The Force Awakens…A New Set of ‘Star Wars’ Snowflakes

Graphic designer Anthony Herrera has been creating snowflake patterns for Star Wars fans since 2011, delivering a fresh batch of designs each year.

For his 2015 set, Herrera celebrates the release of the seventh film in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens, with seven new character designs featuring Rey, BB-8, Finn, First Order Stormtrooper, Kylo Ren, Kylo Ren Lightsaber, and Poe Dameron.

This latest bunch brings the total to 57 different Star Wars patterns from which crafty fanfolk can get cramped fingers, crossed eyes, and a big smile making.

Another recent addition is Herrera’s Guardians of the Galaxy snowflake patterns set, with all five members of the team, as well as Baby Groot and Ronan. These join his already popular set based on the animated Disney hit, Frozen. Continue reading The Force Awakens…A New Set of ‘Star Wars’ Snowflakes

Comikaze Expo Panel: Pop Culture and Parenting 2015

Comikaze Expo took place over Halloween weekend. Partnering with comic legend Stan Lee himself and Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Comikaze is the only pop-culture convention owned and operated by true pop-culture icons.

After spending time researching both local and national conventions in the United States, Regina Carpinelli, the co-founder and CCO of Comikaze Entertainment Inc., and the rest of the Comikaze team have crafted an event that will thrill and excite even the most casual comic fan.

It is the fourth year that we attending as a family. This is also the second year of being a part of the Pop Culture and Parenting panel hosted by the Geekling and Parental Units. Kendra Moras, who submitted and championed our group took on the nuts and bolts of creating this year’s experience and led with enthusiasm and charm. I, too, had the pleasure of being involved with the behind the scenes selections of the parenting panel. Helping chose the members and questions. Gathering giveaways and even recruiting my husband, Mark Cronan, to step in as the moderator. Continue reading Comikaze Expo Panel: Pop Culture and Parenting 2015

‘Star Wars’ Lessons Part 2: ‘Kanan: The Last Padawan’

All I need to know in life I learned from Star Wars.

Well, okay, not everything, but a lot of stuff, most of which I didn’t consciously realize had penetrated my cortex until the hubs and I launched Operation: Engeekify Spawn

Now at the ages of nearly six and three, they’re experiencing a great many things for the first time, some geeky, some just life-related. Many of them good, some of them less positive, and all parts of the human experience: friendship, independence, moral ambiguity, conscious motivation, exclusion, uncertainty, and even death. Hubs’ grandmother, with whom the boy was very close, passed a couple years ago. And the son really did love (absolutely no sarcasm intended) his first fish, George Bluefin.

I wish I could protect both of them from the difficult bits, but I can’t. That breaks my heart but it doesn’t change the reality of the thing and, reaching the ripe old age of thirty-seven, I can see how those bits, both the positive and painful (you’ll note I’m not using the terms negative or bad, though it certainly does feel that way sometimes) shaped me. Though it took thirty-six of those thirty-seven years, I’m generally pretty happy with who I am.

I’d like that to happen for both of my children a little earlier in their lifespan. But these are huge, complicated topics and are difficult for many adults to verbalize to themselves and one another.

How do I explain them to beings who have, in the grand scheme, barely been evicted from the womb?

Star Wars helps.

Continue reading ‘Star Wars’ Lessons Part 2: ‘Kanan: The Last Padawan’

The Hour of Code Awakens: Build Your Own Game With Star Wars

Remember in my PAX Review how I mentioned that Disney Infinity was going to be even bigger—especially with anything Star Wars related? Well, this is it.

Disney is teaming up with for this year’s Hour of Code and it is going to be big: Coding. Gaming. And, best of all, sharing!!

Continue reading The Hour of Code Awakens: Build Your Own Game With Star Wars

PAX Australia 2015 (Part 2): Indie Video Games Steal the Show

PAX – where Gamers go to Loot.

Walk the exhibition hall and the first thing thrown at you is every big name in the video game industry, and more. The hype is about new and upcoming games; the atmosphere is about promoting the most unreal gaming experience.

In between all the glitz and glory are the indie developers, stealing all the tweets. Part 2 of my PAX review is aimed squarely at the video games: the games planning to conquer the world… and the ones I predict will succeed.

Continue reading PAX Australia 2015 (Part 2): Indie Video Games Steal the Show

Aren’t You a Little Colorful for a Stormtrooper? ‘Star Wars’ Watercolor for Kids

Have you ever looked at a stark stormtrooper and thought, “That guy could use a splash of color!” If so, this is your chance to put your own spin on a stormtrooper with this creative watercolor painting perfect for you and the kids.

Continue reading Aren’t You a Little Colorful for a Stormtrooper? ‘Star Wars’ Watercolor for Kids

GeekMom Secret Origins: Samantha Fisher’s Journey Started With The Doctor

I’ve been asked many times through the years how I became the big ole nerd that I am. It has been asked in many ways by many types of people and I choose to believe it is always asked out of jealousy of my awesomeness. I mean, how could anyone not want to be just like me, right? I usually laugh, make a joke, or will reply with my standard response of, “It just happened over time, there was no one thing or event.”

Over the last few days, as I prepared to join this wondrous team known as GeekMom, I’ve been actively thinking about this topic. No easy task for a busy gal with ADHD and a to-do list that would make a lesser person weep, but perhaps highly overdue. Why did I become a geek? Most people I know can attribute their geekiness to someone in their family who is also a geek. They picked up their love of this or their fascination with that by observing loved ones in their passionate undertakings. Alas, there is no one in my immediate family who has the same predilections as I.

How did this happen? I’m going to tell you my story. You tell me yours.  Continue reading GeekMom Secret Origins: Samantha Fisher’s Journey Started With The Doctor

How I Became A Cool Geek Mom

Like most supermoms, I wear many capes. I’m a drama teacher by day, an actress by night, as well as a geeky mom, hot wife, and writer.

I was born with an extra dose of confidence and have never been one to worry about what other people think of me. I handle rejection like a seasoned pro and because of this, I have always felt free to dress the way I want to and express my various fandoms out loud for other people to see.

