Kickstarter Games ‘Bane’ and ‘4 the Birds’ are 4 the Family

Kickstarter Logo Image: Kickstarter
Kickstarter logo. Image: Kickstarter.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. I live in a land of microbrews (yum), hipsters, and gourmet donuts (super yum). It is also the land of board game creation. So many great board games have hailed from the minds of Pacific Northwesterners that game stores are becoming as common as Starbucks (not a bad thing).

Two more games from the land of moss and rain are available to check out on Kickstarter now. Both games were made with families in mind.

Bane box art by Ryan Yee of Magic: The Gathering fame. Image: Gamesicle, LLC, on Kickstarter.

Bane is an expanded game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Remember a couple of years ago, when I talked about the social card game at GameStorm that had the attention of all of the kids who were in attendance? The full board game is now on Kickstarter. Werewolves, humans, and vampires battle each other to see who is fastest and can reach the level of Master first. Luck and strategy are both used in this card game.

Werewolves eat vampires, vampires hunt humans, and humans are after werewolves. The highest number played gets to try and hunt first. In this case, the human 6 wins. Image: Cathe Post.

The artwork on the cards will give this game a 13+ rating, but if your younger child is used to the artwork on Magic: The Gathering cards, this is at about the same level. My kids (5 and 9 years old) have both seen the cards, and it was fine.

Bane will be lurking on Kickstarter until June 10. If you back at the $28 level, you will receive a copy of the game if the project is successfully funded.

4 the Birds box art. Image: Blackspot Games on Kickstarter.

4 the Birds is a dice-rolling, sneakily educational game. I previously wrote about this game after play-testing it at GameStorm in 2012. Roll the dice to find the point on the board and place one of six of your birds. Get four of your birds in a row or  square shape and you win. It’s deceptively simple. But, when you add crows, a hawk, and cards with special powers, it is either the start of a bad bar joke or the gateway to adding quite a bit of strategy to a fun—and pun heavy—game.

A group of us played through the prototype of 4 the Birds. (This is not what the final game will look like.) It’s simple enough for young players, but has plenty of room for adult-level complexity and strategy. Image: Jonathan Liu.

This game can be played by any player old enough to roll dice and recognize numbers. The game can be just that simple or much more complex, depending on how much planning you put into the hawk and crows who join the flock (and how the ability cards are used.

4 the Birds will be nesting on Kickstarter until June 18. Backing at the $29 (+$5 shipping) level will pre-order the game for you, since the game has funded. Even with shipping, it is a deal. Retail price for the game will be $40.

Kids Won’t Shy Away From Geometry in ‘Land of Venn’ App

Image: Land of Venn Geometric Defense, used with permission.

I fall short in the math area of STEM. I hated geometry in school. I can’t repeat on this site the words that come to mind when the term trigonometry is used. When my daughter comes home with requests to work on her math facts, I go to the computer and look for an app that will help her. At this point, it isn’t because I’m afraid of the math, it is because I am afraid that my dislike of the 4-letter word will rub off on her, or worse, I will teach her something incorrectly and ingrain a bad example that will serve as the seed for so many math lessons to come.

This said, the newest app in my anti-math mom arsenal is called Land of Venn Geometric Defense. The characters have such interesting and unique names, I would not do it justice in explaining the purpose of the game, but their video pretty much tells you everything:

There is a lot visually happening in this app. Some of the platform bits move, but are not interactive which makes it challenging to tap and drag the correct thing at times. Sometimes there are so many things to tap and drag that a tablet is a preferred surface to make geometric shapes on. Especially if you are an adult playing this game, it’ a good idea to drag out the tablet unless you want the added challenge of a small screen and adult fingers. On a phone, another obstacle is potions (when you get them) that take up room in the bottom of the screen and cover up bad guys, taking precious time away from making your geometric shapes of villain destruction. In later levels, quadrilaterals are requested for ultimate destructive power against the juice-stealing varmints. Again, adult fingers on a phone screen aren’t the best combination for achieving a 3-star rating on a level.

straight line
They call it a straight line, I call it a line segment. What do you call it? Image: Land of Venn, used with permission.

My only observation about the geometric facts the game presents is a technicality, the shortest distance between two points is a line segment—but for kids, this is not a necessary point (pun intended).

The video above features most of the intro video to the app. It took me several times through the video on a tablet and phone to understand the thick accent in the opening scene. Once I heard it on the computer, I understood. Thankfully, I didn’t need to understand the video to play the game. It is mainly for flavor.

Minor complaints aside, this app is much easier for kids to handle with their tiny fingers, and they hear things better on average than us deaf old fogies. My kids couldn’t wait for me to finish my testing of the app so that they could give it a try.

The Adventure Time-like art is amazing. The game features crisp lines which aids in making the game playable. The areas shown in the game are beautiful. It, like other cartoons of the same style, is a little gory. Some of the attacks used on the invaders send knives out of the ground into the offending parties. It is a little graphic, but I don’t have a problem with my 5- and 9-year-old kids playing the app.

1st world levels
After the ten areas are completed, the arch at the top becomes a mini game to test the players retention of the shapes they made in the game. Image: Land of Venn, used with permission

The game has three areas to complete with ten levels in each. Each area ends with a gate that unlocks after each type of geometric shape is correctly identified. I really like this part of the game. It adds a different way of learning and adds repetition into the game without the player really noticing. The test was a nice break from the mad tapping. After unlocking all three gates, I was looking for more.

Originally, the game was only available in the App store for $4.99. It has expanded to the Amazon store and is available for $0.99. An Android version will be available after a few bugs are worked out in Beta testing (I ran through beta testing on my Samsung. After an initial download issue, the game played beautifully on the device, so I am hopeful the game will be available to the public soon). The development team is very involved with fixing any issues and has listened to feedback to produce a superior app for kids learning.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

8 Ways to Be a Pokémon Smart Parent

All of the Pokémon! All of the time! Photo: Cathe Post

Are Pokémon cards taking over your house? Here are 8 ways to embrace the little pocket monsters.

  1. Do you have a bunch of cards sitting around? Do your kids carry them in their pockets in a jumbled mess? Build them a playable deck! (Don’t worry, the monsters only bite each other.)
  2. Take your Pokémon experience a bit further, learn the basics of playing the game. Even if you have old cards from your brother’s attic, you can still play the game!
  3. If you don’t have cards, you can learn while you play online. No cards needed, just an internet connection.
  4. Do you have video games instead of cards? There are some great guides for beginning Pokémon video game players. Even if you are just interested in the art of Pokémon, there is a video game for that, too.
  5. Ready for playing with other Pokémon fans? Find a league near you!
  6. Are you ready to go completely crazy with Pokémon?! Check out the Twitch channel, YouTube channel, Netflix line up, and more!
  7. Did you know you can be a real Pokémon Professor (if you are 18 or older)? Take the test to see if you have what it takes! (I was a professor for two years and believe me when I say you earn the title.)
  8. Show your Pokémon Pride! Make a shirt, read about the Pokémon, or collect the little characters.

GeekMom Has a Twitch Channel!

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 2.34.01 PM
GeekMom Twitch Channel! Screenshot: Cathe Post

Seeing as many GeekMom writers play a variety of video games, it seemed logical to start a Twitch channel.

Right now, our Twitch channel is new. Our schedule consists of a bi-weekly Friday evening show called Mom Plays Gamez (8PM PT). Several other special shows are in the works, including a Hey Mom, Let’s Play series where GeekMoms play video games with their minions.

If you miss a show, you can always check it out later on GeekMom’s YouTube channel. There are lists with past content available!

What games would you like us to play? Suggestions?

YouTube Kids: No More Worries About Inappropriate Content

Tablet screenshot: Cathe Post

I have been searching through various feeds on YouTube for channels that are appropriate for young children. Planning on making a list for the growing geek-parent audience, I would find a promising channel that would have just one too many non-appropriate comments, videos, or whatever.

In the lower right hand corner, parents have their options. Screenshot: Cathe Post

Now there is a YouTube Kids app! Available for iOS and Android, this service provides videos, radio, learning, and exploring categories for your young geek. There’s a timer and a really easy to use parental control area, too! Plus, it’s free. All that is needed is the good ‘ol wi-fi connection.

Some of the channels you would expect: Sesame Street, Lego, and Jim Henson. Others, especially in the radio section, were pleasant surprises.

So, there ‘ya go. Thank you, YouTube, for getting me off the hook on that one. <phew>

(via The Verve)

Geeky Tea Tasting

Our score sheets for our Geeky Tea Tasting. Image: Cathe Post.

A long time ago, at a convention not so far away…

A tea shop called Friday Afternoon said, “Try my teas!” I, of course, could not refuse. I even bought one to take home to my tea connoisseur of a husband.

I got the teas home, proudly showed them to my husband, and we brewed a couple of cups. I had already tried the teas I brought home, so I thought I was home free.

I was wrong. My husband took one sip and decided the ingredients weren’t to his taste.


The answer came to me after many, many weeks of mulling it over and staring at the bags of tea on my counter:

Have a geeky tea tasting!

This was a new endeavor for myself, as I am not the pinkies-up-pretty-pink-dresses type of girl. So, I found a flavor wheel, invited a bunch of geeky people who like tea, and headed to a friend’s house who was equipped to host such an event (yea, I don’t even own a teapot).

The reviews that follow include: a picture of the tea; a graph for each individual tea smell, color, and flavor; and an interesting quote from a taster regarding the tea. The ratings are a 1-10 scale where 10 is best and 1 is least favorable.

Friday Afternoon teas to be tested. Image: Cathe Post.

Friday Afternoon Teas were the first batch my awesome friends tested. Corrina had a couple of teas to try out of the Hogwarts line of teas. I had the others, plus an additional tea I picked up for my husband.


Badger Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, lemon peel, and honey.

Badger’s Blend is the Hufflepuff tea. It was certainly a favorite among the Friday Afternoon Teas we tried this afternoon.


Serpent Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Green tea, lime peel, lemongrass, and natural apple flavoring.

The Slytherin House representative was not a favorite with our testers, but my husband and I didn’t have a problem with it.


Lion Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Rooibos, Assam black tea, orange peel, marigold, and natural flavorings.

Testers of the Lion’s Blend, the Gryffindor tea, seemed to be evenly split. They either really liked it or they really didn’t. I fell in the “really liked it” category, while my husband didn’t. This is the tea that spurred the entire party idea.


Pirate Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, marigold petal, and natural irish cream flavor.

The Pirate King blend, though unrelated to the Hogwarts line of teas, was among the favorites from Friday Afternoon. It was simple, but had enough extra to offer that it can be made by the pot and guzzled.


Doctor Who Fandom collection. Image: Cathe Post.

In order to have a proper tea tasting, I figured we needed more than four flavors to try. I searched the web and snuck a peek at Corrina’s post on where to find geeky teas. After looking at several different options, I ended up purchasing the Doctor Who Fandom Sampler. We found a favorite out of this bunch, too—who would have thought the 9th Doctor would be an overwhelming favorite?


9 Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, Assam melody tea, Ceylon sonata tea, gunpowder, and natural chestnut flavor, accented with aniseed and cinnamon.

Everyone really liked this tea. This may have been the favorite out of all of the teas we tried that day. We will be getting more! If you can tell, that little pile has white around it because that is all we have left! It was complex, but didn’t try too hard to be complex. It was just amazing.


10 Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, Ceylon sonata tea, Assam melody tea, cocoa nibs, and natural chocolate flavor, accented with chocolate chips and marigold flowers.

The tea representing the 10th Doctor was a huge disappointment. Have you ever wanted hot chocolate, gone to make a cup, and found that you only have one scoop of powdered goodness remaining instead of the four the directions say to use? Then, because you want hot chocolate so badly, you just use the one scoop and suffer through, only to be disappointed to the point of gagging because the chocolate is so weak it is like water was poured in a cup where chocolate wasn’t quite rinsed out from the last drink? Ya, that is what this tasted like. You can see the chocolate in the picture, but it certainly did not transfer to the taste.


11 Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, Assam melody tea, natural vanilla flavor, natural coconut flavor, and dried coconut.

The 11th Doctor tea had a good showing. No one really had anything bad to say about it. It seemed to fall in the category of a good tea to have on hand.


Rory Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Assam melody tea, Ceylon sonata tea, green tea, and natural vanilla flavor.

Rory’s tea provoked a reaction along the same lines as the 10th Doctor’s: It was just too weak. There was a lot of green tea here, and not a lot else. It was sad and disappointing.


Amy Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, rooibos tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, orange peel, cloves, cardamom, raspberry leaves, natural cranberry flavor, natural vanilla flavor, cranberries, and natural orange flavor.

I am going to have to give Amy another try sometime. Its ingredients are similar to that of a chai, which have a better flavor if the water and tea are cooked together and not just steeped. I have a feeling if we would have done that, the rating for Ms. Pond would have been much different.


River Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Black tea, rooibos tea, orange peels, blue cornflowers, natural vanilla flavor, lemon grass, natural bergamot flavor, natural creme flavor, marigold flowers, natural lemon flavor, natural coconut flavor, and dried coconut.

Hello, sweetie. Your tea is a solid okay. I thought it was pretty good, but then again I like (tea) Earl Grey (hot).


Genmaicha Chart
Image: Cathe Post.

Ingredients: Green tea and toasted brown rice.

Not geeky, per se, but one of my husband’s favorites. You see those outliers in the graph? That 6, 3, and 1? Ya, those are me. I hate Genmaicha tea. Because I was so far removed from the other people who tried this tea, I did not include my quote, but it was along the lines of feeling like all of the moisture had been sucked out of my mouth and nose so that I was left with an aftertaste of burned rice and ash. It was not pleasant to me at all.


Star Wars sugar cookies. Image: Cathe Post.

What would a tea party be without cookies? We dug out the Star Wars cookie cutters, so my husband could whip up some sugar cookies for us to nibble between teas. Overall, I was quite happy with how the party went and I am excited that everyone was willing to give their input on the teas so I could provide you with geeky over-the-top graphs and non-biased opinions.

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Friday Afternoon Hogwarts teas provided for review purposes. All other teas were chosen and purchased by me.

Dragons and Hot Sauce: Poems, Cuteness, and an Interview With the Creators

Dragons and Hot Sauce by Mike Moore and art by Andy Young. Image: Andy Young, used with permission.

In December, amongst the holiday wackiness, a crazy little poetry book was published. The crazy little poetry book, Dragons and Hot Sauce: And Other Imaginations, hails from Portland, Oregon, the home of the weird, the microbrews, and The Doubleclicks*.

The name of the book, and the art style, caught my attention immediately. Dragons? Yes, please! Cute, stylized pictures of monsters? Bring. It. On. It’s a book for kids, but actually, it’s a book for families. An introduction to geekiness, if you will.

If the name of the book isn’t enough, all of the poem topics have a geeky flare. Plus, the artwork reminds me of comics I grew up reading.

I had an opportunity to talk to geeky author Mike Moore and artist Andy Young, the duo who put this little collection of poems together. These guys are down-to-Earth, honest, and funny!

Image: Andy Young, used with permission.

GeekMom: How did you two meet? (If I recall, you said you met in high school.) Did you have to reconnect or did you stay in contact for all of those years? 

