Four Little Monsters Blog
The adventures of a Mom and her monsters.
Four Little Monsters is your source for family friendly event, product  and travel reviews in Mid-Atlantic USA. We find fun wherever we go, even right here at home.
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My Life My Shop Balance2 Digitial Body Scale, Vanity Planet, Review

by EJ on 01/28/16

So it's January... and this time of year, many of us are inspired to head off to the gym and get back in shape. While I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, I do applaud anyone who chooses to begin the journey to good health no matter what time of year. After all, our health is the most important thing we've got! For the past two years, our home has gone without a scale. Ever since one of the monsters chucked the last one down the stairs, it's been regretfully easy to avoid checking my weight and not hold myself accountable. That changed for the better when Vanity Planet sent over their My Life My Shop Balance2 Digital Body Scale. With a body scale in the house again, I'm monitoring my weight each day. It's much more rewarding when trying to lose weight and stay on a healthy track, to see the results each day on a body scale. You can also catch yourself gaining weight before too much damage has been done. I feel like a responsible adult again! I've found the Balance2 Digital Body Scale to be pretty dependable. It looks great in our master bath.

The My Life My Shop Balance2 Digital Body Scale has a natural bamboo stepping platform. It's got a very cool, spa-like look. The scale is lightweight but strong and measures up to 396 pounds. The weight calculator consists of an impressive round, backlit display that shows both digital and analog weight and switches between pounds and kilograms with the flip of a switch. The scale also features a 24 hour weight-in reminder setting.

When using the weigh-in reminder, you should pick a convenient time to weigh yourself so that you can check in with the scale at the same time each day. For me, the most convenient time is early in the morning after I wake up. If I'm just getting out of bed, I'll hear the alarm and be reminding to weight-in first thing. The alarm beeps at the same time every twenty-four hours and if no weigh-in occurs, it shuts off after twenty-five seconds.

Exclusive Promo Code for 60% OFF of the Balance2 Digitial Body Scale. 

Vanity Planet teamed up with Four Little Monsters to offer an exclusive promo code to our readers! Use code FLMSCALE at to get 60% off $95. Final cost - $38

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog receives compensation and Vanity Planet products in exchange for promotion and review. All opinions belong to the author.

Shutterfly's Make My Book Service, Family Scrapbook Designer, Review

by EJ on 12/14/15

In days of old I had the time to make my own scrapbooks by hand. Then five kids happened. I'm years behind in my scrap booking ventures at this point. I have an entire cabinet full of books, stickers, embellishments, pages and more. I was beginning to lose hope that I'd ever get all our memories caught up in scrapbook form. Then Shutterfly asked me to try out their Make My Book Service. At first, I had no idea that all my scrap booking woes were about to become obsolete. As I explored the Make My Book Service prompts online, I discovered a whole new world of scrap booking that comes with your own personal designer who does most of the work for you!

Using the Make My Book service, I created a hardcover scrapbook spanning the last ten years of our family's growth. I decided to theme the book around the kids growing up together. I was able to choose from the following sizes: 8 x 8, 8 x 11, 10 x 10, 12 x 12 and 11 x 14. I was given the choice of several book styles. I went with the most colorful one, which became the backdrop for all our crazy, wonderful adventures. 

The most fantastic part was that I didn't spend two or three weeks making the book - I had help! Using Shutterfly's Make My Book service, I was able to submit up to 800 photos. I probably cried a dozen times going through all the photographs that were just sitting on my computer, homeless. As I uploaded the photographs, it dawned on me that I was creating an absolute treasure. When I'd submitted all the photos I could, the album of photos went over to a designer. The Shutterfly designer arranged the photographs based on my suggestions, including the addition of embellishments and special words. They designed a great cover and even ordered the photos the way I requested. It took about three days for the designer to finish the project and I received an email when it was ready to preview. I was able to go in after the design process and move things around if needed, add my own text, change layouts and edit pretty much anything I wanted. For the most part, the designer did a great job getting it right the first time. I cried another dozen times going through the preview version of the book. I could not wait to hold my family book in my hands.

