Breast Milk Jeweller to Refund Customers

PROVIDENCE, R.I.- A breast milk Jewellery production company situated in Rhode Island has been mandated to repay its clients and return the numerous bags of breast milk belonging to them having failed to fulfil her part of the bargain in almost two years.

Reports from WPRI-TV revealed that the Judge of a Superior Court in Rhode Island has this week passed judgment and an interim constraining order against Allicia Mogavero and her company “MommyMilk Creation.” This year, the Office of the Attorney General of state petitioned the breast milk jewel company haven received numerous grievances from customers who all claimed to have sent bags of their very own breast milk to the Westerly-based organisation in return for their goods but have had to wait for about two years without a feedback from the Jewellery company.

The station then mandated Mogavero to reimburse 114 clients of the company resident in the country and as far-off as Singapore with a sum of $15,000. The company reassures it clientele on its website, “We are working assiduously, and every single outstanding order is going to be completed from this moment.

 

Green Apple award

We won a Green Apple award!

That’s two in two years. Carol, our operations guru, collected this award at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament. We were the only games company who won an award. So what’s the big deal? Well Green Apples are awarded to organisations in the public and private sector that really care about how they impact the environment. We care.

Last year we won an award, for our general operations, not just using recycled material in our boxes, playing boards and game cards – we have been doing this since 1991 – it was for the more subtle things. For example on a dull day I saw that we had 24 strip fluorescent lights on in the middle of the day in our warehouse. It was evident that the warehouse roof windows had not been cleaned for many years. So a thorough cleaning later, not so easy as there are 24 of them, and we had to get scaffolding put up and replace a few that were cracked, we were able to reduce our use of warehouse electricity by about 75%. There are lots of other things I could write about, but I’m trying to keep this brief and not try your patience!

This is one small example of what we do and we are really proud of winning this award. We will continue to be as environmentally conscious as we can and you will see this in our games. We are currently re-designing all our family games so that they use less board, contain less air and take up less shelf space in your games cupboards without reducing the quality of the game or play experience. The first game we have redesigned is our fabulous game Egyptians. Take a look in the product pages and let us know what you think.

We love green apples!

Keeping it green

If you grew up in the 1970s, being environmentally-friendly meant little more than putting your sweet wrappers in the bin, with kids encouraged to turn off lights to save electricity in energy-stricken Britain, rather than to stop the ice caps melting.

If your childhood spanned the 1980s, you may well have worn a Save the Whale badge, but most people who voiced any concerns for the environment were simply dismissed as ‘Tree Huggers’. It was only in the 1990s, when climate change became more widely discussed, and Governments sat round the table to sign agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, that a much greater green awareness entered the mainstream.

Today’s children, whether they know it or not, are more environmentally aware than any previous generation. School plays an important role instilling the importance of caring for our environment and conserving resources, so why not help find ways in which your children can do their bit for the environment round the home, too.

A good place to start is with the green mantra – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s a phrase that’s become common parlance over the last few years, as we finally wake up to the fact that the earth’s resources – and the space to dump our rubbish – are, in fact, finite.

So get the children to grab a pen and paper, and see what ideas they can come up with. Chances are they’ll say things you’ve never even thought of, so here’s a few to keep up your sleeve, just in case!

Reduce

As well as turning off lights to save electricity, encourage your children to turn off PCs and TVs rather than leaving them on standby. And once those precious DSs and I-Pods are fully charged, get them into the habit of turning the charger off at the wall, too.

Water’s often see as a limitless and free resource and the classic waste of H2O is leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth. Turn it off and you’ve got an immediate, easy win.

Reuse

It’s amazing how much paper children can get through! Home offices are constantly raided in search of a wad of pristine A4 sheets, but try to encourage them to use the other side of used sheets, too.

Ditch those new daily cartons or bottles in lunch boxes – the kids can easily replace them with a reusable bottle full of water or squash. If they’re fussy about the taste of your tap water, simply get a water filter and keep it topped up in the fridge.

Recycle

Draw up a house rota which makes someone chief of recycling each week. Then it’s their job to make sure people use the right recycling bins and don’t get lazy by simply lumping everything in with the rubbish!

Incentivise your children to clean up their room, and sort out all those old toys at the same time, with the offer of a Big Swap, when they can trade their old stuff with friends.

Or, if you’ve got some good things together that make it worth the early start, why not try a car boot sale and turn your ‘junk’ into money? You can even make a deal with the kids that anything that isn’t sold is recycled through a charity shop.