Andy Young: Mike and I met in the 8th grade, when he used to live across the cul-de-sac from another friend of mine. The friend and I used to go over to Mike’s on the weekend. Eventually, Mike and I started to hang out with each other and realized we had the same sort of off-beat humor. The relationship really materialized in high school, when we had a couple classes together and then theater after school. We have stayed in contact all these long years. We were in each other’s wedding and I have visited him a few times out in Portland. I’m not the best at long distance relationships or even using my phone with any consistency, so this project has been a great way to reconnect and remember why we were so close back in high school. We are both artists at heart.

Mike Moore: I couldn’t say it better than Andy did. We’ve been friends over half our lives and have iterated through high school friends, then college roommates, a brief stint in Europe as sophisticated and debonair international travelers after college, and then groomsmen. Everyone has those few people they grew up with that you know you’ll be friends with for the rest of your lives, and Andy’s one of them for me.

GMWhere did the inspiration come from for the poems and art in your book?

AY: My inspiration, stylistically, has come from comic book artists like Winsor McCay (Nemo in Slumberland), Jeff Smith (Bone, RASL), and Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo). I read a lot of Calvin and Hobbes back in the 90s, like everyone else, and I really liked the borderless concept of how Bill Watterson did his comics. I also really appreciate Jeff Smith’s drive to publish his work on his own. I am working on a graphic novel now with those same inspirations. As far as this book specifically, I have followed Mike’s lead and his great sense of vision. We talk back and forth about what looks good and what should fit within the scope of the words he’s written, but we are both really flexible and crave feedback.

MM: We started working on this right after I found out I was about to be a dad, and so I just wanted to write something that would make my daughter laugh someday. I think the very first poem (“Ribbons”) was written in about 5 minutes, while I was smarting off to my wife and trying to make her laugh while she was putting her makeup on! Laughter was the biggest inspiration to write stories about giants, and unicorns, and Bigfoot. Originally, all of the poems were going to be kind of silly or have a punchline, but then Andy suggested that we should also have some more serious/poignant stories where we actually tried to say something, which was a fantastic idea. After that, we just started trading ideas back and forth. Either I’d send him a poem or base idea and he’d come up with a drawing, or he’d send a drawing or other story idea and I’d come up with the poem. I think we both went into it with very little ego, so if one of us nixed an idea, no offense was taken; we just worked that much harder on the next one. In terms of writing, obviously Shel Silverstein was a big inspiration when we started thinking about this. I used to absolutely devour his books when I was younger. I also have been writing songs and playing in bands for about 20 years now, and my big inspirations are some of the really lyrical singer/songwriters like Josh Ritter or John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats. It always amazed me that with just a few cleverly chosen words, you could say so much—or tack on a sudden punchline.

Come Quick
Image: Andy Young, used with permission.

GMAre there plans for a second volume of poems?

AY: We haven’t talked poems specifically, but the other day we were chatting online (my preferred method of work avoidance) and we talked a little bit about doing a songbook for children. Maybe something where the lyrics and music is included as well as a CD. Something Mike and I have in common is not liking to do the same thing more than once. Stretching our boundaries a little. I am not musically inclined, so this will be a great project.

MM: Yeah, right now we’re neck-deep in marketing work for Dragons and Hot Sauce, but as soon as that slows down a little, I can’t wait to start the songbook. Writing Dragons and Hot Sauce was so much fun, why stop there? Also, I may be able to fulfill a newly set life goal of having my daughter’s daycare say, “Why was your daughter walking around singing ‘STINKY SPOILED MILK’ over and over?”

GMAre you both parents?

AY: Yep! I have two girls with my wife Bridget; Audrey (5) and Nora (1). I find that has softened my work considerably. I look at this comic I did before the girls were born. It was called Gruesome: Out of this World and it was about robots taking over, the eventual destruction of the planet Earth, and a murder involving a sea monster. Now, I still do pretty odd stuff. but it’s directed at youth and holds a bit more whimsy. Funny how a couple of cute kids and a healthy dose of social responsibility will change your perspective.

MM: Yeah, I have a little ball of energy living at my house that disguises itself as an 18-month-old little girl. Depending on the time of day and amount of energy, it may disguise itself as multiple identical 18-month-old little girls all wrecking something different or terrorizing the cats. I love it (as long as I’m not trying to figure out where she hid the TV remote or my razor.)

GMDo you think your personality is more kid or adult in nature? How do you think that helps you with your writing and art?

AY: I am a child forced to deal with a frustrating adult world. If I had my way, I would be waking up in the morning with my girls and Bridge, heading out to hike or drift on a lake, have a few beers alone with my wife in the afternoon, put the girls to bed, and draw and drink beer all night. Do it again and again. It turns out I am really good with responsibility, but very uncomfortable with it. My day job is to run a non-profit. People think I steer pretty good. I just sit at my desk dreaming with Mike about drawing a new book. But all that helps with my art. I spend a lot of time with my favorite comics on the weekend all spread out on my drawing table, looking for inspiration. The project I am working on now is inspired by my two daughters, a wild girl age 5 adventuring alone. Artists can’t grow up too much, I think.

MM: Well, sitting on my desk right now are a bunch of Transformers that I’ve dubbed my Home Office Co-Workers, so I’ll say “responsible kid!” I have a job that I work very hard at and I make sure to take care of my family, but I still try to make sure not to take myself too seriously. I think that attitude helps with the writing because you can have a sense of where you’re going in terms of a project like the book or even an idea for a poem, and know what you need to do to get there, but then you can let your imagination roam and think about how to make it fun or exciting. For example, there are a million ways we could have written a poem about a rubber ducky, but only one where we get to use the word “hydrophobic.”

Image: Andy Young, used with permission.

GM: Was it a learning experience getting the book published?

AY: I was lucky enough to be introduced to a girl back in college named Jes Wigh. She moved to Belize with her now-husband and started their own business. Through that connection, we published a couple of books and are working on a third. They are children’s books aimed specifically at the Caribbean island culture children grow up in around Belize. So I have some marginal experience there, as far as working with someone who is committed to an idea and can handle the business end of things. I think that experience was very helpful. But, Mike is also a brilliant strategist. He has the mind of an engineer and works out multiple angles and problems I wouldn’t dream of. I work by the seat of my pants and just figure it’ll all be okay. That’s trouble.

MM: Definitely. It turns out it takes a lot to make some words and drawings into a coherent book that people will want to read. Who knew? We made a few missteps and we’re still learning what they are, but it’s just a lesson in what we can do differently for the next project. The biggest lesson I learned is that, according to my daughter, we made a grievous error in judgment by not including poems and drawings about either penguins or pandas. I can only hope she forgives me some day.

GM: Where can the book be purchased?

MM: Right now, the book can be found online on Amazon or Createspace. For our Portland friends, we would encourage them to go check out Wallace Books or Bella Stella, who are great local businesses that have agreed to carry it locally, and we are still working on getting it into a few other local book stores. However, any local or national bookstore should be able to order it directly. Finally, we’re always happy to just sell them directly to friends that want to contact us at “dragons and hot sauce (all one word) at gmail dot com.”

GM: Who do you think will enjoy your book the most?

AY: My wife is a 5th grade teacher and her opinion seems to be that anyone can enjoy the book as the words and pictures span across multiple reading levels in the elementary grades. That’s the beauty of being married to a professional educator. They give you the skinny on what the kids are into these days. Turns out it’s dragons and hot sauce, bearded girls, and giants that bathe in lakes. I blame cable.

MM: A younger crowd will also enjoy it. For example, my daughter will verify that it tastes delicious.

GM: What other projects are you working on?

AY: Right now, I am working on a third Caye Boy book about his adventures to the mainland as well as a children’s resource book for animals and plants in the Caribbean. A much larger, long-term project that I am working on is a graphic novel I am writing and illustrating. There are only about 19 pages done so far and I plan to have it fully completed by this time next year. You can check out its progress and other projects on my website

MM: Like I mentioned above, I’ve been playing music for ages and am about to start recording a new album of some old songs, which should be a fun project!

GM: What are your hopes for the book?

AY: I really enjoy the experience from start to finish. There really isn’t any part of the process of creating artwork for a book or otherwise that I don’t enjoy. Well, maybe erasing sketch lines. My hope is that comes through in the work.

MM: You know, I worked on the book because I wanted to make something for my daughter that would make her laugh. I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but I would love for that to expand past my daughter to as many other people as possible. Nothing would be cooler to me than having something that I worked on with one of my best friends be a part of bedtime or story time for my daughter or another child, or hearing that a child I never met thought it was their favorite book, or that it was part of show and tell, or recited in school as someone’s favorite poem. I’ve had one friend already send me a video of her kids reading the book, and I’ve had another friend tell me that their kid took our book to show and tell, which was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. So, my hope is just that the book helps to make kids, and especially my daughter, happy and excited to read it.

Dragons and Hot Sauce: And Other Imaginations is available for $9.73 on Amazon.

*Shoutout to The Doubleclicks for helping GeekMom discover Mike and Andy!

3Doodler the Sequel on Kickstarter Now!

The new, improved, 3Doodler 2.0. Image: Kickstarter


3Doodler 2.0 has about two weeks left in its Kickstarter campaign. After quickly passing its $30,000 goal, the popular art tool has a whopping $413,000+ and climbing. This cements the 3Doodler in a position of high popularity in the growing world of 3D art.

My husband and I were just talking about the 3Doodler a week or so ago. At the time I was not aware there was a new model on Kickstarter, so when I checked out the reviews on Amazon I was a little shocked to find many design complaints about the original product. After reading several reviews, I wrote off the tool as something that would be too difficult for anyone in the family other than mom and dad to use (probably just dad because I’m not much for the free-hand art stuff).

Fast-forward a few days to a trip to our local science museum, OMSI, which had an original 3Doodler type item in the engineering lab. I quickly tweeted at my husband a picture of a teenager making a model of the Eiffel Tower. When it was my turn, I made a stylized cube. It wasn’t equal on all sides (actually, some of the sides were kind of wavy). I could tell that drawing in the air would take some practice, so I stuck to doing 2D designs instead.

My 3D creations hanging out with my T Rex rubbing from the museum visit. Image: Cathe Post


I can definitely see why some of the design suggestions were made in the Amazon reviews of the 3Doodler, and other similar products, I had read a few days prior. The pen is bulky. It is hot. It takes a lot of electricity to run.

Enter me learning about the new version of the 3Doodler. I was super excited to read that the three major design issues from the first pen have been improved. The new pen is much sleeker, lighter, and takes less than half of the energy to run than its predecessor. Plus, now there are all sorts of gizmos and gadgets to be used with the pen, and new features.

The 3Doodler pedal for…hands-free doodling? Image: Kickstarter


The feature that piqued my attention is being able to double click the button to endlessly feed the plastic instead of having to hold the button down. The new gadget I think will be the most useful is the pedal because the user won’t have to worry about how they are holding the pen if the filament is being fed by foot action instead of hand.

Are you excited about this new and improved, fun, tool?! If you are $99 excited, you can back the 2.0 on Kickstarter through January 24.

GeekMom Cathe’s 14 Best of 2014

bio with titles

We four geeks of Washington are,

thinking hard to make list of par…

—Oh! I guess I need to put the holiday away and look back on the year. Each of my family members is interested in different geeky avenues. It is exciting to me when my kids, or husband, find something new that the rest of us missed. For instance, when I go to a convention with my daughter, if I don’t know what a costume is in the crowd, most of the time my daughter can fill me in.

Because each of my family members gets excited about different geeky things, I received quite a bit of input from my family members as to what were the best geeky things this year. Pictures indicate which family members voted for what favorites.

Skull and Shackles
Skull & Shackles. Image: Paizo

Skull and Shackles: This one is a biggy for me personally. I have had a BLAST playing through Pathfinder ACG with GeekDad Jonathan, and we recently started the next installment: Skull & Shackles. To memorialize the occasion, he gave each of the players a miniature of their character for Christmas. My husband in turn agreed to paint the miniatures. I’m so freakin’ excited to start up playing again in 2015 with a trick’d out mini—complete with peg leg and hook hand (I’m playing Ranzak the jerk-face goblin who avoids fights and loves loot)! Also starting in 2015, my husband and I are playing through the Skull and Shackles Pathfinder scenario with the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition mechanics (also playing Ranzak—can’t go wrong with a jerk-face that I can roleplay the crap out of). #MindBlown #GeekyRPGMashUp

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition: AKA, D&D 5e, keeps sneaking into our lives. We play-tested D&D Next which was recently released as 5e. I am a true believer that any game, especially RPGs, are only as good as the group you play with, so we have been very lucky to have excellent players and GMs in our groups. Besides the Skull and Shackles/5e mashup, we will be playing in a standard campaign with another set of friends. I’m excited for this campaign because my daughter will also play with us.

GeekGirlCon. Image: GeekGirlCon

GeekGirlCon: All of the fan-girl is right here. It was a girls’ weekend out, I met more of the GeekMom writers I have worked with for over four years, there was science, cos-playing, games, cool stuff…the list goes on and on. Next time, no cos-play, and I will probably drive rather than take the bus. The next GeekGirlCon will be October 10 & 11, 2015.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Image: Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy: Yet another mother/daughter connection this year. After my husband and I saw this movie in the theater, my daughter saw the dancing Groot bit on the internet. She does a good job of handling violence/language so I warned her of all of these points, and off we went to the movie. Soon after, plans were made for us to cosplay as Rocket and Dancing Baby Groot for GeekGirlCon and Halloween. It was such a neat and geeky way for my daughter and I to bond.

Rocket Raccoon Comic
Rocket Raccoon Comic. Image: Marvel

Rocket Raccoon Comic: When a comic book has this much fun with sound effects and story lines (including an entire book dedicated to Groot telling a story), it was a no-brainer to add to our subscription list.

Lego Research Institute. Image: Lego

Lego Research Institute: After the limited edition set sold out, fans were surprised when the popular female-scientist-themed Lego brick set came back for a second run before Christmas. I’m being a little selfish: This Lego, along with Groot and Rocket, are being kept on my desk so they are not lost to the depths of the Lego collection of miscellaneous bricks in the toy bins…

Angry Birds Comic
Angry Birds Comic. Image: IDW

Angry Bird Comic: I think this one is all for my son. It is inspiring him to learn to read, and he loves the characters.

Super Smash Bros Wii U. Image: Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. Wii U: New characters, amiibo miniatures, and the promise of more new things to unlock have made the newest Smash Bros. chapter an instant favorite among all of my family members. All four of us can play together, there are things easy enough for my five-year-old son to do, and events complicated enough to keep my husband’s and my interest.

the flash rate
The Flash. Image: CW

The Flash (show): It’s silly. It isn’t going to win any awards. Yet, The Flash has quickly become our go-to show for evening family entertainment. My kids love that the main character is a science geek. I really like that there isn’t quite as much sex/violence as other shows of the same genre (like Arrow).

Mostly Walking. Image: Day[9]TV
Day[9]TV Mostly Walking: My husband and I are mostly loving this YouTube series hosted Sean Bouchard, Bill Graner, and Day[9]TV’s Sean Plott. The trio plays through old school PC adventure games, drinks, and makes comments. It is interesting and entertaining. The series airs on Twitch on Monday evenings, and then is divided into two-or-three episodes and put out on Day[9]’s YouTube channel for after-the-fact viewing.

Don’t Starve. Image: Klei Entertainment

Don’t Starve: The game came to my attention after watching an episode of Games With Hank on YouTube. It soon after was on sale over at Good Old Games. Every game has something new that I’ve never seen before. The wiki is really helpful. Even though it is a challenging game, it is still possible to progress in the game and unlock new characters who have different abilities.