The Shutterfly Make My Book service is free until you place your order and then you pay a one-time $9.99 for the service on top of the book price. Each size is priced differently and you can choose to add on extra pages, glossy pages, a pocket for keepsakes and more. The prices are not bad at all, especially when compared to all the money I would normally spend making one scrapbook by hand. The process of submitting the photos is extremely straightforward and the program is easy to use. You just log in to your account, enter the Make My Book service page and start uploading. I'm 100% sure that I will turn to Shutterfly for every scrapbook project going forward. It's just so easy and the end result is so precious. Each Shutterfly photo book is printed and bound with quality and care in the USA. Shutterfly won the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for the best website for photo books.

Shutterfly has some amazing deals going on right now. Stop by their website to see what photo treasures you can create!
Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received Shutterfly products in exchange for this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.


Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing Brush System by Vanity Planet, Review and Promo Coupon Code

by EJ on 12/10/15

I'm over the moon about my new Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing Brush System by Vanity Planet. Now that I'm in my thirties, I'm paying more attention to my skin and how I take care of it, especially this time of year when the air is colder and drier. Since I love to be outdoors, the weather can really take a tole on my face. Add in five kids, makeup and all the to-and-fro of the season, and I've got myself a face in need of pampering. That's where the Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing Brush System comes in. 

How Does the Ultimate Skin Spa by Vanity Planet work?

The facial cleansing brush system includes: A handheld connecting port, a daily cleansing brush, a silicone brush, an exfoliating brush and a storage case. When your brush of choice is connected to the port, the press of a button activates the rotary action which gently spins the brush. You press the spinning brush gently and flush against your face to cleanse, exfoliate and remove dirt and oil trapped in your pores. 

There are two speed modes to choose from so if you don't feel like the first speed is deep enough, you can set it to go faster. I always apply warm water with my favorite facial cleanser first, then use the brush over the cleanser to scrub my skin. When you're done, everything fits perfectly in the compact, sturdy storage case and I can slip it right in the cabinet when not in use. I've raved so much about the Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing System at home that even my husband is wanting to use it now.

That is all great stuff, of course, but I am also in love with the softness of the bristles and the gentle massage the brush gives my face. It just feels amazing, especially around the ridge of my nose where my skin gets the driest. The bristles of the daily cleansing brush and the exfoliating brush are so extremely soft and lovely. It's such a relaxing, enjoyable cleansing experience. It's really a great way to start or end the day. Plus, it's safe to take in the shower which makes things so much easier when you're on the go.

The silicone brush is great for a deep, gentle clean and suitable for dry and sensitive skin. The non-abrasive silicone touch-points gently remove dead skin and unclog pores. The exfoliating brush is specially designed to lift away debris and is best used with a cleanser. The daily cleansing brush is made of the super-soft bristles I told you about and designed for your most delicate skin. The whole system is very well made and solid.

Get 70% off the Ultimate Skin Spa using this Vanity Planet Promo Coupon Code

Good news! I have an exclusive coupon code for my readers to save 70% OFF your purchase of the Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing Brush System. Use code FLMSPA at to get 70% off $125. Final cost - $38. That is a huge savings! Please use THIS LINK to access the product and to use this discount code.  

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received products from Vanity Planet in exchange for this review. All opinions belong to the author of this post.


Rockboard RBX Scooter, Rocking Motion Scooter, Review

by EJ on 11/27/15

With the weather being so unseasonably warm this week, I sent the monsters outside to try out our new RockBoard RBX Scooter for the first time. Wow, what fun they had! In fact, the RockBoard RBX Scooter was such a hit that all members of the family took turns whizzing around the neighborhood on this thing. The adults ended up having as much fun as the kids! Watch Uncle George try the Rockboard RBX in this video! We even sent Daddy down the street to show off his Rockboard skills to all the neighbors.

Our Rockboard RBX Scooter is fire engine red, with a sleek, stable design that supports kids and adults. The height is suitable for ages 8 and up. We unveiled the scooter on our son's 8th birthday and putting it together was easier than it looked. The instructions were straightforward and in about twenty minutes, the Rockboard RBX Scooter was ready to go.

