple Twitter Party features a pre-party giveaway of two (2) promotional items valued at $50.00 each. Please see below for an overview of specific details and go tohttp://www.momcentral.com/giveaway-rules to be directed to Mom Central’s official Giveaway Rules.

  • Entry Period: The entry period for the Twitter Party Pre-Party Giveaway begins on April 30, 2014, at 8:00:01 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) and ends on May 1, 2014 at 9:00:00 p.m. ET (the “Entry Period”).
  • How to Enter: Current Twitter users or those willing to create a Twitter account can enter by following @MomCentral on Twitter and posting a Tweet during the Entry Period with the hashtag #SpringMadeSimple. Only one (1) Twitter account can be used to enter the Pre-Party Giveaway.
  • Winner Selection Process: Mom Central will select two (2) winners in a random drawing from all eligible entries during the Entry Period. Odds of being chosen as a selected Winner depend on the total number of entries. The Sponsor will Tweet the names of selected entrants from the Twitter account @MomCentral following the Entry Period on May 1, 2014, between 8:00:01 p.m. ET and 9:00:01 p.m. ET. Each entrant is limited to one (1) prize. The results of the random selection are final and binding.
  • Winner Prizes and Approximate Retail Values: Each Winner will receive one (1) promotional item, with an approximate retail prize value of $50.00 (the “Winner Prize”) upon being declared a Winner. Mom Central will deliver the Winner Prize to an address provided by the Winner.
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