Borderlands. Image: Gearbox Software

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: This well written, quirky, FPS video game ended up being a birthday present for me this year. The holidays quickly followed, so I haven’t had much time to have in-home-date-night-game-play with my husband, but it is sure to have some GeekMom Plays episodes sometime this year.

The Lego Movie. Image: Lego

The Lego Movie: Holy cow. My husband and I saw this movie the week it came out, because there was nothing else in the theater we wanted to see, and we had free tickets, and hey—Lego! Of course, we instantly fell in love with the movie. We took the kids to see it as soon as it hit the cheap theater. It came out on disc a couple of days later. This movie came out at the perfect time. My son graduated to the normal-size Lego bricks this year and builds between four and eight hours a day. This movie was such a huge inspiration for him, and so much fun for the rest of us. Where Guardians of the Galaxy was a bonding experience for my daughter and I, The Lego Movie was a bonding experience for my son and his parents.

Kickstarter Success Stories. Image: Cathe Post

Kickstarted Board Games: Most of the games that we backed on Kickstarter in the last 20 months showed up in the few weeks leading up to Christmas 2014. There some games that have already been played multiple times (like Machine of Death), and others that are certain to become favorites (like Yardmaster). So. Many. Board games. #TooMuchFunFor1GameRoom

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Stocking Stuffers

stocking stuffers
Collage: Cathe Post.

Stockings. They are the bane of Christmas for some. They seem to be related to the TARDIS with their bigger-on-the-inside technology. Sometimes those things just seem to be impossible to fill. Fear not, Padawan! GeekMom has suggestions for your stockings, too.

Mixel Max

Lego Mixels. These are small Lego monster kits. From the Lego site: “Torts has bulky feet and is the slowest moving of the Glorp Corp tribe from the swamps. A slob who enjoys playing for thrills, Torts shoots gloopy, green slime from its hands. Everything sticks to this turtle-like creature—which is great fun when goofing around and perfect for catching a Nixel or two!” $4.99

Image: Think Fun.

Word A Round. A twist on word-searches, Word A Round offers a fun brain-twisting exercise. $11.22

Adonit Jot Script
Image: ThinkGeek.

Adonit Jot Script Fine Point Stylus – Evernote Edition. For the techie, get the only stylus that one of our GeekMoms has actually tried and enjoyed using on the iPad$74.99

Image: Gamewright.

Iota. This game was made to be a stocking-stuffer! The teeny-tiny game is great fun for older elementary kids and adults. $8.17

Image: ThinkGeek.

PowerCube. “Have power, will travel” is the motto of the PowerCube. $12.99 – $24.99

Image: Amazon.

Miracle Fruit Tablets. You know that sour tangerine in the bottom of your stocking? It doesn’t have to have the pucker-power of a lemon. Have fun with some of the other sour and bitter traditional Christmas-morning foods and make them sweet with these tablets.  $14.95

Image: Thinkgeek.

Fuel-Micro Portable Charger. Fuel is the smallest portable charger one GeekMom owns. It’s great for those on the go who don’t want to lug around a larger battery. $24.99

Image: Swann.

SpyCam Pen.n Swann’s 4GB PenCam is great for anyone who wants to record a meeting or take pictures without it being to obvious. $59.99

Marvel Coasters
Image: Thinkgeek.

Marvel Auto Coaster Set. Avenge the cup holder in the car with a set of two Avenger character coasters. Rubber and ready, you can trim them down to fit your car. $9.99

Image: Thinkgeek.

Bacon Bandages. After all of the calories consumed over the holidays, bacon bandages might be the only cholesterol-safe way to have contact with bacon. $7.76

Wall plate
Image: Amazon.

RCA Dual USB Wall Plate. Give the gift of upgrading your wall outlets with one that has two USB ports built in. $9.99

k-9 kit
Image: Lisa Tate.

Doctor Who Mini-Kits and Booklets. Running Press’ Doctor Who figure kits have nifty little collectible figures for any Whovian or collector, including a light-up TARDIS, a rolling Dalek, a stately Cyberman Bust, and a mini light-up replica of the Eleventh Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver. The latest addition hearkens back to the Fourth Doctor’s reign with a K-9 figure who lights-up and utters his cute little catchphrase, “Affirmative, Master.” These little boxed sets include a small booklet on the history of the included item. They are small and inexpensive enough for stocking stuffers or gift exchanges.  $9.59-$12.95

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Books

Collage: Cathe Post.

Today’s gift guide is full of books: Historical books, storybooks, reference books, baby books, comic books, and more. There is something for everyone on this list!

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo. Image: Abrams Books.

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo. The ultimate gift for your favorite Adventure Time fan, this gorgeous full-color hardcover book will grace coffee tables with elegance. The Art of Ooo will put everything in perspective, presenting a behind-the-scenes look at the art and storyboards, the writers’ thoughts behind the characters, and interviews with those who voice the characters on the TV show. From concept art to the more sophisticated storylines, you will enjoy over 350 pages and 500 color images. $23.37

Basher science books. Image credit: Kingfisher
Basher science books. Image: Kingfisher.

Basher books. Author and illustrator Simon Basher has created a hit series of children’s books covering various subjects; it’s mostly science topics, but also history, math, English, and many more. They are absolutely fantastic! Each one is fun to read, educational, and cute. What more could you ask for? $7-$9

Cover copyright PotterCraft
Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families. Cover copyright PotterCraft.

Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families. Start the new year right, with plenty of project and activity ideas to do with your kids. Written by the founding editors of GeekMom, this book is also full of insightful essays on being a geek and a geeky parent, as well as as people and topics of interest to the geek world. $19.99

Image: Amazon.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design. Image: Amazon.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design. Perfect for your favorite Tolkien-fan-geek! Look no further than your favorite bookstore for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design by the Weta Workshop, the Wellington, New Zealand, special effects company behind the beauty of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Enjoy the behind-the-scenes journeys through Lonely Mountain, Lake-town, Long Lake, the Woodland Realm, and Mirkwood as you learn about Weta’s motivations in design. $27.41

Image: Chronicle Books
Kids Are Weird. Image: Chronicle Books.

Kids Are Weird. Yup. Kids are weird. Some might say geeklings are stranger than most (though mightily interesting!). This book by Jeffrey Brown shows us a few examples, in case we’ve forgotten just how weirdly awesome kids can be. $10.10

Letters of Note
Letters of Note. Image: Chronicle Books.

Letters of Note. Filled with personal letters and other correspondence from throughout history, Letters of Note is a wonderful, stunning book. Because each letter is its own short section, this book can be picked up and put down at your leisure, so you can reflect upon its meaning. The book is brimming with history and gives perspective to us in the modern day. $25.30

Marvel 75 Years of Cover Art. Image: DK Publishing.

Marvel 75 Years of Cover Art. Glorious Marvel Comics cover art collected in a slip-cased edition. $50

Image: Scholastic.

Spirit Animals Series. This series of kids’ books, much in the same spirit as The Golden Compass and Narnia, weaves fantasy and creatures into an addictive storyline. This one is probably for older grade-schoolers. $7.50 and up

Tinkerlab. Image credit: Roost Books
TinkerLab. Image: Roost Books.

TinkerLab. In addition to being mom to two little kids, author Rachelle Doorley has a master’s degree in arts education from Harvard and works as an art and museum educator. Doorley’s extensive background as an artist, docent, and educator shine through her children’s activity blog, TinkerLab, and her book of the same name. $21.95

Image: IDW Publishing.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics. This coffee table book features the origin of the world’s first and most kick-ass female superhero. It has 196 pages, with all of the black-and-white comics that ran in newspapers from May 1, 1943, until December 1, 1944. These haven’t been printed since the series’ original run, making it even more of a must-have. There are tons of characters and stories to comb through, which includes appearances by Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Cheetah, the Lasso of Truth, the Invisible Plane, the bracelets, and so much more. Speaking of which, the opening essay also has promotional materials, original sketches, and other tidbits. This is the gift for your favorite Wonder Woman fan. $35.25 

You Are Here by Chris Hadfield. Image credit: Little, Brown and Company.
You Are Here by Chris Hadfield. Image: Little, Brown and Company.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. Chris Hadfield is an astronaut, but his claim to fame with the population at large is probably through the countless viral photographs and videos he’s shared from his multiple trips to the International Space Station. Now Hadfield has a brand-new photography book out, You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. $23.40

The Elements. Image credit: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
The Elements. Image credit: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. If your child has graduated from “why?” to “what is {…} made of?” then this is the book you need. While it’s not a children’s book per se, the stunning photographs and high contrast graphics are sure to capture their attention long enough to learn a thing or two about what our world is made of. The science-loving geeks on your list will surely appreciate the author’s mad geek cred—an element collection! Note that the author also has another book, Molecules, which just came out last month, as well as a matching Molecules app. $11.27

Photo: Laurence King Publishing
Photo: Laurence King Publishing.

Secret Garden Coloring Book. Adults and kids alike can color their way into peace and/or fun. This beautiful coloring book by Johanna Basford will have you searching for butterflies, tinting flowers, and planning your own secret garden in which to hide from the world. $9.54

Image: Clarkson Potter.

Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails. The entrepreneurs who created The Mason Shaker, a now-iconic invention that transformed a Mason jar into a cocktail shaker, have authored this lavishly illustrated book of recipes for cocktail crafting at home. It’s a gift with tasty promise! $19.08

cool tools

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. This is a giant book that shares user-generated reviews of gadgets, hardware, materials, videos, podcasts, books, maps, and other goodies out there identified as the best, the cheapest, or the only gizmos available to do the job. These reviews are curated from the last decade of content from the Cool Tools website, which is itself an online where-did-the-time-go vacuum. The book’s 1,500+ mini-reviews are accompanied by QR codes for everything from the best baby bib to the best satellite phone. It’s a sure bet for the hard-to-please guy. $25.29

playful path

A Playful Path. This is a 304-page book jam-packed with awesomeness. It’s made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness. Written in short one-to-two-page segments, it’s perfect to read on an as-needed basis, sort of an antidote to all the not-fun that drags us down. A Playful Path is an entertaining book. It’s also wise, true, and entirely useful. It’s the perfect gift for the most fun-loving friend as well as the family curmudgeon. $21.95

amazing baby
Image: Kids Preferred.

Amazing Baby Feel and Learn. This soft book is based on research into early development. The wipe-off pages offer textures and crinkle sounds, plus there’s an attached teething toy. $12.99

let's count
Image: Kids Preferred.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Let’s Count. This clip-on book is inspired by Eric Carle’s classic book. It offers bold pages illustrating numbers, plus crinkle textures, a squeaker, a teether, and a clip for the car seat or stroller. It’s perfect for very young babies up to toddlers. $5.59

Image: Chronicle Books.

PANTONE: 35 Inspirational Color Palettes. If you’re a huge fan of color and design or a bit challenged when picking out paint chips or color schemes, this book will be an invaluable help. Filled with almost three dozen quite varied color combinations, there will be something to please everyone. $13.45

Image: Triangle Square.

A Young People’s History of the United States. Learn about American history from the point of view of someone other than the victors. This magnificent book by Howard Zinn adapted for younger readers and listeners will get kids analyzing what they think they already know. $14.36

Image: The Smithsonian.

Civil War in 3D. Look at the American Civil War through the eyes of a soldier. See the images of battlefields, life in camp, and scenery—all in 3D stereoscopic delight. Read the included detailed book telling of soldier life, about their uniforms, food, fear, camps, and letters home. $23.89

Image: Scholastic.

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection. Do you have a Minecraft fan in your house? Maybe someone who wants some ideas on how to fight monsters, how to use red dust, or how to make more pixelated-awesomeness? This set is for them! $19.18

Image: Amazon.

Hello Kitty Crochet: Supercute Amigurumi Patterns for Sanrio Friends. Hello Kitty crochet is not for the faint of heart. The patterns inside make for some really cute animals, but we would suggest getting this for someone with a background in crochet and not a beginner. $14.95

Pride and Prejudice Manga
Image: Amazon.

Manga Classics Pride and Prejudice. Of all the versions of Pride and Prejudice, this is a GeekMom favorite. Marvel’s variation is okay, but this version does the original story far more justice. $15

Image: Ava’s Demon.

Ava’s Demon. This dark yet beautiful collection puts the online story of Ava’s Demon into print form.  $5.99 for the digital

ms marvel #1
Image: Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel: No Normal (Volume 1). Featuring the first female Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel has been getting rave reviews since its debut earlier this year. This first collection showcases the title’s rare ability to speak to every reader regardless of their age, gender, background, or beliefs, thanks to writer G. Willow Wilson’s portrayal of Kamala as relatable and full of personality. $15.99

© DC Comics
© DC Comics.

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell. This is a fun, easy read that any fan of either character should immediately add to their library. For anyone who might be a jaded reader of the New 52, this is just the book to remind them that comic books can still be fun. $22.99

Smallville Season 11 © DC Comics
Smallville Season 11 © DC Comics.

Smallville Season 11 Vol. 5: Olympus. Wonder Woman arrives in the Smallville universe in this phenomenal collection of the Smallville digital comics. Gorgeous art and a fast-paced story make this the perfect present for any fan of Smallville or Wonder Woman. $14.99

Image: Little Pickle Press.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. This is a cute picture book for young elementary-aged children. It teaches them how their brain is a muscle, how to exercise it, and other fun facts. $12.45

download (1)
Image: Amazon.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans. Join Rush Revere and his time-traveling horse Liberty on historical adventures. This historical science-fiction series also includes a book on the American Revolution and the first patriots. It’s great historical fun for older grade-school readers who need a little science fiction in their historical reading. $12.98

Image: Que Publishing.

Build and Program Your Own Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robots. Do you know a Lego brick advanced builder? This book will be out just in time for Christmas by our very own Marziah Karch. Plus, you know, robots and Lego programing. $21.77

Image: Random House Books.

The Fourteenth Goldfish. For older elementary-school fans who need more challenge than Jennifer L. Holm’s Baby Mouse series, Holms now has a chapter book out. A girl goes on an adventure to help her grandfather who has figured out a way to reverse aging (and is now younger than his granddaughter). This is a far more serious story than Baby Mouse, but a great read! $10.74

Image: Marvel Comics.

Rocket Raccoon. Previously mentioned by GeekMom Kelly, the new comic book adventures of Rocket Raccoon are a hilariously drawn series well worth the subscription. $9.99

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Clothes and Household Stuff

Collage: Cathe Post.

It’s Black Friday! Today, we have a hodgepodge of items to recommend for the geek on your holiday shopping list. Anything from something to use in the home to wearables are included in this list. (Oh, there’s even a tasty drink, too.)

Since it is Black Friday and there are internet deals to be had, you may want to check out our other gift guides…

Gift Guide of Movies
Gift Guide of STEM Toys and More!
Gift Guide of Geeky Gadgets
Gift Guide of Video Games and Apps
Gift Guide of Table Top and Board Games
Gift Guide of Lego Bricks
Geeky DIY Gift Ideas

And now for today’s guide…

Things to Wear and Bags:

Image: Dakine Dakine.

Dakine Grom 13L 14S. Dakine Grom is a great backpack for your day-to-day needs. One GeekMom uses hers to carry daily essentials including Pride and Prejudice, an iPad mini and keyboard case, a journal, a wallet, and backup drives for work. Each bag is made 100 percent from recycled plastic bottles and comes with a lifetime warranty. $35

Image: Cathe Post.