Our 8 year old had a little trouble getting used to the back-and-forth motion that is required by this scooter and he's still practicing to get the hang of it. I think he's just the right size to get started on the scooter and he's determined to master it without so many falls. I wasn't as instantly talented either but our 10 year old picked it up right away and was sailing down the road in seconds. She was a total pro! Check out this video of her first Rockboard adventure.

Family members were totally impressed with the concept of the Rockboard RBX Scooter. Unlike typical scooters, the Rockboard RBX Scooter propels forward with each rocking motion. One foot is placed on the front end of the deck and the other foot placed in the back to achieve propulsion. The rider never has to place a foot on the ground since the motion is what pushes the scooter ahead, up to 10 mph. It's still a pretty good work-out for the lower legs, too. The handlebar height is adjustable for all ages. The Rockboard RBX Scooter is our new favorite kids' product to get our kids outside and active! We definitely recommend getting the Rockboard RBX Scooter under the Christmas tree.

Buy the Rockboard RBX and other RBX products HERE.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a Rockboard RBX Scooter in exchange for this honest review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

WubbleX Anti-Gravity Wubble Ball, Helium Wubble Ball, Review

by EJ on 11/27/15

This week, the monsters got to try out the WubbleX anti-gravity Wubble ball along with some other Wubble products. The WubbleX was the smallest of the Wubble balls, but unlike the other one, this one is inflated with helium so it actually floats like a bubble.

The contents of the WubbleX package include: 1 WubbleX ball, 2 sticker sheets, 1 fill tube, 1 sealing tab, 1 petroleum jelly pouch and instructions. Before inflation, the WubbleX ball is super small so an adult needs to do the work. Using the WubbleX helium canister, this was easy to inflate (helium can is sold separately and fills one ball). Once inflated, the WubbleX floated up to the ceiling and after about fifteen minutes, it floated a little lower where the kids could reach. 

The WubbleX fits easily in a child's hands, a little bigger than a regular ball, but can spin through the air and hover and float around the room. We tried all kinds of neat tricks with the WubbleX and had a lot of fun. We did discover that the WubbleX likes to drift off, so keep an eye on it, especially around doors that open to the outside. The buoyancy doesn't last forever, decreasing at about thirty minutes, but it still remains pretty bouncy after that. It's the perfect addition to a birthday party if you need to keep the kids entertained for a bit. I can imagine that filling a room with several of the WubbleX balls for a party would be tons of fun!

Sadly, both the WubbleX bubble balls that we received did not live for long, thanks to my lovely monsters. Our toddler cut one in half before we even inflated it and the other one, while it did get played with a lot, eventually founds its way over a candle flame at Thanksgiving and that was the end of it.

Watch the fun we had with our Wubble balls in this video.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a WubbleX in exchange for this honest review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

GloWubble Bubble Ball, Wubble Fun For All, Review

by EJ on 11/27/15

This Thanksgiving, we unleashed the GloWubble bubble ball during the day's festivities. I had no idea it would be such a huge hit! All five kids (and several adults) were in giggle fits while enjoying this big, fun toy. 

The GloWubble bubble ball is fairly easy to set up. Contents include: 1 Blue GloWubble ball, 1 Wubble pump (requires 4 D Batteries, not included), 1 nozzle, 1 petroleum jelly pouch and instructions. It took me a bit to get the nozzle aligned inside the ball correctly but once I figured that out, the ball filled up to 3 feet in diameter in only a few minutes. Maybe that doesn't seem very big but when it's fully inflated, it's pretty huge!

The GloWubble bubble ball appears and moves like an actual bubble but it holds up to the hitting, bouncing, kicking, whacking and smacking that the children put it through. The ball itself is soft and pleasing to the touch so the kids love to roll all over it and lay on it. As durable as it may be, we discovered that it's not indestructible. We did end up with a hole after about two hours and we were able to patch up that hole with the provided sticky tape. I did find in the instructions that if the ball does pop, an adult can cut the logo from the ball, put it in the addressed envelope provided with a check for $6.99 processing and handling and the company will send you a new GloWubble ball. You can also pay the shipping and handling online at to get a new ball. I think that's pretty cool.