Bullying: debilitating, character-building, or both?

When our children go off to school, I think we all go through the same wave of anxiety. Will they make friends? Will they have fun? Will they get on ok on their own, without us there to guide them and protect them?

No matter what we do, how we prepare our children for that big step to primary or secondary school, it’s likely that they will encounter a few classmates who try to pick holes in their abilities. Whether it’s motivated by jealousy, boredom, a sense of inadequacy or simply vindictiveness, bullying is a common feature of school life. As parents we need to be prepared for it and to know how to help; how to walk with our children through whatever life throws at them.

This was Becca’s experience:

“For me the end of primary school and the beginning of secondary school were something of a challenge – and not just for me, but for my parents too.In primary school I was bullied for, would you believe it, being too “girly”. When girls are below the age of 11 I think it’s safe to say we wouldn’t consider being girly and wearing floaty dresses to be a bad thing! I was my mother’s daughter, and I loved a good old-fashioned flowery dress. It wasn’t a view shared by my classmates, though – I was taunted at birthday parties, school discos and even mufti-days for wearing a dress.

To be honest it never ceased to hurt my feelings, my ‘thick skin’ wasn’t all that thick and it was a relief for me to come home and feel accepted, feel ‘normal’. When you’re 8 or 9 you do think that the world is coming to an end when someone in your class doesn’t like you or makes a nasty remark and it can take a while to realise that other children don’t have the same values or manners that you do.

The support of my parents was so important to me. My mum cried with me a lot of the times I came home crying about what ‘she’ or ‘he’ had said, but she also taught me that bullies feed off my fear and that I should never be afraid of them. Together my parents gave me a sense of security in my own identity, which helped me to face the situation head on. There’s a baseball quote that says, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game,” and that was the attitude my parents encouraged.

Bullying can be debilitating, but it can also be character-building. In my case, and I’d like to think in most cases, it was a little bit of both. I realised that it doesn’t really matter what other people think or say – the important thing is to be yourself. I strove to be different and to make my difference; the very thing I was taunted for became my distinguishing characteristic – the thing that made me unique.

It was a phase, really – and one that many children go through and grow through. Where are my bullies now? Who cares? It took time to get here but I know who I am and what I want in life.”

“When life gives you lemons…”

From missing out on the school team to being told off by a favourite teacher, as children move up through school they begin to face a whole new world of emotions as, perhaps for the first time, things don’t always go as planned.

Gradually they will leave behind a classroom where everyone gets a turn to ‘bat’ and a part in the Christmas nativity, and where marks and grades play second fiddle to a more rounded view of their progress. Instead, results begin to take on a greater significance and competition grows for places in school teams and performances.

Other issues such as falling out with friends and even teasing are all part of growing up, and can all come as a bit of a shock.

To help them grow into well-rounded adults, they need to learn how to handle failure, and parents can play a big role talking to their children and turning these setbacks into character-building events. After all, it will be easier for them to learn how to come to terms with disappointment now rather than when they’re older, and the stakes are a lot higher than a place in the school football team, or a gold star at maths.

When a failure happens, we want our children to be able to bounce back from it, ideally having learnt something from the whole experience.

Try not to smother them – they need to express their disappointment and let their feelings develop. It’s good to reflect on what went wrong but don’t let them dwell on it for too long.

Help them to accept what happened and think about why things turned out as they did. Try and think about a time when something didn’t go well for you as a child. How did you deal with it?

Of course there will be times when these things happen due to little or no fault of their own – and that in itself is important to learn.

If your child flunks a test, try and make them to see it as just a setback and something that can rectified next time. Explain how they might feel really bad now but there will be another test soon enough. Try and emphasise the importance of having a positive attitude and not giving up or feeling like a failure just because of one experience.

You may wish to talk about change too, and perhaps setting some new goals and adopting a different approach – perhaps with a bit more effort they could succeed next time?

Being left out of a team or missing out on a school performance hurts, even more so if it’s an activity that your child really enjoys. It can be a good idea to prepare children in advance for any potential disappointment. Make a list together about all the possible goals of a trial or audition – one can be making the team or play, but the others could focus on having fun, trying your best and learning something new. In other words, you’re giving your child lots of different definitions of what it means to be successful.

It’s also worth remembering that sometimes the disappointment may have come because the child simply isn’t cut out for the netball team or singing a solo in the choir. That’s fine, you can’t be good at everything, and now may be a good time to explore other things they enjoy.