Minecraft Creeper Backpack. Would you like to adopt a Creeper to be part of your family? A character who is known for blowing up may not sound appealing, but this backpack holds about as much as you might think a bag of holding can handle. It’s also super-cute, too. GeekMom Cathe adopted one! $39.99

ScotteVest Travel Vest
Image: Scottevest.

Scottevest Multi-pocketed Clothing. Free up room in your carry-on or even leave the extra bag at home. Scottevest’s products have almost endless, specially-designed pockets to hold all of your gadgets, activities, and reading material. Varies

Image: Her Universe
Image: Her Universe.

Dalek A-line Dress. It’s too late for Halloween, but this Dalek dress is still fun to wear at holiday parties and family gatherings. Pair it with a long-sleeved shirt and leggings for the cold and you’ll be ready to “exterminate” some homemade pumpkin pie. $39.45

Image: Isotoner
Image: Isotoner.

Isotoner Gloves. Isotoner’s SmarTouch gloves, for both men and women, come in a variety of styles and prices for tech-savvy folks who don’t want to remove their gloves to interact with their touch devices, including phones. Keeping you warm and comfortable while you stay connected, Isotoner gloves have been popular for decades, with good reason. Varies

Image: ThinkGeek.

ThinkGeek Backpack of Holding. If ThinkGeek’s traditional Bag of Holding isn’t right for you, if you need more of a rucksack-type of bag but still want to carry a laptop, then the new Backpack of Holding has got you covered. With a few handy-to-access exterior pouches and some internal pockets, most of this bag is one big space to hold your overnight clothes, shoes, and toiletries, or perhaps your hearty food and supplies for a day hike. And there’s a padded sleeve, of course, for the ubiquitous laptop. $49.99

Misfit Flash
Image: Amazon.

Misfit Flash. Misit Flash is a Bluetooth activity tracker that doesn’t require any charging. It’s the sister product to the Misfit Shine and is made for the sports enthusiast. $75

Image: ChicoBag.

Chico Reusable Bags. Practical gifts can be pretty and fun, too! Now is the time to stock up on the sturdy reusable bags that wad up into tiny pouches and are easy to take with you anywhere. Some varieties come with a carabiner clip that is easy to snap onto the outside of a purse or diaper bag. ChicoBags make it easy to say “no” to plastic bags and are a handy way to always have a bag nearby when you need one—for groceries to library books to kid gear. The holidays are the perfect time to gift this practical item to a favorite friend, teacher, or family member. 4/$20


Image: Friday Afternoon.

Friday Afternoon Tea. Do you know a tea geek? Even if you aren’t geeky about tea, Friday Afternoon offers many geek-themed flavors of tea that are sure to please any pallet. With Harry Potter, Pirate, and even Cylon-themed teas, these sweet and savory flavors are a wonderful addition to any gift. $12 and up

For the Home:

WeMo LED Starter Kit
Image: Belkin.

WeMo LED Light Bulb Starter Set. Connected home light timers begone! The WeMo LED Lighting system will allow you to program lighting in your house while you’re there or away. Have lights turn on when the sun goes down or at certain times. You can even change your mind with a tap of a finger. $99.99

Image: Fitbit
Image: Fitbit.

FitBit Flex and Aria Scale. Combine a FitBit Aria Scale and a Flex (or any of FitBit’s other pedometer-type products) to keep track of your fitness and weight. Completely integrated together, these products help you reach your goals in a way that any data lover will adore. $99.95 and $129.95

Polaroid Cube
Image: PolaroidCube.

Polaroid Cube. For the action-cam enthusiast without the cash for a GoPro, the PolaroidCube is a great option. What we love about this camera is how tiny it is without sacrificing quality in terms of video and picture. $99

Image: Amazon.

Piper Home Security and Smart Switches. Piper is a home security solution for those who like to keep an eye on things when they are out and about. With an Android or iOS device, you can check in on your home and even yell into the device to get a pet’s attention. Piper also makes a selection of smart switches that let you program them to turn on or off while you’re away. Staying out late, but forgot to leave the light on? Use the free Piper app to turn a light on remotely. $199

3D Deco Light
Image: Amazon.

3D Déco Lights. 3D Deco Lights make for fun and geeky nightlights. One GeekMom has a Raphael up in her office at work, while her husband and son enjoy the Transformers line at home. They are battery-operated and give just enough light be a proper nightlight. $49

Image: Patricia Vollmer.

WeatherFlow Wind Meter. The WeatherFlow Wind Meter is not just for weather enthusiasts, but also for any hobbyists who depend on accurate wind data, from R/C craft operators to windsurfers. Simply plug it into your favorite iOS or Android device, download the WeatherFlow app, and you’re on your way. At only $34.95, this wind meter is not only affordable, but rugged for many outdoor activities. $34.95

Image: Oregon Scientific.

Oregon Scientific Weather@Home Bluetooth Weather Station. Oregon Scientific has been making affordable, user-friendly home weather stations for decades; it’s a trusted name in the industry. The Weather@Home series of products allows users to easily access their weather station information using a smart device’s Bluetooth Low Energy connection along with the Weather@Home app. This weather station has an outdoor transmitter so you can access outdoor and indoor temperatures in one convenient location. It’s a great gift! $60.21

Image: Goal Zero.

Goal Zero Solar Chargers. This is one of the very best items on the market for solar charging. It’s a great beginner kit that pulls power from the sun to be used to charge phones, cameras, and other electronic devices, as well as store energy in a small (included) power tube that fits into a pocket. The flat charging panels are lightweight and easy to attach to a campsite tree or hang off the back of a hiker’s backpack. One GeekMom writer charges hers on the back porch and always has “power to go.” $120

Photo: Goal Zero
Photo: Goal Zero.

Goal Zero Rechargable Flashlight. If you’re tired of never having a flashlight that actually works and buying expensive batteries that you can never find when you need them, pick up a few of these rechargeable flashlights. Lay them in a sunny window during the day and get hours of useful light at night. It’s a great gift for kids (bedside table for nighttime power outages) and teens. A few in your glove box wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. The price is right to stock up, especially when you subtract the cost and hassle of buying batteries. $14.99

Photo: Goal Zero
Photo: Goal Zero.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern. Meet the lantern that can do it all. Charge it with a Goal Zero solar panel, USB, or hand crank, and get hours of light, using no batteries. The lantern can be set on a dimmer light to extend lighting time, as well as charge cell phones and other small electronic devices. This will prove to be the most useful device you own, in a home power outage or family camping trip. Kids might even love “camping” with it while playing in their bedrooms after daylight hours. $79.95

Image: Logitech.
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home Touch Screen Remote. Logitech’s latest incarnation of its awesome multi-device remote can be programmed to control your lights, door locks, thermostats, and more. They’re really going for a home automation system here, not just a universal remote (which will program up to 15 separate home entertainment devices). You can also use your smartphone as a control. What’s a better gift than the ability to turn on whatever you’d like from the comfort of your couch? it’s available in black or white. $349.99

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Music and Listening

Music and listening
Collage: Cathe Post.

There are so many audible geeky things! Between geeky music and geeky/techy listening devices, there is no end to the gift possibilities. Read on…


Nightlight Daylight. Daylight is a 30-song double CD set for children and others by master guitarist Muriel Anderson, featuring some of the world’s best musicians. The Nightlight CD offers soothing restful music, the Daylight CD is packed with lively tunes. A fiber-optic cover lights up with stars and fireflies when the moon is pressed. It’s a great gift for parents as well as little ones. $29.99

Image: Rockabye Baby.

Rockabye Baby. Have someone on your list with a little one? Help nurture those budding musical tastes, with the sweet sounds of a Rockabye Baby CD. The popular music label has made it a mission to make “rock music baby-friendly and kids’ music adult-friendly.” Each full-length CD takes popular artists and turns their hits into lullabies to help baby literally rock themselves to sleep. There are CDs with jams from The Beatles, The Clash, Pearl Jam, Pink, Rush, The Police, Led Zeppelin, Dave Matthews, and too many others to list here. $14.99 each

Image: The String Arcade.

The String Arcade. Give the gift of a little earworm. What started as a Kickstarter project is now a full-length CD, filled with all sorts of classic video game tunes. However, the hook here is that everything on this album is played by a string quartet. It features a total of 15 original arrangements, as well as two bonus CD tracks. That lineup includes “hits” from Galaga, Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, Minecraft, and more. $16.91 


Pimsleur Foreign Language Instruction. Learning a new language is a great way to expand your mind and set an important example for your kids. Better yet, learn a new language with your kids. Have German heritage? Planning a trip to Japan? Found a new friend who speaks little English? Pimsleur has more language instruction programs than I’ve heard of languages.  Price Varies

Image: The Doubleclicks.

Dimetrodon by The Doubleclicks. The geeky-sister-music-duo had a very successful Kickstarter this year and were able to release Dimetrodon. If you are not familiar with their music, check out their site. Find them on YouTube. They. Are. Awesome. $16.95

My ukulele. Photo by Ariane Coffin.
Image: Ariane Coffin.

Ukulele. Musical instruments tend to be expensive. Very expensive. Ukuleles are fun. Very fun. Also, they’re totally not expensive for a musical instrument! Get yourself or your loved one a tiny ukulele, load up a bunch of YouTube instructional videos, and learn a new skill with very little start-up cost! Warning: Ukes are totally addictive. $30 and up

casio 1
Image: Casio.

Casio CTK-2400 Keyboard. Piano is both simple and quite complicated. Simple to make a note or two or even a basic song, but complicated to master. This keyboard has instruction built in, along with plenty of fun sampling to keep you and/or your kids jamming to existing or brand-new songs. $124.66 for the set with stand, etc.; $99.99 for just the keyboard


JBL Synchros S700. The Synchros S700 luxury over-the-ear headphones sets itself apart from the other Synchros models in that it’s rechargeable. The headphones have a built-in Li-ion battery that will provide the LiveStage signal processing for up to 28 hours of continuous listening. $299.99


JBL Reflect. The Reflect headphones were designed with the headphones-wearing athlete in mind. One of the GeekMoms took these headphones out for several runs this past month and was absolutely enamored with their comfort and sound quality. $99.95

Image: Amazon.


JBL Synchros E10. The Synchros E10 headphones are a basic model of in-ear headphones, particularly well-suited for listening to your favorite tunes while on your commute or while flying. They are super-lightweight and will coil up nice and compact for easy travel. $39.95

The JBL Synchros over-ear Bluetooth headphones are super-comfy for all-day-at-your-desk wear. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
Image: Patricia Vollmer.

JBL Synchros E40BT. The JBL Synchros E40BTs are over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones, available in a variety of colors. One of the GeekMoms thoroughly enjoyed these headphones in an office or commuter environment; she wore them for several four-hour periods listening to audio books and online job training with virtually no discomfort. They are highly recommended for those who don’t want the constraint of a cord. $149.95

Image: id America

id America TouchTone Bluetooth Speaker. The id America TouchTone Bluetooth wireless speaker is a great value for the price. With an MSRP of only $79.99, it provides capable sound anywhere you want, without draining your bank account. Unlike the other Bluetooth speakers we’ve seen, the TouchTone talks to you! It can be used with your smart devices not only as a standard speaker, but also as a telephone speaker. $79.99

Image: Amazon

V-MODA M-100 and VMODA XS. V-MODA has a great line of headphones for the headphone junkie. One of the GeekMoms loves her comfortable Crossfade M-100 headphones because they cover her ears nicely, while Dakster’s 9-year-old son loves the XS model because they fit his ears just right. Both models come with a sturdy case and have noise isolating features. $296 for the M-100 and $200 for the XS

Phiaton Headphones
Image: Amazon

Phiaton BT 220 NC. The active noise canceling on the Phiaton BT 220 NC earphones will block out 95 percent of surrounding noise. They are easy to pair with Apple devices and the battery lasts for at least 9 hours and then some. $159

Photo: Boom Urchin
Photo: Boom Urchin

Boom Urchin Portable Speakers. This handy little splashproof, wireless, hardy speaker will get lots of use in your household. Take your music (or wireless call) in the bathroom while you bathe the toddlers, hang it from a campsite tree with its handy hook, or just move it around the house as you go about the day. It comes in fun colors and is priced to be one of the most inexpensive exciting tech gifts under the tree. $42 and up

Image: Amazon

Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable. The Crosley Cruiser portable turntable is a fun and vintage addition to any music library. Thanks to it, one of the GeekMoms has been exploring the wonderful world of records with her son. There’s a fun selection of records on eBay and more current hits, like My Little Pony, at HotTopic for all to enjoy. It’s very easy to set up for record novices, too. $79.95

Image: Amazon

TMNT Ukulele by Peavey Electronics. One of the GeekMoms says that her son loves his TMNT ukulele and enjoys making up his own tunes. It measures in at 20 inches and is made of real wood. $28

Image: JBL

JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth Speaker. The JBL Charge 2 follows up on their 2013 popular Bluetooth model in offering compact, yet powerful, wireless sound. Expect the Charge 2 to be a bit larger and heavier, in part because of the larger bass ports that will actually vibrate when the bass is powerful enough. Like the original Charge model, expect up to 12 hours of playtime, speakerphone capability, and the ability to charge other devices via USB. Another feature that makes the Charge 2 a great gift is the ability to connect up to three Bluetooth users at once to a single speaker, allowing multiple playlists to become available at once. $149.99

Image: Amazon

Harman/Kardon Esquire Mini Bluetooth Speaker. We have one word for this portable Bluetooth speaker: “sexy.” That sounds strange, but the trim size, sophisticated design, and powerful sound turn the Harman Esquire Mini into a holiday must-have. The size of a Samsung 5 or iPhone 6 Plus, this speaker easily fits into your pocket, ready to grace audiences with its elegance. Not only does this speaker work to provide sound for your favorite music or video, but you can also use the Esquire Mini’s speakerphone capabilities as a classy-looking office conferencing system. In addition, you can charge your devices with a USB connection. The kickstand easily folds into the unit when not in use, and the Esquire includes a real leather strap for easy carrying. $149.99

Image: JBL

JBL Flip 2 Bluetooth Speaker. JBL’s Flip 2 is an upgraded version of their popular, affordable entry-level 2012 portable Bluetooth speaker. About the size of a soda can, this speaker will provide about 5 hours of playtime and can be quickly recharged with the included micro-USB cable. The sound is powerful coming from such a small size, and the Flip 2 can also be used as a speakerphone. The Flip 2 comes with a lightweight hardshell carrying case, which is an improvement over the neoprene case that was included with the original version two years ago. The variety of colors makes this a fun gift for all ages. $79.95

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Movies

Collage: Cathe Post

It’s cold outside! You need a nice geeky feature to curl up in front of and keep warm! You know you do. We have animé, live-action, super hero, science, and a peppering of BBC. Find a little something for yourself or for a certain geek on your list.