All day long, the GloWubble made it's rounds with all the kids and guests. When the kids realized that it was a glow-in-the-dark Wubble Ball, they all ran off to the bathroom to see if it really did glow blue. The glow effect works best when the ball is exposed to light and the longer it's exposed to light, the better the glow. 

If you've got a birthday party or event coming up, the GloWubble bubble ball is an excellent toy to keep the kids entertained. While these bubble balls are tons of fun, they don't last forever. Our GloWubble lasted a little over a day which is why I'd recommend it for a party or event, not for everyday use. We're now out of sticky tape to fix the holes in ours and it's popped for good but it was definitely fun while it lasted.

See the GloWubble in action at our house, here's the VIDEO.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a GloWubble in exchange for this honest review. All opinions belong to the blogger.


PiperWai Natural Deodorant, Activated Charcoal Deodorant, Review

by EJ on 11/16/15

These days, it seems like a ton of products we ingest or put on our skin are totally awful for us. When it comes to deodorant and antiperspirants, I've been dealing with major allergic reactions to aluminum-based compounds in these products since my early twenties. On top of that, I don't feel particularly safe applying aluminum-based deodorants to my skin when they're possibly linked to breast cancer. I know that studies on the link between aluminum and breast cancer have had conflicting results but with breast cancer on my mother's side of the family, I'm not willing to take the risk. However, it seems like I've tried every brand of natural, non-aluminum deodorants out there with no real lasting luck over the years They just don't work for me. Then a fellow blogger introduced me to PiperWai.

When I first received PiperWai, I did some research. I'm not one to believe anything blindly so of course, I wanted to know what I was putting on my body this time. I found that activated charcoal is the latest thing when it comes to skin products. Activated charcoal, made when oxygen is added to regular charcoal, has been used in the medical community to treat poisonings, certain overdoses, GI tract infections and even nausea. Regular charcoal (think barbecue) is used in everything from aquarium water filters to vacuum cleaners. But is it safe for my skin? I couldn't find any solid scientific information to answer that question. 

I did find that there's a ton of good press on the PiperWai product. When I started using it, I was surprised to find that I didn't have to reapply it throughout the day as I have done in the past with other natural deodorants. I did put it on again in the evening if needed every once in a while but definitely not every day. I found that the the 2 oz. jar has gone a really long way. The smell is nice, with what I'll describe as a citrus-like scent. I'm definitely going to see this bottle through to the bottom as so far, so good and I'll be glad to have a deodorant product that doesn't cause painful skin reactions.

PiperWai contains activated charcoal and is a dark gray color that goes on clear without messing up your clothes. There's no applicator and it's actually good for your skin, so your hands will thank you, too. Created by two best friends in Philadelphia, PiperWai contains the following: Tapioca Starch, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Magnesium Hydroxide, Butryospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Rose Centifolia Flower Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Charcoal Power (Activated), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Proprietary Blend of 11 Essential Oils. There's no aluminum, no parabens, no triclosan, no phthalates, or synthetic fragrances. It's also cruelty free!

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a PiperWai product in exchange for this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

Rejoice! It's the Finding Dory Teaser Trailer and Poster

by EJ on 11/16/15

Ever since Disney Pixar's FINDING NEMO stole my heart in 2003, I knew that the film would go down in movie history as one of the best family films of all time and I couldn't wait to share it with my one-day children. In fact, my kids did grow up with this beautiful film and now the Teaser Trailer and movie poster for the much anticipated sequel has arrived! I cannot wait to experience the sequel with all my babies beside me! FINDING DORY opens in theaters June 17th, 2016.

FINDING DORY will reunite our favorite undersea friends Nemo and Marlin with the forgetful Blue Tang Dory on an adventure to discover her past. Directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Lindsay Collins, the film features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neil, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton.

Visit FINDING DORY on Facebook.
Visit FINDING DORY on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters has permission to post promotional material for FINDING DORY in partnership with Allied Integrated Marketing.