For example, when I drop my kids off at school, I might wear some Hello Kitty shoes with bright pink pants, a Doctor Who belt, and a Harry Potter jacket. Or I may wear my R2-D2 dress or Cinderella costume to promote my drama classes. I am no stranger to a raised eyebrow or sly smiles from onlookers. All of this was “normal” for my two kids until my daughter, the oldest, turned 11. Continue reading How I Became A Cool Geek Mom

“The Force Is What Binds Us”: One Mom Uses the Greatest Power in the Galaxy to Connect With Her Son

(This is a guest post from Peggy Gilpatric, the mother of the boy who wrote to George Lucas asking him to change the rule that Jedis can’t marry. GeekDad Randy Slavey wrote up that story last spring.)

We stood behind the white line as they led him to the training area, his Jedi robe dragging on the floor behind him. I had my reservations about him attending Jedi Training Academy, even if it was just the one a Disneyland instead of in a galaxy far, far away. I thought that it might be too much for Colin. He had trouble following directions. He lacked the fine motor skills to engage his lightsaber. I knew he would get frustrated. Maybe it was the Star Wars fan in me, but autism or no autism, I believed that he could do this.

So, like a good Jedi mom, I stayed behind the white line with the other parents. A padawan helper noticed my youngling’s distress and came to his aide. He remained by his side until it was time to battle Vader. My son stood there, tiny and wide-eyed, and made wild swings at the Dark Lord. After it was over, another Star Wars fan was born. Colin was a Jedi and no one could tell him any different.

Photo: Peggy Gilpatric
Photo: Peggy Gilpatric

To a Star Wars fan, there is nothing more exciting than introducing your kid to the trilogy. This was made much more exciting by the fact that we had been living in Elmo’s World for about three years and it was making Hoth look like a great vacation destination. If you MUST watch something a million times then, for the love of Kenobi’s ghost, let it be Empire. Continue reading “The Force Is What Binds Us”: One Mom Uses the Greatest Power in the Galaxy to Connect With Her Son

The Normalization of Domestic Violence in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’

I’m working on a series for GeekMom about the positive emotional/social concepts the new spate of Star Wars comics has helped me introduce to my younglings. I’m excited about both the sharing of the comics and the writing of said bloggy bits.

I’m interrupting myself, however, because the evil Spock mirror lessons (yup, mixing my fandoms) are important as well, perhaps even more so. Because the other night, I was finishing up the last season of The Clone Wars and was presented with a chilling reality (figurative reality): Even a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, domestic violence is present and accepted by the majority.

Continue reading The Normalization of Domestic Violence in ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’

“Mommy, Where’s Leia?”

My three-year-old daughter has recently discovered a love of princesses. The pink, frilly, sparkly kind. This particular addition to her fandoms has been a little difficult for me as princesses, at least of the traditional variety, are not so much my thing.

That said, after a little creative maneuvering, Z and I have discovered our mutual love for one princess in particular. One who is addressed as “Your Highness” but has little use for talking animals or salvation by male. One who sometimes wears flowy dresses and always has fantastic hair, but also possesses deadly aim with a blaster.

Little did I know the world would make every attempt to thwart our two person Princess Leia Organa Admiration Society.

Now, apparently, if she were a dog, we could go all out.

Yep. I said, “If she were a dog.”

Allow me to explain…

Continue reading “Mommy, Where’s Leia?”

Dakster Dances Anxiety Away With the “Macarena”

Anxiety and depression have prevented me from doing some normal day to day things for most of my life. Over the past five years, I’ve learned something very valuable; put me in armor or a costume and, despite my mental battles, you can see my natural personality shine.

This year, I started going back to school for my degree in Media Communications. The first week of my new class I was tasked with creating a video that showcased my goals and who I am. I had to upload it to YouTube as “unlisted” so my instructor and classmates could see it.

<Insert panic attack here>

I freaked when I read the assignment. I emailed my instructor, sent him messages on the classroom board, called his campus office, all because I was having a panic attack over making a simple 4-minute video with me as the main subject. Continue reading Dakster Dances Anxiety Away With the “Macarena”

Star Wars Reads Day Awakens October 10, 2015

October not only brings Halloween fun every year, but the return of Star Wars Reads Day! As Episode VII gets closer and closer, this year’s event promises to be more exciting than ever. With a ton of new Star Wars books to choose from, events nationwide, and spoiler-free activity sheets for The Force Awakens, Star Wars Read Day 2015 will be a blast!

Continue reading Star Wars Reads Day Awakens October 10, 2015

3 ‘Star Wars’ Handprint Paintings for Younglings

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

When my daughter was a toddler, one of our favorite activities was making handprint paintings together. She loved feeling the cool paint as the brush tickled her fingers, and I loved having a small keepsake of her little hands. Add a Star Wars theme to the handprints, and you’ve got a perfect painting to hang on the fridge or paste in a geek mom’s scrapbook.

Here are three Star Wars handprint painting ideas crafted with small hands to make happy memories.

What You Need

  • Washable paint (Crayola)
  • Paint brush
  • Black marker
  • Paper

Princess Leia Continue reading 3 ‘Star Wars’ Handprint Paintings for Younglings

Target Stores Strike Back by Launching #SHARETHEFORCE


Kohl’s Be yourself ad 2015. Photo: Kohl’s online 2015 back to school ad

A few weeks ago a war was ignited in the geekverse that centered around Kohl’s and Target stores’ gender portrayals in back to school commercials. While Kohl’s commercials titled “Be Yourself” featured girls running with Star Wars backpacks and dressing in Iron Man armor, the Target commercial airing at the same time did not. Going back a few months with Target, there was also the dust-up reported by Legion of Leia regarding a Star Wars shirt in the Men’s sections that had the label “most likely to be rescued” under the mock high school picture of Princess Leia.  

Even though Target made huge headlines for removing gender labels in their toy aisles, the attacks continued. They seemed to be under heavy fire from Imperial Star Destroyers and Rebels alike.