Image: Amazon

Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season Adventure Time fans will really enjoy this DVD, which features our friend BMO on the box. While we all know how fun the episodes themselves are, true fans will also enjoy the DVD extras, such as the Lego introduction, interviews with show creator Pendleton Ward, as well as the concurrent commentary tracks, giving fans backstories and inspirations behind the episodes. $24.96

Image: Amazon

Batman: Season 1-3 Blu-ray POW! BANG! BOOM! Looking for a nostalgic way to introduce a mini-geek to Batman but don’t want to break out the Arkham Asylum just yet? How about the bright colors and terrible puns from the original? $174.99

Image: © Fox

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey If you missed this show’s original 13-episode run on Fox, a little binge-watching is in order. Designed as a follow-up to Carl Sagan’s 1980s series, this incarnation has a similar format to its processor—but with way better production values and the backing of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the stunning 4-disc set is a feast for the senses, covering interesting and entertaining topics that will delight the entire family. Just a few of those topics include the “Cosmic Calendar,” evolution, oceans, the Earth, atoms, and even Sagan himself. $29.99

Image: Amazon

Cowboy Bebop: The Complete Series Nice to see you again, Cowboy! Due out in mid-December, the remastered Blu-ray version of the popular animé series promises to be even more beautiful than standard definition. Three, two, one, let’s jam… $49.99

Image: DisneyNature
Image: DisneyNature

DisneyNature’s Bears DisneyNature’s Bears is a touching account of the year-long journey of a bear family in Alaska. GeekMom Patricia’s sons know and love the film’s narrator John C. Reilly from Wreck It Ralph; his flavor of humor in the narration is right up their alleys. He instills incredible personality into the film, and his storytelling makes this my favorite DisneyNature film to date! You don’t want to miss this amazing cinematography, either! $23.44

Image: Zombie Orpheus Entertainment

The Gamers: Hands of Fate After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Dead Gentlemen Productions produced this gem. Straying from their normal RPG roots, this Trading-Card-Game-rooted story has the best production value to date for the group. If you aren’t familiar with the nerdy production company, go back to the beginning of the company’s offerings; start with The Gamers and check out their YouTube series JourneyQuest. $20

Image: Shop Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy The blockbuster hit from this year is available for pre-order and will be released mid-December. This entertaining game of keep-away is a perfect geek gift. $19.99

Image: Shout Factory.
Image: Shout Factory

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series Take a trip down memory lane and introduce the kids to the magic (and chaos) of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. All five seasons are in this box set, with Pee-Wee Herman and his friends Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne, Reba the Mail Lady, and Captain Carl embarking on all sorts of adventures. Included with the 45 episodes is over four hours of interviews with the show’s writers, actors, musicians, and set designers. Kids will love the episodes while the adults will love the stories behind the chaos. $96.99

Image: Viz Media

Sailor Moon: Season 1 Part 1 23 episodes of the original, newly re-dubbed Sailor Moon anime are collected in this Blu-ray set (also available on DVD). Fans of Sailor Moon will be delighted to own this new set, which features both subbed and dubbed episodes without alterations to the story or characters from the original Japanese series. $79.98

sherlock gift set
Image: BBC Shop

Sherlock Limited Edition Gift Set A reason to purchase all three complete seasons of BBC’s Sherlock again, with every episode available in both DVD and Blu-ray format, several hours of extra content (including behind-the-scenes interviews), original character art work, and nifty little busts of Sherlock and John. $136.29

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of STEM Toys and More!

Image: Cathe Post

I get excited about toys. They are mostly marketed to kids, but as an adult I find myself putting many of the things recommended by other writers on my own wishlist.


Elemental Building Blocks A full periodic table in wooden block form, painted with bright, non-toxic ink. Great for all ages! $36

Image: Lottie Dolls

Robot Girl Lottie doll  Are you looking for an alternative to Barbie for a special kiddo on your list? Go for the Lottie Dolls. My favorite is Robot Girl Lottie (partially inspired by a former GeekMom writer) and her buddy Busy Lizzie the Robot. These dolls are appropriate for young kids and encourage exploration into science and engineering. $19.95


Gears! Gears! Gears! Gears! Gears! Gears! Get little engineers building with this 95-piece set. Gears, cranks, connectors, and interlocking base plates provide open-ended construction possibilities. The pieces snap together to create moving action and are compatible with other Learning Resource building sets so you can add on over time. Ages 3 to 7. $23.99


BBOPTM Ball Kids can bounce, roll, even climb inside HearthSong’s BBOPTM Ball. It fits kids ages 6 and up. Sold separately, get two for double the fun. $39.98

Image: Mezco Toyz

Breaking Bad Action Figures Yeah, action figures, bitch! Toys R Us may not like them, but we’re guessing there are a few people on your list that would appreciate having a Breaking Bad action figure displayed prominently. Mezco currently has several incarnations of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, as well as season two’s creepy pink teddy bear. Each one is a limited piece, making it even more coveted than a batch of Blue Sky. $13.95 and up


GeoBlocks Effortlessly learn while playing with classic blocks made from sustainable wood. Each of these 20 blocks provides information about different countries. Stack them to make a map! $31

Image: Patricia Vollmer
Image: Patricia Vollmer

Groovy Lab in a Box This is a unique subscription box experience in that it’s providing themed STEM activities to older elementary school students, ages 8-12, or grades 3-5. I am in love with the concept and potential of this program. The program is available through the company’s website. Prices range from $36.95 for a single box (plus shipping) down to $23.95 per box for a 12 month subscription, with >1 month subscriptions including free shipping. $25


Land of Nod Play Canopy and Cushion Land of Nod has loads of gorgeous play tents, but the ceiling-suspended canopies with giant cushions are a small child’s dream. Windows for peeking out, lovely designs on the canopies themselves, and a safe space to get lost in thoughts make them a great gift for exploring the imagination.  $199


Little People Disney Klip Klop Stable These Little People horses and riders are almost hypnotically fun for toddlers. Hinged back legs let the horses “walk” down the track with the most satisfying clickety clack. Other princesses and their horses are sold separately. Ages 18 months to five years. $45

Littlest Pet Shop Style Set
Image: Hasbro

Littlest Pet Shop Style Set A cute little salon that comes with three exclusive pets: Minka Mark, Kitery Banter, and Sunil Nevla. Kids can decorate the pets and the salon, which comes with a reversible backdrop and customizable wall panels to change the look. Lots of neat little accessories make this a fun set. Ages 6 and up. $39.99


Loopdeloom I love the Loopdeloom because it’s simple and quick to learn how to weave. The instructions are easy to follow and I had my first project done in about an hour. It looks like it’s marketed to children, but adults who want a relaxing and portable craft will enjoy it as well. $29.99

Guardians of the Galaxy Big Blastin'Rocket Raccoon
Image: Hasbro

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon This version of Rocket is nice and tall at 10″, and he comes ready in his battle stance. His blaster spins, lights up, and plays sound effects while he yells, “It’s Rocket time!” Ages 4 and up. $29.99

Image: Monster Factory

Monster Factory Mythicals Monster Factory’s adorable collectible plush Mythicals line is set to start shipping mid-November (you can pre-order now). Choose from six mythical creatures that stand almost 11″ high. They’re great quality and so much fun. $45

My sons were chomping at the bit to open up our sample Nerf blasters. I had to make them wait until I had a camera available first. Photo: Patricia Vollmer
Image: Patricia Vollmer

Nerf Zombie Strike Blasters Fight Zombies with Nerf’s latest offering of blasters! The Crossfire Blaster is visually appealing with a design that was first seen in last year’s Nerf Rebelle Guardian Crossbow. With a range of over 80 feet, it can hold up to four fluorescent green Zombie Strike darts, easily loaded up front, for quick succession firing. The Fusefire is a disc-launcher blaster, and comes with five glow-in-the-dark discs, which can easily be stored in the front of the blaster. You can purchase additional discs separately. $16.06

TMNT Blimp

Playmates TMNT Blimp In the words of my son, the TMNT blimp is “fragile, but still fun.” It inflates to 30″ long and can carry all four turtles + a pilot. $25.99

Playskool Heroes Marvel Super Hero Adventures Spider-Man Crane Capture Track Set
Image: Hasbro

Playskool Heroes Marvel Spider-Man Crane Capture Track Set Spider-Man defeats Electro in this preschool set featuring a Spider-Man figure on a motorcycle, a flat plastic Electro figure, and a playset with a crane. It works together with other Playskool Heroes Action Figure Racing launchers and vehicles. Ages 3-7. $19.99


Plush Treehouse with Animals This is an adorable playset. Five beanbag forest animals fit into a plush carrying-case 12″ treehouse. Great imaginative play for ages 3 and up, perfect to take as an on-the-go toy. $24.99

Image: Gamewright
Image: Gamewright

Rory’s Story Cubes MAX If you enjoy regular Rory’s Story Cubes, check out the MAX version. These larger cubes are great for large groups or for those with poor eyesight or coordination. Roll the Cubes and begin your story, working each image into the tale. Or use them for brainstorming, creative writing, problem solving, or foreign language learning. The uses are limitless. $19.99


Slackline Slacklining is a great way for kids to build strength, confidence, and balancing skills while having fun. The two-inch-wide nylon webbing extends up to 50 feet; an extra training line to hold on to makes it ideal for slackliners of varying skill levels. Ratchet tensioning is simple to use and to set up. Includes protective tree pads, instruction manual, and carrying bag. For up to 800 lbs. total weight. $69.98


SpruKits Build your own poseable action figures with SpruKits. There are Sprukits for all ability levels. Some take 15 minutes to build and some take 2-3 hours. Everything necessary is right in the kit. No cutting, gluing, or painting is necessary. Characters available in SpruKits include DC Comics characters, Halo Universe characters, and Nicktoons LBX characters. $9.59-34.99

Image: Tegu

Tegu Magnetic Wood Blocks Sustainably sourced and made from FSC-certified Honduran hardwoods, these magnetic wooden blocks will delight your teen and your baby alike. With magnets completely encased in the wood, stick these babies together in any combination to make your own delightful sculptures. Ranging from very simple sets to more complex systems, there’s something for every taste and price range. Price Varies

Electricity & Magnetism. Photo credit: Thames & Kosmos
Electricity & Magnetism. Photo credit: Thames & Kosmos

Thames & Kosmos Electricity & Magnetism Electricity & Magnetism is an experiment kit with block-like circuitry bits you can snap together. A booklet provides sample circuits that teaches the basic principles of electricity and magnetism, of course. After that—or before, if you’re not the type of read instructions manuals—you are free to play and create your own circuit designs. $44.99

Robo-Beetle. Photo credit: Thomas & Kosmos.
Robo-Beetle. Photo credit: Thomas & Kosmos

Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines DLX The Remote-Control Machines DLX is a set of building blocks to construct remote-controlled robots. While there is a certain charm to having building sets of only one type—say, Lego—so that all your sets are interchangeable, I was surprised by how much I appreciated the change of scenery. It was a whole new experience thinking in terms of the pegs and holes design of Thames & Kosmos versus the interlocking bricks design of Lego. $113.48

GGSW Ultimate Amazement Park Playset
Image: VTech

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Amazement Park Engage in all kinds of great racing play with this extra large playset from VTech. It has three different course options, sound effects, and lots of different vehicles (sold separately). This is a nice, big playset for any little car lovers. Ages 18 months to five years. $59.99

Image: VTech

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch An oversized smartwatch for kids that holds up to 800 photos and 6 minutes of video. The watch comes in several colors and has a voice recorder and some built-in games, but the basic camera is the real draw here. Age 4+, but great for preschool children. $59.99

Image: WowWee

WowWee Toys MiP Robot MiP is an awesome little robot that uses GestureSense technology for precise control with hand movements. You can also control MiP from your smartphone, and its two-wheel design is so well-balanced and smooth that it’s stunning to watch in action. MiP has several different modes for play. It’s ages eight and up, and this is one adults will love, too. So. Much. Win. $99.99


Zoomer Dino Zoomer Dino is a next generation interactive toy. This creature responds to motion. He can get angry, chomp his jaws, roar, and chase. His eye color changes with his mood. Pull his tail and he’ll rampage! You can tame this touch-sensitive Dino, teach him to perform tricks, follow you, even dance. He balances perfectly. Charges with a USB cable. $105

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Geeky Gadgets

Collage: Cathe Post

Is there a tech-savvy or gadget-happy individual on your gift list this year? Look no further than our recommendations for geeky gadgets!

Image: ASUS
Image: ASUS

ASUS Transformer Book You want the versatility of a tablet but the typing ability and full desktop use of a laptop, but can only afford one or the other? This product is a good choice. Price Varies

Image: Amazon

Color Cables Color Cables are vibrant 3- or 6-foot cables with a glow-in-the-dark coating. Available in iOS 30-pin, iOS Lightning, and MicroUSB, you’ll find that the price is right, as well. We experienced quick charge times and durable connections. You’ll feel good supporting a small company with this gift idea, too. $15-25


Cricut Explore The latest Cricut model is a high-end workhorse for any crafter. Cut vinyl, fabric, felt, paper, t-shirt transfers, and more. With the web-based Cricut Design software, you can make your own designs to cut. There are so many possibilities for this great machine. $299.99

Photo: GoPro
Photo: GoPro

GoPro Basic Camera For years we’ve had fun with GoPro cameras here at GeekMom, and now there is a streamlined version that’s a perfect fit for families. All of the quality and exceptional footage that you get from a pricier GoPro, but just the basic features. The new family-friendly price makes this a great pick for kids and adults alike. Paired with the free (easy to use) online movie-making program, this will easily be at the top of the favorite gifts list.  $129.99

The Lenovo Miix 2 8-inch. Image: Lenovo
The Lenovo Miix 2 8-inch. Image: Lenovo

Lenovo Miix 2 8-inch Windows Tablet If a smaller tablet is on your list (and you haven’t invested in one of the giant gadgets that pass for cell phones these days), check out this Lenovo. The tablet runs Windows 8 like a dream and is perfect for watching TV in bed or stashing in your purse for errands. $300

Image: Logitech

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard Logitech’s keyboards are always great, but this wireless one can transition from your computer to your tablet to your smartphone. Just turn the dial to switch between three bluetooth devices—and it’s nice and portable. $49.99

Fullscreen capture 7222014 23021 PM
Image: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab S If you are looking for a fast, bright tablet that can do several things at once, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S could be for you or a certain person on your gift list. It has a great camera, great sound, and expandable storage. How could you go wrong? $480

Image: Little Scholar

School Zone’s Little Scholar 8-inch Kids’ Tablet A super quick, durable kids’ tablet with a great quality screen that’s bigger than other kids’ tablets on the market. It runs Android 4.4 and comes loaded with 200 games. It has a straightforward, kid-friendly startup menu that’s easy to configure for your child’s needs and most-used apps. It’s not supported by Google Play, but you can easily get most apps you need from the Amazon app store. It has an SD card slot and an HDMI port. It’s a little big for small hands, but the screen looks great; the larger size is awesome for watching movies and TV shows. $200

See heat in the dark with the Seek thermal camera for smartphones. Image credit: Seek Thermal.
Image: Seek Thermal

Seek Thermal Camera for iPhone and Android Smartphones  For the gadget-loving geek, here is a new “toy” that’s sure to impress. The Seek is a small thermal camera that you can connect to your smartphone to detect infrared light. Find the source of air drafts in your house, find your pets outside in the dark, scan a dark parking lot (or house, or backyard) for hidden attackers, play midnight tag—there are so many applications for this gadget. $199

Image: TechShop

TechShop Membership and Gifts If your tech geek lives in or near San Carlos, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Allen Park, MI; Round Rock, TX; Pittsburgh, PA; Chandler, AZ; or Arlington, VA, they can use the gift of a TechShop membership. A membership would gain your techy access to a wide range of equipment and classes at the TechShop locations. Classes can also be gifted. $125/month

Image: Vivitar

Vivitar XO 7-inch Kids’ Tablet If you’re looking for a small, kid-sized tablet that’s durable and fits nicely in a preschooler’s hand, this is a nice option (and it doesn’t require cartridges). You can have separate accounts for multiple kids, and there’s also a parent mode that’s a full Android tablet linked to Google Play. It has an SD card slot to add additional storage, and it uses a USB charger so you don’t have to carry around a specialized cable. Two models are available, one with all content in English and Spanish and one with everything in English and French. It comes preloaded with more than 100 games and books. The XO is part of the One Laptop Per Child program.  $149

Image: Zagg
Image: Zagg

Zagg InvisibleShield Glass Screen Protector This extremely protective and smooth-as-glass (um, because it is glass) screen protector works very well and is a great choice for anyone who prefers the feel of glass to the feel of plastic. Price Varies

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Video Games and Apps

Video games
Collage: Cathe Post

In this age of screen time and games coming on all shapes and sizes of screens, it is difficult to keep up with all of the hottest apps and games for all of the different devices. GeekMom is here to help!