KidStuff Coupon Savings Book, Money-Saving School Fundraiser, KidStuff Delaware Edition Giveaway

by EJ on 10/12/15

We're very excited here at Four Little Monsters as we just received our 2015-16 Delaware edition of the KidStuff coupon book, sold exclusively through schools. This coupon book is packed full of valuable money saving coupons for all our family's favorite craft stores, retail stores, restaurants, amusement parks, museums, sporting venues, grocery stores and more. I've got five kids and I know how frustrating the endless stream of fundraisers can get. I don't do the fundraisers that sell candles, Christmas wrapping paper, peanuts and all that other stuff. KidStuff, however, offers a fantastic, useful, no-nonsense way to raise money for schools. I literally find myself using coupons out of this book every week and I know that other families will feel the same way. The best part, of course, is the money that goes directly towards the schools.

With a mission to raise money for education, KidStuff has raised over 60 million dollars for schools since 1993. Schools earn at least 50% profit with no up-front costs or risks. The cost of the book is $25 and families save way more money than the cost of the book throughout the year. If you're interested in getting the KidStuff fundraiser started at your child's school, visit their School Fundraiser page to get started.

This year, the Delaware edition of KidStuff features savings for shopping, activities and food at these locations: Macy’s, Acme, Sears, Food Lion, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Payless, Loft, Bed Bath & Beyond, Burlington, H&M, Sports Authority, Gymboree, Aéropostale, Famous Footwear, Disney Store, Michaels, Pet Valu, Modell’s, Claire’s, A.C. Moore, Five Below, Jos. A. Bank, New York & Company, Eastern Mountain Sports, Men’s Wearhouse, Lego Store, Golf Galaxy, Brookstone, Learning Express, BuyBuy Baby, Yankee Candle, Aerosoles, Dorney Park, Six Flags, Hersheypark, Sesame Place, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, Please Touch Museum, Clementon Park, Adventure Aquarium, Diggerland, Sahara Sam’s Oasis, Disney Live!, Disney On Ice, Go Ape!, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Regal Cinemas, Stratosphere Trampoline Park, Brandywine Zoo, Launch Trampoline Park, Wilmington & Western Railroad, Maryland Zoo, Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery, Dutch Wonderland, Subway, IHOP, Dairy Queen, Papa John’s, Saladworks, Joe’s Crab Shack, Texas Roadhouse, Taco Bell, Outback Steakhouse, Applebee’s, Wendy’s, Friendly’s and hundreds more - visit to see the full list!

KidStuff is not limited to Delaware. Find out if there's an edition for your state HERE.

If you are interested in more information, please contact KidStuff Coupon Books:

Toll-Free: 1-888-404-5437, Option 1

Please follow KidStuff on Facebook and Twitter

WIN A COPY of KidStuff Coupon Savings Book Delaware Edition 2015-16

Wait! Don't go! We're giving away THREE copies of the Delaware edition of KidStuff 2015-16! Enter below!

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received products in exchange for an honest review and promotion. All opinions belong to the blogger.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sally Nightmare Before Christmas Custome, Halloween 2015, Costume Discounters, Review

by EJ on 09/29/15

Halloween 2015 is almost here but there's still time to order the perfect Halloween costume! While my kids have been busy changing their minds about what they want to be, I've been set on my costume for weeks. Yes, I'm one of those parents. Costumes are always required. I'm a huge Tim Burton fan and this year I'll be Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. By our annual Halloween party, the whole first floor of my home will be transformed into Halloweentown and my costume has to rock so that I may welcome all the witches, ghouls and vampires over in style. Luckily, I'm a face painter so the makeup will be killer, too.

For just the right costume, I turned to Costume Discounters, who have an amazing selection of affordable Nightmare Before Christmas Costumes. I chose the more true-to-film version of the Sally costume, the Sally Adult Quality Costume. Costume Discounters also offers a teen and sassier version.