Just as the two suns rise on Tatooine, a new day dawned in the marketing world. With it came the news about a tie-in to the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie.

Target #Sharetheforce banner. Photo: Joe Schneider/ Rogers & Cowan

Target launched its #SharetheForce Star Wars digital memory site. Being a huge lifelong fan I was probably an easy sell. I went to the site and, you know what? It is pretty amazing. Following the prompts, I was able to select who my favorite character is and then add my own personal photo memory to the galaxy of others.

The official press release brought to us by Bothan spies had this to say:

#Sharetheforce the first digital collection of Star Wars memories. The collection, which will include celebrity fans Minka Kelly, Chris Hardwick, and Bobby Moynihan, will go on to be archived at Lucasfilm–becoming an everlasting example of how we’re all connected by the Force. Until now, no one has attempted to collect and capture memories from the 147 million Star Wars fans throughout the world, and Target is introducing a unique program to unite these generations of fans in a way that only Target can do.

The “Share the Force” website offers an interactive and sharable way for fans to find their place in the Star Wars galaxy by including their personal memories, resulting in a collection that will span generations, cultures, and continents. Starting today, fans can submit their memories (either photo or story) at to transform their memory with a Star Wars hologram treatment and receive their own galactic coordinates pointing to their permanent place in the galaxy.


Yes, it is made-for-marketing merchandise, but it is also a cool shared experience for younglings to Jedi master alike. It is looking as if Target is gaining back some geek cred and using its Force for good.

Go upload your fun memories, old and new, and become part of the Star Wars galaxy. Those pictures taken on your cell phone cameras will one day be looked at with as much sentimentality as all our sepia-stained Polaroids. The Force will be shared and will be with us, always.

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My little Ella meeting another Hera Cosplayer at Star Wars Celebration. Photo Melody Mooney

Dear Ashley Eckstein, Thank you. Again.

Her Universe Response \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Her Universe Response \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

This week, I had one of those moments that as a writer I cherish. I sat down, started writing from the heart and didn’t stop until my heart said it was time. The end result was a letter to Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars Rebels, thanking her for her help in making me realize that things are not always as bad as anxiety makes it out to seem.

I shared the post on Twitter and Facebook hoping someone would see it and it help them learn the same lesson that I was fortunate to learn.

The day after the post went live, I was sitting at my desk at work and my phone dinged. “Her Universe favorited your tweet.” My heart skipped a beat. She had seen it.


“Her Universe retweeted your tweet.”

Heart started beating a little faster. Continue reading Dear Ashley Eckstein, Thank you. Again.

Dear Ashley Eckstein, You Saved Me

Star Wars Celebration VI \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Star Wars Celebration VI before I “embarrassed” myself. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Dear Ashley:

I’m not sure if you remember me; because of my anxiety, I don’t always feel like someone worth remembering. We’ve met a few times. The first time was when I embarrassed myself in front of you at Star Wars Celebration VI and a year or so later when you saved me.

A few years ago at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, I had the privilege of having a few minutes of your time at the cupcake party you hosted with Food Network.

During those short minutes talking with you, I felt I had embarrassed myself beyond forgiveness. After I left the party that day, my mind obsessed over those two minutes and that pain continued for months afterward.

You see, I have anxiety and depression and that’s how my brain works. I perceive myself as screwing up even slightly and my mind makes my feel like a complete waste of space and time until the next screw up I make.

A year or so went by and we met again. This time at the Orlando Science Center while you were helping to promote the “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit.

Ashley Eckstein on stage at the Star Wars Exhibit \ Image courtesy of Orlando Science Center
Ashley Eckstein on stage at the Star Wars Exhibit \ Image courtesy of Orlando Science Center, used with permission

I almost didn’t go up to you that day because of what happened at Celebration VI, but my friend Fletch helped me brave the stage and I took the opportunity to apologize to you for my embarrassing moment at Celebration VI.

You were a little surprised and waved it off like it was nothing, assuring me that I had nothing to be embarrassed about and you had forgotten all about it. From your side of the table, I’m sure it was just another fan interaction. For me, it was much more.

That moment that saved me.

It had never occurred to me that the interaction with you that I had been obsessing over for months and even so embarrassed about that I avoided you at Star Wars Weekends would be something that you thought nothing of. On top of that, I never imagined that you would forget all about it.

The other night while meditating, this moment came back to me and how you had made me feel so much better about what my mind perceived as a horrific moment. Then I started to remember when I met James Arnold Taylor at SWW in 2013 and an interaction with Michael Rooker at MegaCon this year. Could it be that those scenarios were the same and my mind was playing tricks on me to make me feel something that wasn’t real?

My guess is yes.

As I’m writing this post, I have tears starting to form because I finally feel free of the pain my mind has been inflicting on me over these brief interactions with people I’ve only met a few times. I credit this new found freedom to you and your kindness that day at the science center.

I have a lot of embarrassing moments to re-think about now and how those brief interactions may have either been forgotten or never seen as embarrassing to begin with. It won’t be easy to go through this exercise, but it’s necessary if I want to be free of the lies the anxiety has been telling me and preventing me from enjoying what should be happy memories.

I feel stupid for it taking this long for the light bulb to come on, but now that it has, I plan in making sure it doesn’t dim out again. The next time I have an embarrassing moment, I’ll think back to the science center that day and remind myself that my mind is a trickster and it’s more than likely not really as bad as my mind is making it out to be.


A grateful fan.

Between the Bookends – August 2015

Between the Bookends © Sophie Brown
Between the Bookends © Sophie Brown

This month the GeekMoms dove deeply into the Chris Carter-verse with books featuring both The X-Files and Millennium, fallen in love again with Star Wars through a new series of Little Golden Books, enjoyed home crafts, and finally found something to draw them away from a beloved series. Read on to find out more about what we’ve been reading this month.