Some of the most popular apps this year are free to download, but have in-game purchases. Other games cost money to purchase up front. Either way, my favorite stocking stuffer for the kids is to purchase apps for their devices, print a picture of the app logo or icon, and stick it in their stocking. Taking it a step further, since most apps can’t be purchased as gifts, I purchase a gift card for the appropriate app store so they can get in-game purchases or new apps.


CLZ Comics
Image: CLZ Comics

CLZ Comics App For a comic book collector, CLZ Comics is a must have app for your iPhone or iPad. With a quick scan of the barcode or search of the database, you can archive your entire comic book collection. The process is quick and painless. Even though it’s the most expensive app I’ve ever purchased ($14.99), I’ve happily found that it’s worth every penny, especially after it saved me from buying a book I already had on my shelf. $14.99

Image credit:

Pear Sports Smart Training System for Android and iOS The Pear Mobile Training Intelligence System is the first app/accessory system I’ve tried that does more than simply regurgitate a heart rate, location, or pace when you tap your device for feedback: It will collect, record, and customize workout data for you based on your heart rate. This is the most interactive fitness app I’ve ever experienced, and their unique headphone design is outstanding. $87.49

Image: Rovio

Angry Birds The popular physics based franchise continues to gain popularity with new versions like Angry Birds Stella, Angry Birds Epic, and Angry Birds Transformers. All have in game purchase options that are not necessary to fully enjoy the game, but can be fun. Free 

Image: Toca Boca

Toca Boca Games Toca games are more for the pre-school age range. Fun for grade school age too, the educational adventure games allow kids to tap their way into learning and surprises. $2.99


TMNT Danger of the Ooze. Image:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze (360, PS3, 3DS) TMNT: Danger of the Oooze takes the turtles back to their 80’s roots in terms of feel and play. The storyline takes place after the first season, but even if you haven’t seen any of the episodes, you won’t be lost. The graphics have the look of today’s technology, but the game plays and feels like something I would have played as a kid.  $37.85

Image: Disney

Disney Infinity 2.0 Disney’s updated answer to Disney Infinity corrects many of the problems from the first game, and introduces a large number of Marvel characters the entire family can enjoy. $75

Image Gearbox
Image: Gearbox

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel This flash-back first-person-shooter is full of humorous writing, blood, violence, smart and sexy characters, and so much more. Play as a gladiator, a gunslinger, a cyborg, or everyone’s favorite annoying one-wheeled robot. $59.96


Hearth Stone  Previously played on GeekMom, this free-to-play online trading-card-ish game has in-game purchases if you so desire. This online game comes recommended for even the younger players because there are only five phrases you can say to your opponent—no bullying, no online stalking. There is some cartoon blood and violence, but is still a good play. Price Varies

Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8. Image: Nintendo

Mario Kart 8 Mario Kart 8 is a must-have for the Wii U. It’s a high-energy, vivid, fast-paced racing game that players of all ages will love to play! $59.99

© Nintendo / Level 5
© Nintendo / Level 5

Fantasy Life Fantasy Life is a quiet, colorful 3DS game that fans of RPGs or Animal Crossing will enjoy for hours and hours. Choose your own adventure by picking the Life that sounds the most fun for you!  $39.99


Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Image: Nintendo

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U The crazy, frenetic, fighting game action of Super Smash Bros. comes to the Wii U! Up to eight players can join in the fun, pitting some of their favorite Nintendo characters past and present against each other in wonderfully chaotic battles. $59.99

amiibo. Image: Nintendo

amiibo Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders and Disney Infinity is amiibo. These collectible figures come to life within the game—starting with Super Smash Bros.—and can fight for you or against you. Each figure can learn new stats and tactics the more you play! $12.99


© Nintendo
© Nintendo

Pokémon Art Academy If you have a Pokémon fan in the house, picking up this game is a no-brainer. Pokémon Art Academy walks players through step-by-step lessons, from novice to expert, to teach them how to draw some of their favorite pocket monsters. $29.99

TMNT game

Hero Portal by Jakks Pacific Portal runs off the same concept as Skylanders with an 80’s themed twist. The graphics and fighting style are very much like the games I would play in the arcade as a child. My son seems to enjoy it, but I think his favorite part is that it plugs right into his TV in his room without a bulky console to set up first. The game comes with Leonardo and Raphael. You can purchase other characters separately, starting at $20 for a pack of two. $39.99 (Boosters $7.99 each)

Don't Starve Game
Image: Don’t Starve Game

Don’t Starve This is a survival game in much the same vein as Minecraft where the player collects stuff to make other stuff while exploring, building, and avoiding (or fighting) monsters. The goal in this game though is to last as many days as possible without dying. The longer you make it, the more experience you gain and the more characters (with fun talents) can be unlocked. Plus, the art style is great! $14.99

Image: Minecraft

Minecraft This game has done nothing but gain popularity since it hit the market. I still talk to parents who don’t want their kids playing it. This is a family game. If you want to, monsters can be turned off and you can turn off internet access to avoid playing with other people. It is a great spacial recognition and building game for anyone. It’s an adventure game. It’s a survival game. It’s a logic game. It’s a creative game. It is available for tablets and pretty much every platform. My favorite thing is that it is a lot less messy to have Minecraft on a tablet on long car trips than a bucket of Lego bricks in the back seat of the car. $7 for the tablet version/$17.99 for other platforms

Image: Good Old Games

Fez This platformer puzzle game has gained popularity this year and is on the wish-lists of many late elementary school kids. You play as Gomez, a strange pixelly humanoid, solving puzzles through 2D and 3D maps. $9.99

GeekMom’s 2014 Table Top and Board Game Gift Guide

board game gide
GeekMom’s 2014 Table Top Game Gift Guide. Collage: Cathe Post

With hits like Wil Wheaton’s YouTube show TableTop, and major retail chains like Target and Amazon featuring games from the show, it is no surprise that board games are prime gifts to give during the holiday season.

I wanted to add all of the games from last year’s gift guide (as I played several of them—like Pathfinder ACG—multiple times throughout the year), but instead I will just say that the games from last year are still highly recommended, along with new games GeekMom writers have played this year.

20 Express. Image: Blue Orange Games

20 Express  Great for the teacher on your list, 20 Express is a fun large-group guessing game that sneaks in number-line and math facts. $16.59

Gravity Maze. Image: Thinkfun

Gravity Maze This award winning game, from the makers of Laser Maze, is marked as a single-player game but would be great to keep one or many players entertained and puzzling for hours. Who would have thought a marble run could make your brain hurt…in a good way! $23.99

Krosmaster Arena. Image: Kickstarter

Krosmaster Arena This game is worth the price tag. Made for family gaming, the rules are mini-game boards that prove as a learn-while-you-play tutorial. With miniatures and cute cartoon cardboard cut-outs, this game feels like a table top version of a turn-based RPG video game. Once mastered, there are expansions available, too. $54.18

Image: Crash Games
Image: Crash Games

Council of Verona Backstab your foes and try to get ahead in this fantastic card game set in Romeo and Juliet‘s Verona, Italy. Will the lovers be united? Will the families betray each other? It is within your power to affect the outcome. $14.99

Damage Report. Image: Break From Reality Games

Damage Report You and your friends are the crew on a heavily-damaged spaceship. Can you repair it before the life-support gives out or the enemy craft blows you to pieces? This real-time strategy game is an exciting adventure for two to six players. There are several missions of varying degrees of difficulty and lots of fun little bits to pass around. $52.31

Gravwell. Image: Renegade Games

Gravwell In this game, which loosely (okay, not really) follows the laws of gravitational pull, use periodic table elements (again, not quite accurate) to boost your way out of the black hole. $31.50

Happy Birthday. Image: North Star Games

Happy Birthday In the same vein as Apples to Apples and Dixit, Happy Birthday is a great game for kids in a small or large group to judge their favorite and least favorite white-elephant type gifts. This would also make a great stocking stuffer. $12.17

machi-koro IDW Games
Machi Koro. Image: IDW Games

Machi Koro  Enhance your city in this nail-biter of a resource collecting game. $23.20

Machine of Death. Image: Machine of Death

Machine of Death This morbid, cooperative party game places you and your friends in the role of a group of assassins who need to creatively use the tools you are given to make sure your target dies in the manner fate has determined. If you need more reason to add this to your gift list, I can give you eight. $39.99

Paizo Publishing, LLC
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Base Set. Image: Paizo

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Base Set The second game in the Pathfinder ACG series offers more characters and more difficulty as your party of adventurers travels the seas in search of booty and trouble. $38.48

Game Salute
Pixel Lincoln. Image: Game Solute


Pixel Lincoln You are an 8-bit time-travelling President Lincoln in this retro-video game style deck builder. Since the game offers different level cards, difficulty can be set easier for family gaming or harder for experienced players. $30.00
Rampage. Image:

Rampage (Terror in Meeple City)  Agility and reflex control is the basis of the game Rampage. Flick, drop, and blow buildings full of meeples to the ground so you can get them in your monster-belly! $39.53

ROFL. Image: Renegade Games

ROFL Illustrated by the amazing and talented John Kovalic, this game challenges you to encode phrases with the shortest number of characters possible, and then decode those phrases made by others. It’s trickier than it sounds! $20.66

TMNT Monopoly
TMNT Monopoly. Image: Dakster Sullivan

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Monopoly The makers of TMNT Monopoly did a great job putting everything turtle fans love about the show into the game. $27.00

SJ Games
Zombie Dice Expansions. Images: Steve Jackson Games/Collage: Cathe Post


Zombie Dice Expansions If you have the award-winning insanely-popular Zombie Dice, try adding Zombie Dice 2 – Double Feature and Zombie Dice 3 School Bus Game to the stockings this year. $7-10

GeekMom’s 2014 Lego Bricks Gift Guide

Lego Guide
GeekMom’s 2014 Lego Brick Gift Guide. Collage: Cathe Post

If your geeky house is anything like mine, Lego sets and accessories have been added to a majority of the family wish lists. Here are some recommendations from the writers at GeekMom to you:

Lego Superheroes Knowhere Escape Mission Building Set. Image: Cathe Post

Lego Superheroes Knowhere Escape Mission Building Set Instead of buying an advent calendar this year, GeekMom Cathe bought a couple of Lego sets and divided them up (a page of instructions a day) to cover the days and left the minifigures for last. This set features Rocket Raccoon and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy along with some other standard and unique bricks. $36.97

Lego Movie Cloud Cuckoo Palace. Image: Cathe Post

Lego Movie Cloud Cuckoo Palace One of the most imaginative Lego worlds comes in an affordable set with one of the more popular characters—Unikitty! $19.97

Lego Building Bricks and Minifigure Molds. Image:

Lego Building Bricks and Minifigure Molds For the Lego brick lover in your life: Make candy, soap, crayons, ice cubes, bath fizzers—the possibilities are endless! $12.35

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.35.08 AM
The Lego Movie. Image:

The Lego Movie If you have a Lego fan on your list who doesn’t own this movie, it is a must have. There is something for everyone, young and old. A geek favorite. $17.73

Lego Friends Jungle Tree Sanctuary. Image:

Lego Friends Jungle Tree Sanctuary Lego Friends Jungle Tree Sanctuary includes a Mia mini-figure, plus lion cub, parrot, turtle, and monkey. Accessories include walkie-talkie, microscope, computer, binoculars, backpack, camera, and much more. Build a three-floor set with birdhouse, bedroom, laboratory, and paddock with pond. Ages 7 and up. $40.93

DUPLO Creative Picnic
Lego Duplo Creative Picnic Set. Image:

Lego Duplo Creative Picnic Set If you have a toddler or preschooler who loves kitchen and food play, this is a great set to add to your Duplo collection. It’s also a great introduction to Duplo, with real-world items that inspire representational play and work on those fine motor skills. Ages 18 months to five years. $24.99

Lego Juniors Race Car Rally. Image:


Lego Juniors Race Car Rally This set is great for a young car lover. The Lego Juniors line, for that transitional stage from Duplo to regular Lego, has some nice sets available. But, this racing set kept one GeekMom editor’s toddler busy for quite some time. It’s a 350-piece set that comes with two minifigures. Ages 4-7. $29.99

Lego DC Super Heroes: Phonics Boxed Set. Image: Scholastic

Lego DC Super Heroes: Phonics Boxed Set Your youngster can learn their vowel sounds in this book series featuring heroes from the DC universe. Books in the series focus on a sound per book and have the Lego cartoon art we know and love. $11.10

12 Geeky DIY Gift Ideas From GeekMom

Collage: Cathe Post

Are you looking for something geeky to make for that special someone in your life, but have no idea where to start? GeekMom is here to help! We have crochet, sewing, and gluing projects for kids and adults. Take a look at some of our favorite DIY projects.

8-Bit Afghan. Image: Cathe Post.

8-Bit Afghan. GeekMom Cathe has been crocheting up a Tribble-load of granny squares. The stacks of fibrous squares are being put together to make various geeky 8-bit images including a TARDIS, Spider-Man, and others. You can learn how to put together your own pattern from scratch for a gift this holiday or for any special occasion. (Average price $30)

The Launch Acceleration
Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Amy Farrah Fowler’s Blanket. GeekMom Sarah was enamored with this particular multi-colored afghan long before she was aware of its geeky origins. The fact that it rests on the couch of Roseanne Barr, the font of all knowledge in Sarah’s childhood, as well as on the couch of Amy Farrah Fowler, is icing on the cake. This Granny Square Afghan is adaptable to the size and coloring you prefer. It can be made over several months and pieced together at any point. Use scraps that you have or buy new yarn; it’s entirely up to you. (Average Price $0-30)

Photo by Sarah Pinault, used with permission.

Felt Masks. Whether you wish to play dress up with your kids or move about your city incognito, these felt face masks are sure to help you. Quick to stitch up and easily adapted, you can put together a full costume-change library for the aspiring spy in your family. (Average Price $1-7)

GG Dalek Dress
Image by Lisa Kay Tate.

Great Gatsby Dalek Dress. This is a fun little party dress for girls, and it even works for people who don’t know the difference between a Dalek and a Cyberman. Those who do, of course, seem to really enjoy the simple, 1920s-influenced look. (Average Price $25 )

Monster Patch
Monster patch. Image used by permission from

Monster Patch. A monster face is an unexpected way to patch worn jeans. It’s also a method you can use to add personality to all sorts of gifts. Try adding a small monster patch to a blanket, bedspread, or pillow. Add a larger monster patch to a hoodie or backpack. Make it look like a dinosaur or a robot instead of a monster. Such patches are particularly fun to personalize hand-me-downs or thrift-store finds. Go ahead, patch a few gifts this year! (Average Price $1 per patch)

Photo courtesy of Sarah Pinault.