The Sally Adult Quality Costume features a full-length polyester dress featuring the stitched-together fabric look from the movie, shredded sleeves and bottom hem. The pops of orange, teal, light blue, fuchsia and pink look amazing against the darker
colors, the large stitches and swirly patterns. There are two pale arm gloves that mimic Sally's white-blue doll-skin and the collar of the dress matches these, too. I was able to mix a similar color of body paint for my face. I'm not a huge fan of the red yarn wig (most costume wigs are just awkward in general) but Sally's doll hair would be hard to match without it. Overall, the costume is a lot of fun, very true to the movie while remaining light and comfortable. Since I'll be hosting a party in this dress, comfort is
definitely key. I'd definitely recommend this costume to all my fellow Nightmare fans!

Tell us who you're dressing as this Halloween 2015? Who is your favorite Nightmare Before Christmas character and why?

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received a costume from Costume Discounters for the purpose of this review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter Launch Celebration

by EJ on 09/18/15

We attended the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarter launch and coin exchange today, September 18th, 2015. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is our family's favorite birding spot and we go several times a week to hike and photograph birds and wildlife. Naturally, we had to be there for this special event! The Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarter is the 29th quarter released in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program by the United States Mint. Other quarters released this year feature the Homestead National Monument of America, Kisatchie National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway and Saratoga National Historical Park.

We were a tad late to the party but our little lady was immediately greeted by Puddles the... well, he's either a duck or a Night Heron? Maybe a duck. Either way, she pushed five kids out of the way (Sorry, Moms, she's all business!) to give that bird a big hug. Other highlights included visits with former Delaware Governor and U.S. Representative to Delaware Michael Castle, members of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, live music and of course, the brand-new quarter itself. We took home ten dollars worth of Bombay Hook quarters which we'll proudly display and give as gifts.

The Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarter features a Great Blue Heron in the forefront and a Great Egret in the background. The art was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Joel Iskowitz and engraved by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. 

Millions of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarters were sent out into circulation by the Federal Reserve on Sept. 14th.  On Sept. 30th, the public can purchase collectible products that also feature Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarters directly from the Mint beginning noon Eastern Time via the bureau's online catalog at and at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). 

An Interview with a Daughter of NASA Engineer Raymond Haney

by EJ on 09/04/15

Space exploration has been in the news a lot lately. For example, the New Horizons mission finally reached Pluto this summer and twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly began an incredible experiment that will address the effects of long-term space travel on the human body. All this space buzz is getting my little ones super excited about astronomy. Actually, our family has always been a fan of space, astronauts and all things mysterious out there in the universe. For us, a trip to the Air & Space Museum in DC is like visiting a candy store. Our love of the stars and planets might have something to do with the fact that my step-grandfather, Raymond Haney, was a NASA engineer and his son continues to work in the same field to this day. Yes, that definitely has something to do with it. Let's face it, though, the universe and the sheer enormity of things to discover up there is amazing. Space will always be cool.

With the first high definition photographs of Pluto and it's moons unveiled this past July, it got me thinking about another exciting July for space exploration, for humankind and specifically for certain members of my family who were kids when my grandfather was involved with NASA. I spoke with my aunt Joan Romano of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to find out what it was like to be the child of a NASA engineer during a time when humankind first set feet on the moon.

Where were you and how old were you during the first moon landing in July of 1969?

I was ten (and a half) years old. It was my older sister's birthday and we went to where my Dad worked - Goddard Space Flight Center. Goddard was the testing station for NASA. My dad was a vacuum test engineer... There was a big room with guys lined up at desks, a lot like how the control room looked in the movie Apollo 13. There was a big wall of screens. They were like the biggest televisions I had ever seen. My dad showed us how all of the centers, Houston, Canaveral, Alabama, and Goddard are all linked and they each had a job to do. And then the room got really quiet. There seemed like one-hundred but I am sure it wasn't that many guys that looked like my dad - white short sleeved shirts and black framed glasses. I couldn't see past them and my dad pulled chairs up for my brother and I to stand on, we were in the very back of the room. The silence seemed to last forever and everyone stared at the screens. Then it erupted in screaming and hugging and I saw the foot step on the moon. Those are the most vivid memories, except then we went out to lunch at the Department of Agriculture's cafeteria and I had chocolate pudding.