Continue reading Between the Bookends – August 2015

Cover Girl Announces Star Wars Edition Makeup

Image credit: CoverGirl via Allure Magazine

Last month, Lucasfilm announced an assortment of product partnerships for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including Verizon, Duracell, General Mills, Subway, HP, and FCA US. The seventh was CoverGirl cosmetics, and today we finally got to see what that will look like.

On the up side, Star Wars! Possibly on the down side, depending on your makeup preferences, the colors are very trendy and not necessarily daily wear, featuring shimmery purples, a gold, and a silver shade. But on the other hand, while a luminous lilac might not be office wear for your day job, they could be perfect for your next cosplay. The nail colors are a bit more wearable. (And I’m amused that one is named Nemesis, which seems more like a Star Trek color name.) There appear to be two mascaras, a Light Side and a Dark Side that are repackages of their Super Sizer mascara. They come in 10 different tubes, each with a Star Wars quote on it, from “Do. Or do not. There is no try,” to “You will meet your destiny.”

See all the pictures in the preview at Allure magazine and get it in stores September 4.

DragonConTV Preview: “Sold It Off,” A Star Wars/Taylor Swift Tribute

Screenshot from 2015-08-12 16-26-48
Image credit: “Sold It Off” screenshot, DragonConTV

Each year before Dragon Con, we bring you a preview of what’s to come on DragonConTV. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, DCTV streams to the con’s host hotel rooms and is shown in between panels. It features a combination of Adult Swim style bumpers, music videos, and assorted parodies.

This year there’s a new Star Wars movie on its way, and that’s prime DCTV fodder. The result is their musical tribute to Taylor Swift and Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens: “Sold It Off,” a parody of “Shake It Off.” You can watch it now (before Dragon Con!) below, and check out some of the older fun on their YouTube channel.

Starring Rachel Pendergrass as Princess Swift and Rory Gordon as George Lucas.
Written by Stephen Granade and Brian Richardson.
Directed by Brian Richardson and Tommy Byrd.
Video Editing and Music Production by Tommy Byrd.

13 Awesomely Geeky Aprons

My Little Pony via MTCoffinz on Etsy.
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash apron via MTCoffinz on Etsy.

I love to cook, which means I have very few shirts that aren’t stained with sauces, oils, and other ingredients from my kitchen experiments.

A few years back, I went into this super-cute general store in New England and found a handmade apron for a mere $6. It was a no-brainer of a purchase, as well as one that has saved me from having to throw out half of my wardrobe.

Aprons are an essential kitchen tool, which come in a variety of patterns. While the $6 special is hard to come by, if you’re willing to pay a few extra bucks, there are a slew of them out there that allow you to extend your geeky fashion to the kitchen—or even the convention hall. Want to see what’s cooking in the world of geeky aprons? Check out the slideshow for 13 of my current favorites.

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Shopping List:

Nerds Hiding in Plain Sight in Skagway, Alaska

Image: Nicole Wakelin
Image: Nicole Wakelin

We have just returned from a wonderful Alaskan cruise. This was my first cruise and my first trip to Alaska so it was a very big deal. Months of planning finally got us there and we had a wonderful time aboard the Disney Wonder. There were three stops along the Alaskan coast starting at the northernmost point of our trip in Skagway.

You expect to see certain things while you’re in Alaska. The list of expectations includes bears, bald eagles, and maybe some salmon swimming upstream. We saw all these things and they were amazing. What we did not expect was running into two wonderfully nerdy guys. They were hiding in plain sight at the Alaska Excursions Grizzly Falls Ziplining Adventure in Skagway.

We signed up for this excursion before the cruise because we love ziplining. We’ve gone several times closer to home and thought it would be fun to fly through the trees up north. You simply cannot beat the scenery up there and it was a beautiful view. We crossed suspension bridges, zipped over rivers, and had a grand time.

What made it one of the highlights of the trip were the two guides, John M. and Sam, who led this adventure. Once we were all suited up, they took us out onto the course and gave us the safety rundown. It wasn’t until I had zipped a few lines that I noticed John’s green helmet was painted to look like Boba Fett.

I asked him about this and he said he was a huge Star Wars fan and had even attended Star Wars Celebration several times. Sam joined in, tipping his head to show the Magic symbols covering his helmet. Nerds of the North!

The rest of our ziplining excursion was a fantastic mix of information about the landscape and talk about our favorite books. They were both voracious readers and we all ended up making lists of new books that we each wanted to read. We even had a chat about New York Comic-Con and San Diego Comic-Con and which was the better of the two. My vote goes to New York.

It was a wonderful experience. All the guides—even the non-nerds who were guiding some of our friends—were fantastic and made the experience something to remember. Should you find yourself in Skagway, Alaska doing some ziplining, look for the guys with the nerdy helmet decor. They’ll make the day one to remember.

Scholastic Books Saves the Summer

All Images from
All Images from

This summer, I’m determined to keep my son from playing Minecraft, Roblox, Blocksworld, Eden, Terraria, Splatoon, Disney Infinity, and any other game he has an obsession with 24/7.

Instead, I plan on helping him keep this new found love of reading by stocking his bookshelf with interesting things to explore. It’s taken a long time for us to get him into the world of the written word and I don’t intend for him to slip out of it over the summer.

I reached out to Scholastic Books for help and not only did they send me a few recommendations, but they nailed it by sending books that matched my son’s interests. In fact, he couldn’t grab one of the books fast enough.

The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp
“This is me. I is Pig! If you is reading this, you can read Pig, and you is very clever. Unless you is an Evil Chicken, in which case, don’t read this!”

Those are the first words in Pig’s diary and it only gets funnier from there. To get my son interested, I only had to tell him about Pig farting on the evil chickens in revenge. After that, I never had to argue with him to read it again.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12, but I’m positive that younger children will enjoy having this read to them.

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce
If Mr. Dolittle had a child with J.K Rowling, this book would be the end result.

Pip Bartlett is a young girl who can talk to animals. Not just any animals. Magical animals. Her gift gets her in trouble and in response her parents ship her off to her Aunt’s house for the summer. This was hardly punishment because Pip’s Aunt Emma owns the Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures and she was set for an entire summer of talking (without anyone else hearing of course) to the various creatures at the clinic. It’s a summer full of new experiences, new friends, and a disaster that almost destroys a town.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Any fan of Harry Potter will want to take a look into this new series. 