Octonauts Felt Masks. Indulge your child’s love of The Octonauts with a complete set of face masks, perfect for deep sea adventures. Eight, easy-to-follow, easy-to-make, patterns are included. Crafters—to the Octopod! (Average Price $2-5)

Image: and Sarah Pinault

Peg Plus Cat Amigurumi. We are totally freaking out over this awesome “life-size” Amigrumi version of Peg’s feline companion, Cat, from the PBS show Peg Plus Cat. The finished product stands 12 inches tall and is perfect for cuddling and numerical conspiracies. (Average Price $5-10)

plant markers
Image by Laura Weldon, used with permission.

Plant Markers. Make a set of plant markers using spoons from the thrift store. They’re more durable than other markers and better yet, entirely your design. Use them as markers for house plants or potted herbs; give along with seed packets and garden gloves. Or, make them with your kids as you plan together what you’ll be planting in the spring. Costs depend on the repurposed spoons, but the other supplies are enough to make several hundred. (Average Price around 25 cents per spoon)

sock monsters
Image by Laura Weldon, used with permission.

Sock Monsters. Need an easy project? Use socks and notions you have around to create a sock monster or two. These are made with baby- and toddler-sized socks, then decorated with felt, buttons, and embroidery floss. If you intend to give a sock monster to a baby or young child, it’s safest to add features by drawing or embroidering them on to forestall any risk of choking. (Average Price 50 cents-$3)

DIY Infinity Orb © Sophie Brown
DIY Infinity Orb © Sophie Brown.

Star-Lord Orb. Complete your Star-Lord cosplay with a handmade Infinity Stone Orb as made by GeekMom Sophie. These are cheap and fast to make, so they would make great stocking stuffers or party bag favors. (Average Price $1-10)

Star Lord Care Package
Image by Lisa Kay Tate.

Star-Lord Pack. This Guardians of the Galaxy-themed care package is great for personalized gift-giving as it can be easily modified to fit into a holiday gift package, or even as a Star-Lord themed Christmas stocking. This is the year for all things Guardians, so this is a wonderful, homemade addition to—or replacement for—the commercially-sold merchandise that I’m guessing will be pretty hot during the gift-giving season. (Average Price $30-50, but may be less or more depending on what items you want to put in it.)

Image by Lisa Kay Tate.

Steampunk Doll Wings. Our entire family caught the steampunk bug before we even knew the word steampunk, particularly the props and cosplay ideas. My daughter wanted to make her own pair of Steampunk wings, but full-sized wings were a bit too much for her when she was 10. We came up with the idea of making them for her dolls using popcicle sticks and chenelle craft stems, and they turned out to be great project for us to do together. When she was done using them on her dolls, she attached the wings to a large barrette she could pin in her hair or on her hat. (Average Price under $10)

Easy 8-Bit Afghans to Knock Your Granny’s Socks Off

About a third of the way done attaching granny squares to make a TARDIS afghan. Slow, but steady, progress is being made. Image: Cathe Post

Granny squares aren’t just for grannies—they make excellent 8-bit patterned afghans, too! You really don’t need artistic talent to complete this project, but you do need time and patience—especially if you are like me and crochet super slowly.

To make a pattern you will need:

  • Blank paper, graph paper, or a photo editing program
  • An simple image (cartoon, clip art, or 8-bit image) you want to copy
  • Markers, crayons, or pencils if you are making your design on paper
  • A ruler if you are doing the design on blank paper

Blank paper method:

Use your ruler to draw lines breaking your image into a grid. On average, you will need the finished product to be 39 inches wide and 75 inches tall when crocheting a twin size afghan. So, for a twin sized afghan with three-inch squares you would draw a grid 13 squares wide and 25 squares tall. If you are looking to make a different size afghan, there are guides and calculators out in internet-land that are very helpful.

Put another piece of paper directly on your desired image. It helps to have it on a lit background. Start filling in the squares with your coloring implement. Each square should be one color. So, if you have a square that is two colors, you will need to choose which color works best with the image. Keep in mind that your image will still have square edges even if your original image has circles. Any lines that need to be “drawn” on the afghan can also be added (you will be able to add a chain cable to the top to draw accent lines on the final afghan).

The photo program method:

If you are more comfortable in the digital realm, you can use an image manipulation program like Photoshop or GIMP to make your design (I used GIMP). Create a new image that has the same dimensions as your final product, though the units don’t matter; just use the number of squares for each dimension. For the twin-sized, three-inch-square example, make the image 13 by 25 inches. Then, set the resolution fairly low—maybe 10 or 20 pixels per inch. Our design will very blocky!

Set up a 1 inch by 1 inch grid, offset by 1/2 inch each way, and turn on snap to grid. Each intersection of the grid is the center of one of the squares in the final design. Select a square brush, set to 1 inch size (however many pixels you chose for the resolution). Open the image that you are going to be using for the design as a new layer, then create a transparent layer on top of that—this will be our working layer.

With the grid and the brush, you can now start ‘stamping’ your design. At each grid intersection, decide what color your design needs to be (use the dropper to sample colors of the original image if you’d like) and plop a squares on until the whole original design is covered. You may find that is easier to move the original image above the working layer, set to a low opacity – it’s up to you.

Once the design is finished to your satisfaction, hide the original image and the grid, create a new transparent layer above the current one. Then, render a 1 inch by 1 inch grid with no offset onto the new layer (in GIMP, this is done with Filters->Render->Pattern->Grid; a Google search should be able to tell you how to do this in Photoshop). The resolution is so low that you should be able to get away with a 1 pixel line thickness. Make sure the color is set to black, or another color that will contrast with your design and make it easy to see all of the squares later on.

A three-inch square vs. a four-inch square. Overall it will make a big difference.

Putting it together:

Once you have your pattern, it’s time to find out how much yarn you need. First, count up how many squares of each color are in your design. Then, multiply the number of squares of each color by 6.69 yards of yarn per three-inch square, or 12.786 yards per four-inch square (disclaimer: these are approximates, and your yarn usage may vary). This is how many yards of each color of yarn you’ll need. Time to go shopping! Err on the side of too much; it’s easier than scrambling to find more of the same color later.


Three-inch TARDIS squares (for a 45 x 69 inch afghan):

  • White—1057 yards
  • Light blue—127 yards
  • Medium blue—301 yards
  • Dark blue—675 yards
  • Black—47 yards



Four-inch Spider-Man squares (for a 52 x 76 inch afghan):

  • Black—1150 yards
  • Red—1406 yards
  • Medium blue—473 yards
  • White—77 yards

Now you can start crocheting! It took me a month and a half of crocheting 5-50 squares a day to complete 336 squares for the TARDIS afghan.

Don’t know how to  crochet, or where to start? Feel like it’s just too much? To give you some perspective, I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn. I spent about $30 per afghan. To make a three-inch square, using the video tutorial above, I used an I9 hook, and for a four-inch square I used an H hook. For both sets of squares, I used the pattern in the video above; I just did four rounds of the square for the bigger squares.

To sew them together, I used these instructions:

I am still working on finishing Spider-Man and the TARDIS before Christmas Eve. If you want to skip the design phase, you can make your own Spiderman, TARDIS, or Princess Unikitty afghan from the designs we made. Poking around on the internet, I even found a Mario pattern! Have you done this before? What geeky patterns have you made?

How to Make a Dancing Baby Groot Costume With Only a Few Failed Attempts

Chef, Honey-Where-Are-My-Pants Guy, Dancing Baby Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.

When my husband and I got married, we were warned that we would fight about money or sex. Not us. We fight about the direction a costume is taking during construction. It has happened every time we have made costumes. After the second design failure on Groot, we just let it go (great, now that song is stuck in my head). Neither of our ideas were working, and we weren’t doing so well.

What you will need for your Dancing Baby Groot costume. Image: Cathe Post

For this Dancing Baby Groot tutorial you will need:

A Flower Pot (Ours was about 14″ in diameter, choose your accordingly)

Leggings (Brown)

Sweatshirt (Brown)

Close-cell foam 1″ thick

Gorilla Glue

Cheap Sunglasses

Cheap Plastic Foliage

Brown Painter’s Paper  Brown Paint

Green Painter’s Paper Green Paint

Brown Gloves?



Old Tennis Shoes

More Gorilla Glue


A sense of humor

Instead of a tutorial, I plan to drink wine. Acceptable? While drinking, I will share what my husband did for the other three members of our household.

Let it be known that gender roles do not apply in my house. Not only does my husband cook, he also busted his butt to sew and paint our costumes in time for GeekGirlCon in mid-October. He is the most awesome guy in the world.

First we tried gluing, then we tried sewing, finally we said a few choice curse words and painted the grain on. All images: Cathe Post

We first tried twisting and crumpling painter’s paper and using Gorilla Glue to adhere it to the sweatshirt. This worked, but was a big mess and hard to keep positioned while the glue dried. There were many colorful metaphors uttered…

Next, the twisted pieces of paper were hand-sewn onto the sweatshirt. This made our daughter look like a brown box instead of a long treeling. Plus the paper was stiff and LOUD. More cursing ensued.

Groot’s pot was constructed by cutting a flower pot in half, adding cardboard, and using copious amounts of Gorilla Glue to attach old sneakers to the bottoms. For grip, a collectible card game playing mat (basically a giant mousepad) was cut and adhered. There was no cursing involved in the making of the flower pot. Now, wearing the flower pot did cause my daughter to utter a few choice phrases (to be fair, that thing had to be a pain in the arse to walk in).

As a finishing touch, I loaded I Want You Back onto my phone and connected the iFrogz Tadpole speaker GeekMom Jenny previously talked about to the inside of the flower pot. When we get around a bunch of people, my daughter could dance like Baby Groot.

Rocket Raccoon and Groot

The Rocket costume went much more smoothly, though my costume had the most materials and items to purchase of our three costumes. Thankfully, with the announcement of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 being a definite, I know I will get future use out of my costume—and have time to make a sweet gun!

“Honey, where are my paaaaaants?”

My son’s costume (only to be worn for our Halloween commitments) went the smoothest of the three costumes, was the cheapest, and took the least amount of time to make. My son, quite specifically, asked to be the guy from “Honey, Were Are My Pants?,” the silly fictional sitcom from The Lego Movie. Honestly, when you are four, isn’t that the best part of the movie? Thanks to having a cardboard supply that multiplies like tribbles, having yellow rain pants (needed in the Pacific Northwest), and a pajama top the same color as the guy’s shirt, we only had to purchase blue spray paint and World Market Cheesy Snowballs (because the container looks like a Lego mini-figure head with a bit of modification). We had a selection of acrylic craft paints and a few different spray paints, so we didn’t even have to purchase those either. My son, needless to say, thinks that the costume is awesome—because, “Everything is awesome!”

Great. Now I have that song stuck in my head…

Thankfully, we got most of our arguing and Vulcan-Death-Match fighting out of the way on Groot’s costume. By the time the Lego guy’s costume was finished, we didn’t care where our pants were.

If you want to tell my husband that he did a geek-tastic job on our costumes, tag @timsmartini on Twitter. After making costumes for everyone else, he was too tired to make one for himself, so we dug out an old chef’s jacket and hat we’d ordered from a uniform supply. Instant costume!

Happy Halloween from Rocket, Groot, Honey-Where-Are-My-Pants guy, and Chef!

Extract Fruit DNA at Home

When my daughter and I went to GeekGirlCon earlier this month, there was a science area. My daughter’s favorite experiment in the science area was extracting DNA from fruit. She enjoyed the experiment so much she decided to replicate the experiment for her homework.

If you would like to try the experiment at home, follow my daughter’s video above. What fruits will you try?

Girls’ Weekend Out: GeekGirlCon 2014

GeekMoms Corrina, Kelly, and Cathe at GeekGirlCon14. Image: Cathe Post

GeekGeekCon was this past weekend. This gamer mom was so busy with new adventures, I didn’t have time to play—let alone look at—a board game the whole weekend.

New adventures—there were many. My daughter and I went together for a girls’ weekend away. On her request, we did a themed cosplay. Plus, I roomed with people I had never met before. Since I sat at the GeekMom table, I spent a lot of time in the exhibition hall and visited a couple of favorite vendors—and met several more!

We started the weekend with the GeekMom panel. Panelists Tristan J. Tarwater (of Back That Elf Up) and Ariane, Kelly, Corrina, and I (of GeekMom) answered questions on how to help our kids pursue their interests without losing our identities.

GeekKid VIP and GeekMom Cathe do the family cosplay thing, like ‘ya do. Image: Cathe Post

Determined for my daughter and I to show our identities with pride, we dressed up as our favorite characters from Guardians of the Galaxy (it should be noted that my husband did 99.9% of the work on our costumes and is the most incredible person I know). Our costumes seemed to be a hit with convention attendees. We were stopped for photos many times. The Groot costume was even mentioned in a couple of different GeekGirlCon blog updates.

Sharing of pictures was more a thing this year than in past years. Though, when I checked Twitter, #GGC14 images weren’t easy to find. But I was given several cards and flyers when our picture was taken telling me what outlets our picture would be on. A couple of these sites included Perzephone CosplayStudio5Graphics, SharcTank, and 1darkjedi.

Apparently, Studio5Graphics’ image of my daughter and I received a viral amount of hits on Twitter.

Then there are the videos. GeekMom Corrina took a video and posted it to GeekMom’s Facebook page. It went a little bonkers, too. Plus, she danced with Iron Man (truly nice couple, check out the blog, too!). My point besides bragging rights? Cute Groot gets attention. Family cosplay shows a family bond and that parenting can be fun. I think sometimes parents forget that they were once kids and we need to practice the kid skills or lose them.

We spent a great deal of time on the exhibit floor. My daughter saved her allowance for several months in preparation for the event. Did she find find ways to spend the money in her pocket? I would say so.

Kelly already told you about Friday Afternoon Teas and Digital Soaps. I purchased a couple of teas (Serpent’s Blend from their Hogwarts line, and Pirate King Blend) and was tempted by the soaps.

RPG represents at JBM Press. Image: Cathe Post

Other table visits included the GeekGirlCon merchandise table for a sweatshirt and t-shirt and a trip down to Artist Alley for a bookmark purchase of Rocket and Groot at Ashleigh Popplewell‘s table followed by a series of Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy button purchases from Iguana Comics & Buttons. We were tempted to buy a fluff ball cat from Careful It Bites, but in the end, we ran out of funds. Groot’s major purchase for the weekend was an 11th Doctor sonic screwdriver purchased from Comics Forge (aka Studio5Graphics). I made one additional purchase from a fellow Wazzu alum at JBM Press. He and his wife made these awesome shirts for RPG players that I couldn’t pass up for my husband and me.

Aubrey of the Doubleclicks signs VIP’s cat keyboard.
VIP pours a fruit concoction into a filter to strain the DNA.
That goop? It’s strawberry DNA!

My daughter’s favorite parts were getting her Meowsic Keyboard
signed by the Doubleclicks and doing science. She drew with invisible ink, made a Möbius strip, and made a hover craft—but her favorite was extracting DNA from fruit.

It was a wonderful weekend. My daughter has already asked to go back next year as long as we don’t cosplay and take the time to enjoy all parts of the convention.