I told you about the restaurant because I wanted to show how these amazing engineers were just normal guys. The Dept of Agriculture had this cafeteria and the engineers called it The Funny Farm and they loved to eat there. You had to drive by the farms that the Dept ran and we would stop and see the baby animals on the way. The day of the moon landing we saw baby pigs be born and I think my dad was almost as excited about the pigs as he was about the moon.

How did you father react while watching the first moon landing?

You have to know he was a man who cried at phone commercials. I looked at his face and he was biting his bottom lip, tears were streaming down his face, and he had these unbelievable blue eyes (he called them Heavenly blue), and they were shining. His cheeks were so red. He was hugging and thumping the other engineers and us... Those guys live and breathe outer space and the magic it holds.

What is a vacuum test engineer?

A vacuum test engineer runs these giant vacuum chambers. Since space is a huge vacuum, anything they send out in it gets tested first in these big vacuum rooms. Dad put stuff in it and monitored how well it did, if they needed something else, stuff like that. The things I remember most that he worked on were the IMP-1, the tiles from the space shuttles, which you may recall had some issues and he had warned them, he worked on the mirror for the Hubble (and said it was out of round, which just pissed him to no end), he worked on designing the elbow for the arm that came out of the space shuttle, and he worked with the National Archives in developing a way to put old texts through the vacuum which helped halt the aging process. As he said, it worked for books, not people. He also built his own solar collector in our back yard and on sunny days our house used no electricity. It was ugly but it was amazing.

What's another memory you have of your father and his work?

The other NASA memory that is really vivid is the day the shuttle blew up. Dad had just retired, but he had worked on this - it was his last project. He called me that morning to remind me to watch. I was standing with my roommate when we saw it explode and I ran to call my dad. He was sobbing. He couldn't believe it and just fell apart.

How did your father nurture a love of space and science in his children?

He would just always say, "Look at that!" He was always showing us how stuff worked, asking us questions why we thought something was like it was. Clouds, stars, bugs, everything was cool. And I really, really wanted to be an astronaut. The year I graduated from high school was the first year women were allowed to apply to the Naval Academy. My dad got Barbara Mikulski to do my recommendation, even. And my mom shot it down. Seriously killed me. She didn't want any daughter in harm's way. She did approve art school so I went to MICA... But my dad was so cool with me going to art school, too - he would come down with me and look at the architecture and go to the galleries. He got me confident enough to drive through the city and read a map... he did make everything about science and was always saying, "look at the physics of it." Even a Frisbee, kites and footballs. He taught me to throw a pretty good spiral, how to change the oil and spark plugs in my car (so that no mechanic would ever rip me off). And all of it was about science.

Note: Raymond Haney received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He served in the United States Marine Corps and the reserves for over twenty years. Throughout his career, he worked as a research and development engineer for Holley Carburetor Company in Detroit, a Propulsion and Fuel Engineer at the Martin Company in Baltimore and later became the senior engineer in their space simulation lab. He started work on the Saturn launch vehicle and Titan. He served as senior engineer in the Test and Evaluation Lab for Sperry Rand at Goddard Space Flight Center. He was the liaison between NASA test conductors and facility managers. He was a member of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and was co-chair of the Seventh Space Simulation Conference. 

Further Information:

Kids and families can read all about what's going on at NASA by visiting the NASA Kids Club.
Sign up to track the International Space Station with email alerts from Spot the Station.

Monster Jam Comes to Wells Fargo Center Oct 2nd and 3rd, 2015, WIN MONSTER JAM TICKETS

by EJ on 09/02/15

Ever since last year's Monster Jam event in Philly, our son has been begging for more Monster Jam! Well, the time has finally come. My little monster is as excited as can be. This time, we won't forget the ear plugs!

At twelve feet tall and ten thousand pounds, this year's Monster Jam brings the most incredible performers on four wheels to a custom-designed track packed with awesome obstacles to jump over and smash. Kids and families will love the action-packed stunts and the competition between these colorful, powerful beasts on wheels. So pack your ear plugs and get ready for a roaring good time.

Save on Monster Jam tickets with this Exclusive Promo Code.