As an adult, the similarities between this title and Harry Potter are hard to ignore. A child, on the other hand, might take comfort in the fact that the formula of Harry Potter and The Iron Trial are the same. The familiarity of the story could be what keeps them reading.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12.

Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey
A superhero who runs around in his underwear and has hilariously heroic adventures? Sign my son up. 

When my son saw that Captain Underpants was included in the books Scholastic sent me, he screamed with joy. Apparently he had been introduced to it at school and he was hooked. I have no idea what the appeal is, but if it’s getting my son to read, I’m cool with it. In my son’s words, “It’s awesome. It’s about a principle becoming Captain Underpants and it’s got him taking down bad guys in it. Two kids come along to help him.”

My son was also quick to point out that he likes the full-color versions best.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12, but I could see younger children enjoy looking at the pages.

Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan and Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffery Brown 
Star Wars + middle school = a year of catastrophe for the force and its students.

This is a comic book style series that has a journal like feeling to it. The pages are not in color, which I think is a hinder to my son, but it’s still a cute series that I plan on encouraging him to at least try. The main hero is Roan, a young Jedi padawan who is eager to become a pilot. He attends the Jedi Academy with various other students from other walks of life. There are some familiar faces in the series including Master Yoda and some other familiar faces with different names (T-3P0 and RW-22).

Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan is the second book in the series and The Phantom Bully is the third and final book in the series, covering Roan’s last and hardest year at Jedi Academy.

Recommended for ages 8 to 12

If you are looking for books for your incoming fifth grader, you can rest easy in picking up any of the titles above. My son loves them and that’s enough for me to scream from the mountain tops for everyone to READ THESE BOOKS!!

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of these titles.

Recess Monkey’s Ode to That Ol’ Smoothie Lando Calrissian

Photo by Adam Cohn
Recess Monkey, Photo by Adam Cohn

The kindie rock trio Recess Monkey has been one of our family’s favorite bands for years. This week the Seattle-based band released Hot Air, another fantastic, high energy album that gets kids dancing and laughing.

Hot Air features rockin’ songs with a bit of a Beatles feel, especially “Lighter Than Air,” which pleasantly reminds me of “A Day in the Life.” “Penguinese” has been on repeat on my car stereo by my six-year-old’s request, but there’s a track that I often turn to, even when she’s not in the car: a hilarious, catchy ode to Lando Calrissian.

“Oh, Lando” is a song about that lovable scoundrel from Han Solo’s point of view. Chock full of Star Wars references (and one of my new favorite renditions of “The Imperial March”), “Oh, Lando” is a geeky mom’s dream come true for kids’ music.

Listen to a sample below, and be sure to pick up Hot Air, out now from Recess Monkey!

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015

Image: Dakster Sullivan
Image: Dakster Sullivan

Welcome to the Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015! We have a great line-up of suggestions from all of us here at GeekMom. Whether your dad is into books, movies, clothes, or tech gear, we have something for everyone.

Books and Movies

Inside The SideShow Studio – $18.50
Inside The SideShow Studio gives you an insider’s look behind the doors of one of the best makers of collectibles out there. After flipping through the book myself, I’m a bit jealous of the offices and freedom the employees have in their workspace. Along the tour, readers get to see the offices of some of the influential and the creative minds behind their favorite collectibles.

Find Momo Coast to Coast \ Image Amazon
Find Momo Coast to Coast \ Image Amazon

Find Momo Coast to Coast – $10.49
Find Momo Coast to Coast is an adult version of Where’s Waldo but Waldo is a real dog and he’s hiding in real pictures his owner took of him on their road trips. It’s a fun and challenging book that will give dad a run for his money while looking at some great photography.

Ghost Hunters Season 9 on DVD Part 1 and Part 2– $24.99
Ghost Hunters is a fun show that my husband and I enjoy watching together. In fact, it’s the only paranormal show I can handle. Maybe it’s the geek in me that loves watching Steve and Tango set up the equipment. My husband enjoys watching them try to disprove before deciding if something is really paranormal or just normal. Jason and the team hit up well known haunts like Sowden House (The Black Dahlia Murder), Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum which features a guest appearance by Grant Wilson (co-founder of TAPS).

D-BOX Tickets for Jurassic World – Pricing varies, depending on theater
What could make your dad’s Jurassic World experience that much more enjoyable? If he could feel every stomp of that Stegosaurus, the Triceratops, and even the mighty T-Rex. The blockbuster action flick will be shown at several theaters that are equipped with D-BOX motion-enhanced seating, which can deliver vibrations that are in sync with the on-screen action. There are currently D-130 BOX-enhanced theaters in the U.S. and 350 locations nationwide.

The Royal Imperial Boxed Set: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy – $24.92
Short blurb: This beautifully illustrated retelling of George Lucas’ Star Wars in the style of William Shakespeare contains Verily, A New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; and The Jedi Doth Return. Han shooteth first? Forsooth! Also included is a full-color poster.

 Image Folio Society
Image Folio Society

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes Box Set (paperback)– $59.45
It’s possible dad’s got one or two of these, dog-eared and much-loved. A new set to share with the next generation of snowball-throwers and lovers of stuffed tigers everywhere may be just the ticket.

The Folio Society’s Dune by Frank Herbert (pre-order) – $125
This exquisite reprint of a beloved classic will arrive in the summer, Shai-halud willing. But knowing that it, like the waters of a distant homeworld, will someday come, will be a gift of its own. Illustrated by award-winning artist Sam Webber, the book is a standout of epic proportions. (GeekMom Fran swears this is a present for dad. She’s totally not stealing it the first chance she gets.)

Bags and Accessories

Humvee TacPacks – Transport Gear Pack – $49.99
Give dad the gift of an awesome backpack with the Humvee Gear TacPack. It has more pockets and straps than even he might not know what to do with.