Water Bead Science

This is how the water beads looked after they had been in the freezer for a few days. One of our pink water beads accidentally also found its way in.
This is how the water beads looked after they had been in the freezer for a few days. One of our pink water beads accidentally also found its way in. Photos: Cathe Post

My daughter came home during her first week of school with a little cup of jiggly water beads. After she and her brother sat and poked at the beads for a solid half an hour, VIP (my daughter) decided she wanted to see what would happen if she put the water beads in the freezer.

Several days later she pulled them out of the freezer. She observed that they were hard and stuck together. While VIP was observing her water beads, she noticed more changes as they melted. The beads had turned into a gooey mess! They no longer resembled “beads” and more resembled a clear slushy.

Because the beads went through so many changes, VIP and her dad decided to do an experiment: What made the beads change? Was it the water, the freezer, or both?

What we needed:

  • A piece of paper
  • Pencil
  • Four water beads
  • Four cups
  • A freezer

After coming to her conclusion, we then explained how water expands when it is frozen.

Next up, what happens when you microwave water beads?

GeekMom Video Playlist

A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a lot of Let’s Play, and a touch of NSFW. You have been warned.


What a wonderful idea for a flash mob!

I was a marching band nerd and was in the band at WAZZU (Washington State University). I love seeing student musicians who are this enthusiastic about current music and standard tunes.

Through the happy/sad song series we found on YouTube, my husband and I have been able to explain to a few people the very basic difference between major and minor keys in music.

Sean Plott is well known for his playthroughs of StarCraft and Hearthstone and has started a weekly Let’s Play with a couple of friends while they work through old school adventure games. Their first game was King’s Quest VI, next up is The Dig. There is drinking and language. By the hosts, of course.

Emily Graslie is a young, hip, female scientist. The Brain Scoop host had fun at a Nerd’s Night Out. NSFW.

We don’t own a PS, so haven’t played The Last of Us. After a bunch of rave reviews, it is nice to be able to watch a playthrough with some interesting commentary.

These are the videos, old and new, that caught my attention this week. What have you been watching?

Board Game Hacks: Games to Play in a Classroom

Classroom Board Game Hacks
Need a game to play with your classroom full of kids? Try hacking rules to these favorites! Image: Cathe Post

When asked to break up a high-energy classroom the day before a big vacation, I take games. But sometimes it is difficult to find games that can be played with more than ten players. Hacks need to be made to the rules. I taught art in four different second-grade classrooms last year, and all of them asked me to bring in games on multiple occasions. The teachers would dread that final day before spring break/winter break/summer vacation. Teachers appreciated the educational choices that could be played with 20+ students at a time. The kids liked most of the games, with a few exceptions. The ratings below represent how many classes liked the game.

Happy Birthday cards are silly! Photo: Cathe Post
Happy Birthday cards are silly! Kids will take the time to read the text of these fun gifts. Image: Cathe Post

Happy Birthday: Happy Birthday is a game similar to Apples to Apples. The game revolves around the idea that you are going to a birthday party and only have some crazy, strange gifts in your closet to take. The judge (or the birthday person) picks their favorite and least favorite gift. The players who brought those gifts to the party get points. Classroom Rule Adjustments: The kids already sit in groups of 3-5. I had each table be a “team.” Each team would get a set of cards and would have to work together to pick the gifts they thought the judge would think was awesome and awful. This was great for building teamwork skills. It also allowed kids who played the judge/birthday person to read the gift cards aloud in front of the class, which they enjoyed. Additional games of the same type would work: Dixit, Apples to Apples, or Apples to Apples Junior Grade: A+ (All four classes loved it and wanted my copy to keep in their classroom. Adults probably will not enjoy this game as much as the kids.)

With an overhead projector, 20 Express cubes can be easily seen by an entire class. Image: Cathe Post

20 Express: This is a math and number-line game disguised as a guessing and party game. Classroom Rule Adjustments: None needed to be made. Grade: C- (One of the four classes tolerated this game. Since they had been working on their number line during the year, it felt like I was teaching them instead of playing a game. Of course the teachers LOVED this game.)

Using all three sets of Story Cubes in a class means there are enough for 27 people to play. Image: Cathe Post

Rory’s Story Cubes: These cubes have been written about extensively by GeekMom Jenny. Basically, these dice have little pictures on them. When you roll the dice, you can make up stories using the pictures as prompts. Classroom Rule Adjustments: If you only have one set of cubes, you can split the kids into groups and have each group take turns rolling a die and come up with a story in their little group. If you have enough cubes to give one to every student in the class, the kids have time to come up with possibilities of what their cube’s function could be in a large story. Additional games of the same type would work: Rory’s Voyages Cubes and Rory’s Actions Cubes Grade: A- (The kids liked this game, however, the story often turned into who ever the “character” was picking up a bunch of items or finding them, and then blowing up or dying.) Honorable Mention: Bane! (which isn’t on Kickstarter yet, but would be a great start-of-year game to play) The social game is basically Rock, Paper, Scissors played with cards instead of hands. Look for the Kickstarter hopefully in November.

The Story of How the Creeper Backpack Joined Our Family

One day, while taking a trip through the woods, I heard a hissing sound. (All images by: Post Family)
I stopped and listened. “What could that be?” I pondered.
When I turned around, I saw a little green creature staring at me.
“Hiss?” it asked.
As I looked at the little creature I wondered what all he could do. He seemed like such a talented little guy!


My daydreaming was cut short when a black creature I hadn’t seen at first made eye contact with me and started hitting me.
“Ouch!” I said, and quickly grabbed my new green friend and hurried home.
Once I got home, I realized that my new green friend wasn’t alive, but was in fact, a backpack named Creeper. “Silly me,” I said as I tried to figure out what uses the little guy could have.
The backpack seemed to be sturdy. It would take a spontaneous combustion to damage the bag.
The seams are sturdy and reinforced with additional fabric over the top.
Creeper is also very well padded. The back has multiple layers of padding (I’m guessing around a half inch), and the layer in between the back and middle portions is padded, too. Plus, the “feet” add some cushion on the bottom (at first I thought all of those animals in the forest were feeding him too much, but no).
As it turns out, all of that padding does a pretty darn good job of protecting school books. Also, with more schools assigning tablet devices to students, this backpack does a great job of protecting the devices from breaking quite so easily if the bag is dropped instead of being set down. Though my 17″ laptop didn’t fit in the bag, a 10″ device and a 7″ device both fit as seen in the image.
It has three zipper compartments.
Foam Feet
The middle one holds a covered foam-ish block that holds the form of the Creeper’s feet.
Full backpack
The bag holds a lot. As you can see, several games could fit in the backpack. I was able to fit: Get Bit, Dixit Jinx, Happy Birthday, 2 Story Cubes sets, 2 Munchkin sets, Zombie Dice, Family Flux, and my favorite Geek Mom and Geek Dad project books all in this bag. There was still room for more!
The kids were going to fight over him.
But eventually, my son ended up earning his companionship.
If you want to adopt a Creeper backpack for the coming school year, visit ThinkGeek.

(Adoption cost through ThinkGeek is $39.99)

GeekMom received a review sample for the purpose of this review.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S: I’m No Longer a Kindle Fire User

See how GeekMom Cathé, dedicated Kindle user, liked the new Samsung Galaxy S tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Image used with permission.

When it comes to tablets, my family has always gone with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. We have Android phones, but we use them for GPS, listening to music, sending texts, and taking something called a phone call on occasion. We don’t untilize our phones as tiny tablets because they are, well, tiny.

So, when given the opportunity to try the new Samsung Tab S for a few weeks, I was excited to see what it could do that my laptop and Kindle Fire couldn’t. After all, GeekMom Patricia shared her experiences with the Galaxy Note 8, so I had high hopes for this device.

We were in a cave where the only light was coming in through the water. No editing was done to this photo. You can see the fish and the kids clearly. Image: Cathe Post

Camera: The camera ended up being a surprising feature. I am constantly taking pictures with my phone to post on my blog. But with that routine, I take pictures, go home, download the photos on to my main computer, and import them into WordPress. The camera on the Samsung is actually nicer than my Droid camera. Since the Samsung has a larger screen than the phone (and is faster), I am able to do everything on one device. The action of taking pictures on a device larger than a phone was foreign to me since our Kindle is first gen (with no camera). The photos, at first glance, we’re blurred and grainy. Then, I started looking at the situations I was shooting in: dark, back-lit, and overcast conditions. Considering this, the zoo shot seen here is pretty darn good. The only light is the dreary overcast sun coming in through the water. You can still tell who the people are and you can see the fish. Also, after talking with a couple of iPad users, I am super happy with the ease of taking a simple picture. On iPads, the camera lens is located in the corner of the device where a finger would natural rest so a picture can be taken. The Samsung placement of the camera (in the center of a long side of the device) made it so I didn’t even have to think about how I was holding the device. Also, on newer Kindle models, there is only a front facing camera, so you have to guess if your subject is in frame unless you are shooting a selfie. The Samsung has both an 8 megapixel back facing camera and a 2.1 megapixel front facing camera.

Apps: Only having had experience with first generation Kindles, being on a different Android device was refreshing. I could access the Kindle apps I had previously purchased plus have access to the entire Google Play store, which offered so many more options than Amazon. Storage has been upgraded from the Galaxy Tab Pro model. Where you could add 64GB to the existing 16 in the Pro model, the Galaxy Tab S starts with 16 or 32GB, and an additional 128 can be added.

Keyboard: The integrated keyboard with the Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS responds like a normal keyed keyboard. The keyboard responds to commands whether you type like you are on your phone or if you treat it like a standard keyboard. This means you can either hold a key for the other options to come up in a drop down menu, or you can hold the shift key for standard keyboard options.


Display: 10.5” (267.2mm) 2560×1600(WQXGA) Super AMOLED

  •  LTE : 800/900/1800/2600+850/2100
  •  3G : HSPA+42.2 850/900/1900/2100
  • 2G : GSM/EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

Memory: 3GB RAM, 16/32GB Memory, MicroSD (up to 128GB)
Camera: Flash 8M w/ Flash LED + 2.1M
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, MIMO WiFi Direct, BT4.0
GPS: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou (Not supported in USA, Canada)
Dimension, Weight:

  • Wi-Fi Model : 247.3 x 177.3 x 6.6mm , 465g
  • LTE Model : 247.3 x 177.3 x 6.6mm , 467g

Battery Capacity: 7,900mAh
OS / Upgrade: Android 4.4 (Kit Kat)
Other Services & Applications:

  • SideSync 3.0
  • Paper Garden
  • Multi-user mode
  • Kids Mode
  • WebEX
  • Remote PC
  • Hancom Office
  • PC Applications
  • Samsung Kies
  • UI / Web Browser
  • Samsung UI / Android
  • Chrome Browser

Audio: MP3, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis, FLAC
Video: H.263, H.264(AVC), MPEG4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark, MP43, WMV7, WMV8, VP8
Recording : FHD (1920 x 1080) @30fps
Playback : WQHD (2560 x 1440) @30fps
Connectors: USB 2.0, 3.5mm Ear jack

Battery Life: I turned the brightness up to full and played the Avengers movie on Netflix. The battery was at 93% when the movie started. At the end of the movie, the battery was at 73%. Keeping the brightness up all of the way does drain the battery faster, but it still has a decent battery life.

Kids Mode (and other on board services): The device comes with a Kids Mode to which you can add videos, pictures, and apps. I didn’t have an opportunity to fully test this, but in general poking around, it seemed easy to use but may be a little time consuming to fully personalize.

Other services are included on the device. Most of them were not something I had any reason to use, so I didn’t get into them.

A comparison between the Galaxy Tab S (left) and the Galaxy Tab Pro (right), Tab S has a slightly larger screen. Both devices are at full brightness so you can see the difference an Amoled display makes. Image: Cathe Post

Amoled Display: The full brightness level of the display is almost blinding when reading, but is very useful when dealing with photographs. It is noticeably brighter than the previous model of Samsung. The screen itself is also slightly larger than the previous model measuring at 10.5 inches instead of 10.1.

How much more did I like the Samsung than the Kindle Fire? So much so that I purchased the Galaxy Pro (a model that came out earlier this year). The $500 price tag on the new Tab S was a little steep for me to swallow when the differences between it and the previous model were a brighter screen, more storage, a different personal magazine program, a .4 inch larger screen, and Kids Mode. I paid $100 less for the Galaxy Pro that came out earlier this year.

That doesn’t mean the Amoled screen isn’t worth it. My mom was so impressed by the screen she purchased the new Samsung Galaxy S. She wanted to have the option of having a brighter screen if the situation called for it. She also was a first generation Kindle Fire owner. So, the Samsung was a huge advancement.

Overall, who am I kidding? I’m sorry we ever bought a Kindle. We’ll look at Samsungs first when buying future tablets. For me, having the ability to play a game, listen to music, do a blog post from start to finish on one device (pictures and all), or write a simple Word document all on a device that fits easily in my purse is one of the most useful investments I have made in a long time.

A case is also a must for a device like this. If you are looking for an actual keyboard, I recommend the $30 Moko Case. It has a detachable Bluetooth keyboard so you can have a keyboard, or leave it behind. It is also low fuss when trying to take pictures. If you just need a case to help protect the device, the IVSO Case is an affordable way to go. For $10 it will protect against scratches, auto wake/sleep when opening or closing the cover, and if you use your device as a camera, you won’t have to fight with the back cover being in the way of the viewfinder.

If you are in the market for a new tablet I highly recommend the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S. It is available in most electronics retailers including Amazon for $499(ish).

GeekMom was loaned a review copy for the purposes of this review.

Geeky Women Do Talk About Sex (NSFW)

Erika Moen and Dr. Lindsey Doe have unique and geeky approaches to talking about sex.
Erika Moen and Dr. Lindsey Doe have unique and geeky approaches to talking about sex. Collage: Cathe Post, images from and YouTube.

Several years ago, I received a video collection for Christmas. I learned two things from writing a review for that video series:

First, it seems women aren’t supposed to talk about sex, enjoy sex, or learn how to improve enjoyable sexual experiences.

Second, there was a serious lack of women openly talking about sex.

Recently, I started finding women who aren’t afraid to talk about sex and educate the public—adults and children—however they can. It was so exciting to see women not only talking about basic sex education topics, but reviewing items as well, that I had to share.

Erika Moen grabbed my husband’s and my attention when she was a contestant on Penny Arcade’s Strip Search. We looked her up when we connected that she is local, and was the artist for a book our kids have: Pip! The Baby Monster and How He Was Made At the Museum of Glass (after finding her other comics, we kind of think Pip is phallic shaped for a reason). Erika now has a web comic devoted to reviewing adult toys called Oh Joy, Sex Toy. The first year of comic reviews can soon be found in book form thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, or you can read up on her website.

Erika’s way of sharing her thoughts on different toys (though very much for adults) is wonderfully geeky, and her reviews are so thorough they are educational as well as entertaining. If you don’t see a toy she has reviewed that shows your geeky personality, they can be found. Toys come in any theme including: Hello Kitty, Dr. Who, cute, or just plain techy.

Another geeky woman not afraid to talk about sex is Lindsey Doe. If you are looking for a video instead of a book, she has a YouTube series called Sexplanations.

If you are looking to teach your kids about the birds-and-the-bees, It’s Not the Stork! is a wonderfully illustrated book that talks about a little bit of everything. If you are looking for a different book, GeekMom has a list of recommendations for you. We hope you will check out some books on the list so as our kids grow up, more women are willing to talk about sex.