You can save $5 off $30 and $20 seats using Monster Jam Promo Code "BLOG". Valid on 10/3 at 7:30 PM. Valid on 10/4 at 2 pm. Expires Oct. 1st. Not valid for front row, VIP or $15 seats. Not valid on Kids Price. Limit of 6. Buy your Monster Jam tickets at

One lucky reader will win a Family 4 Pack of tickets for Monster Jam for the October 2nd 7:30 PM performance!

Related Post: Last Year's Monster Jam Review
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Hippo Awareness Weekend with Nile Hippos' Genny & Button at Adventure Aquarium

by EJ on 08/28/15

Adventure Aquarium of Camden, New Jersey celebrates their first Hippo Awareness Weekend this Saturday August 29th and Sunday August 30th with brand new programming to feature hippo feedings, enrichment and interactions, a behind-the-scenes hippo movie, hippo nutrition facts and information on ways your family can save hippos in the wild. "We are excited to celebrate our first-ever Hippo Awareness Weekend at Adventure Aquarium," says Michele Pagel, Curator of Birds and Mammals, "Hippos are vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. This weekend gives us a chance to educate our guests about these amazing animals while also making them aware of hippo conservation efforts Adventure Aquarium is involved with called the Turgwe Hippo Trust in Zimbabwe, Africa."

Did you know that Adventure Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world where you can see the third largest animal in the world, the Nile Hippopotamus? The Four Little Monsters crew attended a special pre-party for Genny and Button this week for a sneak-peak of this weekend's event. Genny and Button's dedicated biologists and trainers gave us a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of their 2-ton friends in Hippo Haven, their impressive sanctuary. 

Genny the Hippo was born at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida in 2000 and although younger than Button, she's the bigger hippo. Button was born in Parque Zoological de Leon in Mexico in 1997 and spent some time in Animal Kingdom as well. She was transferred from Animal Kingdom to Adventure Aquarium. Her trainers lovingly call them, "Our Disney Hippos!" Both Hippos know to perform several behaviors including opening their mouths on cue, laying down and others.

The Hippopotamus is a herbivore and eat vegetation in the wild. The aquarium hippos have a more diverse diet than wild Hippos and consume 40 lbs. of food including grains, hay, fruit, vegetables and leafy greens. In the wild, Hippos spend much of the day in water and will leave the water at night for up to six hours to feed.

Believe it or not, Hippos' Genny and Button are talented artists. Enrichment sessions include nose painting and their colorful work will be available to purchase for $35 this weekend with all proceeds benefiting the Turgwe Hippo Trust. Families can also adopt Genny and Button at the Gift Shop. Part of the proceeds go to hippo care at the aquarium while a portion goes to the Turgwe Hippo Trust. Adoptions include an official certificate of adoption for one or two of the hippos, a bio sheet, a photo of Genny or Button and a hippo footprint and hippo plush. 

Read all about the Turgwe Hippo Trust and see how your family can help these vulnerable animals in the wild.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters attended a special pre-party event for the purpose of this promotion. All opinions belong to the blogger.

KIDZ BOP Make Some Noise! Tour 2015, Review

by EJ on 08/05/15

KIDZ BOP, a chart-topping band of kid singers that cover today's most popular pop songs, is on tour now through October. Over the past fifteen years, KIDZ BOP has become the # 1 music brand for kids, selling more than 15,000,000 albums that feature the hottest music of the times, sung by kids for kids and edited to be kid-friendly.

The Four Little Monsters crew met up with the KIDZ BOP Make Some Noise! Tour in Wilmington, Delaware.
The current KIDZ BOP kids Grant, Ashlynn, Matt and Bredia took to the stage in front of a crowd of screaming kids. Great songs, sparkling costumes changes and fun choreography kept even some of the littlest audience members on their feet the whole concert long. While we weren't expecting a full-length concert with such young stars and a young audience, the show was longer than expected. It incorporated some interactive moments between the singers and their audience, prizes, cartoons for the little ones, a singing contest between Moms and Dads from the audience and a question and answer session following the show.

See if KIDZ BOP is coming to your city and get your tickets now! Don't forget to pick up your copy of their latest release, KIDZ BOP 29.

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Copyright: <a href=''>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href=''>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href=''>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>