X-Train 2 by OGIO – $80
This is the ultimate sports bag for dad (or mom). It has a separate compartment for shoes, clothes, and small items as well as a means of carrying around a workout mat.

Geeky Jerseys – Average price is $99 to $105, depending on design
These really nicely made hockey jerseys with geeky themes range from popular television and movie designs from Star Wars to Walking Dead, as well as some more lesser-known references like the “Roughnecks,” and “Zebes Hunters.” There is also an occasional baseball jersey design available as well.

Casual Vader Shirt \  Image: SuperHeroStuff
Casual Vader Shirt \ Image: SuperHeroStuff

The one big set-back is not all designs are in stock at all times. There are many very cool designs “on demand,” which means “wait and see until they come back in stock.” If only that TARDIS would come back in stock. Sports lovers should check back often to see what’s available, and don’t hesitate to get any available designs they like. They might be not be available for long.
Image: Geeky Jerseys

Casual Vader Shirt by – $21.99
I picked up this shirt for my husband at MegaCon this year and he loves it. It’s the perfect lazy day shirt for any dad.

Toys, Games and Geek Swag Hero Boxes – $49.00
Subscription boxes are all the rage right now, but most have a theme that changes from month to month. HeroBoxes work a bit different from that. You can choose to buy dad the specially themed box of the month or choose from a variety of character mystery boxes for him. And for $49.00 he is guaranteed to get at least $70 worth of goodies!

Star Wars Dagobah Shower Curtain – $24.99
When I put the Deagobah shower curtain by ThinkGeek up in our bathroom, my son declared that “Finally! This bathroom has some style!” And my husband wholeheartedly agrees with him. Now to add in some fake snakes and a Yoda statue to make it complete.

Cards Against Humanity Science Pack \ Image: Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity Science Pack \ Image: Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity Science Pack – $10 per pack.
The much-respected field of science is about to get a little more immature, as the hit Cards Against Humanity game’s latest expansion product to the popular party game. Each pack comes with 23 random white and 7 black cards on scientific theories. They also promise an appearance by Uranus. It does require the basic Cards Against Humanity set, so they won’t work on their own. The best thing about these, however, proceeds from each sale benefit the Cards Against Humanity and SMBC Science Ambassador Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship for women seeking undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Bondi Band Solid Moisture Wicking Headband, Black – $9.00
Keep dad comfortable while working out with the Bondi Band moisture wicking headband.

Customized Photo Story Book – Price: as low as $8.00 with coupon (google to the rescue!), $25.00 without
This is a typical gift idea. But you can do much more than just populate some photos and print. I made it a story about my favorite two guys, the things they have in common, and how much they love each other. A year later it’s still a favorite bedtime story in our house!

Nerf Mega BigShock Blaster – $7.99
Short blurb: The Mega BigShock blaster is a perfect “small gift” for Dad, perhaps from a younger child. Dad will love the small size, but the large darts featured here. Dad can play blasters in the yard with the kids, or take this one to work to hide in his desk, coffee table, or workbench for some fun in the off-hours.

Nerf FireVision Ignite light-up flying disc – $14.99
Does Dad enjoy playing Frisbee with the kids, the dog, or with friends? The FireVision Ignite is a battery-powered flying disc that lets his game go on for hours, right into the nighttime hours! The disc takes three “A76” batteries: not the most popular ones, but at least your first set of batteries will be included for you!

NERF Zombie Strike FlipFury \ Image: Amazon
NERF Zombie Strike FlipFury \ Image: Amazon

Nerf Zombie Strike FlipFury Blaster – $19.99
Nerf has outdone themselves with this double chamber Nerf gun that has an impressive two chambers for a combined total of 14 ammo. This is my favorite of all the NERF I’ve ever tested and my husband loves using this in battles against our son.

Blast-off Espresso Cups – $23.98
Never enough rocket fuel in his rocket fuel? Try these espresso cups out. In the Wilde Household, GeekMom Fran says they’re tried and true.

Super Soaker FlashFlood water gun – $19.99
The Super Soaker FlashFlood offers victims a double-whammy of water: the 23 oz. reservoir feeds into either a traditional 40+ foot water stream, or into the “flood” section which blasts your opponents with a “whole mess of water”, in the words of my 12-year old. Dad will enjoy this in the backyard with the kids…or maybe even with the neighbors?


Leef Magnet USB 3.0 Drive – $26.24 to $52.49
In the words of Master Yoda, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not.” That is the case with the Leef Magnet USB 3.0 drive. It’s small and slender in design but packs a quick fist full of power for dad to store up to 64GB of information on.

Vader 3D Light FX \ Image: 3D Light FX
Vader 3D Light FX \ Image: 3D Light FX

Star Wars 3D Deco Lights – $39.99
I’ve raved about the 3D Deco Lights in the past and now they have added Star Wars to their arsenal of decor options. 3D Deco Lights make a fun addition to any room in the house.

Refuel InVIctus – $99.95
Do you remember the time dad let you play on his phone and you drained the battery over Candy Crush? Yea. That’s what I thought. Help him keep his phone charged with the Reful InVIctus case. It has a built-in battery to recharge dad’s phone when you’re done playing with it.

SOUL Electronics: Run Free Pro – $129.99
Does dad need a pair of comfy and wireless running headphones? Pick him up a pair of the SOUL Electronics: Run Free Pro. The price may seem a bit steep for headphones, but they are comfy to wear and actually stay in your ears while running.

Griffin Technology: MOTO TC Rally – $32.99
Pick dad up a remote control car of his own and watch him go back to being a kid again. My husband agrees that this is the smoothest and fastest of the RC cars I’ve ever tested.

PEAR Sports: Mobile Training Intelligence System – $78.48
For the athletic dad, grab him the PEAR Sports: Mobile Training Intelligence System. With the free app, they can sync up the included heart rate monitor and watch their progress. The app also gives advice while he’s running. I’ll go ahead and tell you right off the back that the headphones that come with this system are not the greatest, so pick him up some skull candy ones while you’re out.

Boom Box Touch Speaker \ Image: ThumbsUpUK
Boom Box Touch Speaker \ Image: ThumbsUpUK

Boom Box Touch Speaker from – $38.39
This speaker is really cool in the fact that you don’t have to hook it up or sync it up with anything before using it. All you have to do is place your device on top of the speaker and it will automatically pick it up and play. I tested this speaker with my iPod (out of a case) and my iPhone 6 plus (in a case) and both worked fine.

Martian Red Notifier – $129.99
I’ve bragged about this watch before and I’ll do it again now. The Martian Red Notifier is the ideal smartwatch for someone who wants the convenience of notifications on their wrist, without all the bells and whistles. The glass on the watch is also super durable and so far has withstood me walking into dressers, walls, and other sharp corners (and not a scratch on it).

SmartThings Smart Home Starter Kit – $199
The promise of home automation has finally arrived! SmartThings will jump-start your adventure on the Internet of Things.

Fitbit Charge Activity Tracking Wristband – $124.99
Whether dad loves gaming a workout or the comfort of data-loging every move (and sleep too), the fitbit tracker is an excellent choice.

JBL Charge 2+ Splashproof Bluetooth Speaker by Harman – $149.99
JBL’s immensely popular Flip and Charge series of Bluetooth speakers has now been taken to the next level with their splashproof versions! Dad would love a JBL Charge 2+, which takes the Bluetooth speaker complete with device charging and speakerphone capability and adds the ability to take the speaker to the beach, poolside, or out in the rain with confidence. The manual even claims you can wash the speaker off under running water! With JBL’s “social mode” up to three different users can connect with one Charge 2+ to take turns streaming their favorite tunes. The rechargeable battery is capable of providing over 12 hours of music and speakerphone support, and bass fans will love to watch the “Bass Radiator” in action at the two ends of the soda-can-shaped speaker unit. The Charge 2+ is available in 8 colors…be sure to get Dad’s favorite!

The Grillbox \ Image: Grillbot
The Grillbox \ Image: Grillbot

Grillbot – $119
Dad may love grilling, but cleaning up the aftermath is a whole other story. Forget getting him one of those floor-cleaning robots. This gadget is willing to take a funky ride on that BBQ grill–and clean it! Just push one button and watch Grillbot go. It also has a CPU chip, an LCD alarm and timer, and cleaning brushes that can pop off and go right into the dishwasher.

Striker Light Mine – $19.99
If your dad is into working on his car, he could always use a little help–and we’re not talking about an extra set of hands. Available in two sizes, this light can easily fit into tight spaces and even attaches via a magnet. More importantly, it packs in a powerful LED light, so dear old dad can actually see what he’s doing under the hood.

BioLite Camp Stove – $125.95
Dad doesn’t need to be outdoorsy to appreciate this handy camping gadget. In fact, this thing would get even the biggest hermit to come out of his (or her) shell. It’s got some patent-pending thermoelectric technology, which means that the stove doesn’t need sticks or fuel. Once you get a nice fire going, the CampStove can convert that heat into usable electricity to power up phones, lights, and other gadgets, all while Dad is rustling up some vittles.

littleBits Smart Home Kit – $249.99
This little package will allow Dad’s inner-DIYer to turn that home into a smart home. It includes something called the cloudBit, which lets you “snap the internet to anything.” That anything can be everything, from the coffee maker to the curtains to the refrigerator. The kit comes with a total of 14 Bits, which also includes the MP3 player, the Threshold, the Number, the Temperature Sensor, and the IR transmitter. And just in case Dad needs a little inspiration, the package has 14 project ideas and 11 accessories.

The Modlet \ Image: ThinkEco
The Modlet \ Image: ThinkEco

ThinkEco modlet – $50
Whether it tackles the TV, the DVD player, or toys, most dads love remote controls. Imagine being able to add that same type of control to almost any electronic device? The modlet (or modern outlet) is a magical device that makes remote control over anything electronic possible. Just plug the modlet into an outlet and plug your device of choice into either receptacle. Once connected, you can monitor and cut power to those devices using the modlet’s iOS and Android apps. It can even track usage, savings, and your schedule, so it can “recommend” ways to cut back on energy waste. Other features include built-in surge protection, schedule templates for common applications, an override function, and the option to download energy use data for further analysis.

Spire – $149.95
Spire is a little device that clips onto your belt and monitors your breathing. When it senses stress or tension, it sends a signal reminding you to take a deep breath or do a short exercise to relax. Give this one to Dad to help him keep his blood pressure in check and stay focused throughout the day.

There’s No Better Time to Join the ‘Rebels’ Than “The Siege of Lothal”

© Disney / Lucasfilm
© Disney / Lucasfilm

Star Wars Rebels is kicking off its second season in a big way with the premiere of “The Siege of Lothal” on June 20. The 1-hour movie is the action-packed introduction to the new season, which returns later with new episodes in the fall.

It’s a pivotal moment for the crew of the Ghost. The Rebellion as we know it is still in its infancy, but is becoming a force strong enough to be noticed by the Empire. It’s time for Kanan, Hera, Ezra, and the others to decide what role they’re going to take next. Should they remain unnoticed and assist in their own small ways, or become part of a bigger mission? One particular figure of the Empire has already taken an interest in their efforts, however: Darth Vader.

If you have ever wanted to see the Sith Lord live up to the reputation we always hear about in the original trilogy, tune in for “The Siege of Lothal,” even if you’ve never seen a single episode of Star Wars Rebels. (This is an ideal jumping in point for the series.)

Star Wars Rebels © Disney / Lucasfilm
© Disney / Lucasfilm

Forget the stiff, lumbering armored figure half-heartedly fighting Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope. This is the Vader you’ve always wanted to see in action, a dark, menacing, and brilliant tactician. I literally had goosebumps as Darth Vader emerged from the shadows in an unforgettable scene. James Earl Jones returns to voice the character in a significant role for the first time since the films, so you never lose the feeling that this is Darth Vader.

Star Wars Rebels continues to get better with every single episode. “The Siege of Lothal” premieres on the Disney XD network on June 20, 2015, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

GeekMom was provided with a promotional screener for preview purposes.

Between the Bookends: May 2015

Bookends © Sophie Brown
Bookends © Sophie Brown

This merry month of May the GeekMoms have been stuck on Mars, trapped in a strange town, debating the merits of STEM and creativity in our schools, and solving puzzles in a future dystopia. Check out our reading lists as we get ready for the summer.

Continue reading Between the Bookends: May 2015

A ‘Star Wars’ Manicure That Turns Your Nails Into BB-8

Image: KayleighOC
Image: User KayleighOC on DeviantArt (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Roughly once every two weeks I get my nails done. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures and it forces me to sit down and relax and do nothing. It’s impossible to write or even use your phone when you’re getting a manicure and sometimes I need forced relaxation. None of my manicures have been as cool as this one featuring BB-8.

He’s the runaway star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and he only had a few precious seconds on screen in the trailer. I imagine that R2-D2 is somewhere off in a corner pouting because the little orange droid with the rolling ball for a body has stolen his thunder.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love R2-D2, but BB-8 is too cute to ignore. I want to know how he works and I want to know what he’s up to in the movie. That’s why this is the best Star Wars-themed manicure ever.

It’s the work of Kayleigh O’Connor who has created all sorts of amazing nail art from Star Wars to Breaking Bad. This time, each of her nails is tipped with bright orange, but her thumb has been transformed into a perfect 3D version of BB-8.

(via FashionablyGeek)

A GeekMom’s Love Letter to ‘Star Wars’

Star Wars Halloween 1980. Photo: Melody Mooney

My Dearest Star Wars,

How do I begin to share in words just what you mean to me?

Let me first remind you of our tender beginnings.

This picture was a taken on Halloween the year The Empire Strikes Back came out. I saw you almost every week that summer and you changed my life. I bought your toys, played out all your scenes, and spent every day falling in love with you. Dreaming of a galaxy far far away.

As I grew older, I welcomed new loves into my life and space adventures gave way to growing up. I never forgot that summer, though.

My fondness was enough for me to be there for your much-anticipated 1997 theatrical re-release. It was with this newly rekindled love that I suffered the slings and arrow from the haters during Episode I, II, and III. Time moved on and I heard less and less from you. Sure we had the The Clone Wars and we celebrated May 4th every year, but the distance was building. When I became a Mom, I made sure to pass along my love for you to my daughter. It was somewhere between the new parent sleepless nights and the social media geek fatigue that I began to lose my passion for you. My darling truly, it wasn’t you, it was me.

Moving on with my life, there were always reminders. I smiled in passing as my daughter watched Star Wars Rebels. I looked up, wondering when you joined camp with Disney, but there were chores and play dates, and news was hard to make time for. Then there were the rumblings. News was surfacing about brand new material. Perhaps even new movies. I was curious but pushed you out of my mind, instead filling my days with easy reality television and comfort fandom. You tried harder and teased me with a new trailer and Google Earth snap shots from the movie set of the Millennium Falcon. Strangely, I did not fully give into you.

I love you, Star Wars. Photo: Melody Mooney

As with any good love story, it was in the third act that something magical happened. Your second teaser trailer for The Force Awakens was released at the Star Wars Celebration and online.

Seeing that end shot of Han and Chewie returned me to the wonder of that ten-year-old girl. It finally sunk in. You were coming back and it was real.

At Star Wars Celebration 2015 with Kendra and my family. Photo: Melody Mooney

Fearing that my own awakening was happening too late, I cautiously accepted an invitation to your big party. What would I wear? Would you remember me?

I followed the gentle push to the light side from my dear friend, Kendra, who never gave up on you or me. How could I not go? The curiosity won out. It was there that I began to believe in us again. You hosted amazing panels and gave tantalizing announcements. We joined in family events and shopped rows and rows of merchandise. There were gifts you offered like movie props, photo ops, and cosplay from fans and the professionals like the 501st. The event was so lovely. It left me wanting to run away with you to London for next year’s celebration.

What really touched me was to see the faces of the multi-generational fans. So many people love you.

We have a second chance now and I vow to never let the dark side fall on me again.

I ache for December and the chance to see you once again. In the dark where it all started so many years ago.

Forever yours,


May the Fourth Be With You! 3 Activities to Hack Star Wars Day!

Photo courtesy of S. Cook

It is no secret around here that I am a Star Wars fan. All the kids that come to our hackerspace in Oakland know that every year I plan in anticipation for the Star Wars celebration. Over the past few years, we have tried out many ways of making, in the spirit of our favorite films. Here are three of my favorite projects that are affordable, have the ability to hack and/or make personal, and are accessible to different skill levels:

Photo courtesy of S. Cook
Photo courtesy of S. Cook


Of course. Easily made, definitely satisfying. Choose a side, a character, or hack your own. An essential project for any Star Wars fan. We have outlined the cheapest way to make a lightsaber here, without sacrificing on aesthetics.


Photo and design by S. Cook

Wookiee Cushion

I had this project in my head for a long time, but it finally came together! Cute and furry, Wookiee Cushions can be made with or without a sewing machine. Add a sound chip for real Chewie sounds! Pro-tip for sound: You can record the Wookiee voice of your choice straight from a Chewbacca Soundboard. Unless you are really good at Wookiee, in which case, go for it. One of my mentors took my specs and uploaded the full directions here.


Tatooine. Photo courtesy of S. Cook
Endor. Photo courtesy of S. Cook

Star Wars Terrariums

I originally found this idea in the awesome book World of Geekcraft. You can also find a full tutorial here. I ended up buying miniature Star Wars characters, like these online, to save money and have enough for the large number of kids we serve. I found the cheapest price on mason jars from here and the wonderful Flower Power Nation provided me with the awesome air plants that look awesomely alien for the Tatooine terrariums, while the moss and ferns for Endor came from a garden nursery.

May the Fourth Be With You!

Photo courtesy of S. Cook