And of course you could always bring out their favourite BrainBox game, when you know that there’s only ever going to be one winner!

Life Lessons from the Paralympics

I read somewhere yesterday, on Facebook probably, that when a door closes, open it again – that’s what doors are for! Oh how true.

Quite by coincidence the children were talking about having watched the Paralympics on television, which opened a discussion about overcoming difficulties in life to follow your dreams. They were hugely impressed that people who lacked what they take for granted were so successful through hard work and dedication.

We agreed that it’s about perseverance: believing in yourself and not giving up. Not everything in this life will come easily to most of us – very little in fact – but that’s no reason to give up, and that’s a valuable lesson to learn early in life.

I realise I’m walking a fine line here, but I truly believe there is a happy medium between the tiger parent and the one who is too scared to push their child a little. Children need time to be children and they all develop at their own pace (my daughter didn’t really speak until she was two but was potty trained by three; my son, with whom I could hold a reasonable conversation at 18 months, may well wear nappies at night forever…) but we have a duty to show them the power of perseverance.

Driving home in the car during the first week of the new term, my daughter (now in Year 1) was bemoaning her new ‘workload’ and was telling the little one how lucky he is to be in nursery. When quizzed more deeply she actually admitted to having enjoyed her new classes and all the new information she was taking in.

The step up each year should be a challenge and I can help by making that transition as smooth as possible. I’ve found that creating a routine around the new expectations has really helped my daughter to adjust. For example, homework is done during peak attention times (i.e. not at 6pm just before dinner) and good effort is rewarded at home as well as at school. Working together to ensure she has the right kit for each day at school makes her more responsible and confident in self-care.

It’s not all about the academic side of course, and we are lucky in that the extra-curricular activities at school are so good. My daughter is around the middle of her class academically, but passionate about dance and swimming. My role as a parent is to encourage her to keep focused on her school work whilst sharing and supporting her to develop her talents in the areas where she excels.

That’s really what it’s all about – finding the pearl in your oyster, so to speak, and nurturing it. There are a few of us who really are geniuses but for the vast majority (parents and children alike) we do best in the subjects we enjoy. Yes, we need to work hard and give of our best in all we do, but we should never underestimate the confidence boost that results from success in the things we love.

This is the beginning of a new school year. It’s a time of change and of opportunity; the opportunity to discover new interests, new friends and new challenges to overcome. It won’t be plain sailing all the way but by keeping the communication going, between parents, teachers and children, obstacles can be spotted early and solutions uncovered to help minimise problems.

Einstein, Caesar and Richard Branson – all dyslexic, all (I think we can safely agree) pretty darn successful! It’s important to remember that the things our children struggle with are a challenge to be overcome, never an excuse, but equally don’t sweat it if your child has trouble with a particular subject; help them to persevere but also find the one thing they really enjoy and help them to achieve success there.

We’re here to raise happy, healthy, confident and well-rounded individuals and the key to that is helping them to be successful in whatever area they choose.

Sophia Lee-Spencer is a blogger, mother-of-two and staunch BrainBox fan.

The 12 BrainBox Days of Christmas

You’ve sung the carols and watched the nativity play, now you’re looking forward to two weeks with the whole family and wondering how you’re going to keep everyone amused. After all, there’s only so much eating, television watching and wet, windy walks you can take!

Here are our very own 12 BrainBox Days of Christmas to keep the whole family entertained. If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, these might just do the trick…

BrainBox Roald Dahl is a whizz-banging, fizz-gurgling whirlwind of all that we love most about his wonderful creations. Our game features Dahl’s unique way with words, combined with Quentin Blake’s unforgettable illustrations, to bring the BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Enormous Crocodile roaring to life.

Buy it Here

One of the most hilarious new games to hit the shelves, Speak Out is a bit like trying to talk about your holidays while you’re at the dentist! Players fit a lip retractor and have to read a phrase from a selected card. Imagine trying to say ‘he’s my stealthy pet ferret named Garrett’ without being able to close your lips…

Our most popular board game, Qwirkle is as simple as matching colours and shapes but also requires tactical manoeuvres and well-planned strategy. Using the tactile wooden blocks, score points by building lines that share a common attribute, either colour or shape. Sounds simple, but imagine how much harder it could be once Granddad’s had his Christmas tipple and tries to help!

Buy it Here

Simply one of the funniest games we’ve seen since we played Twister at the office party, Pie Face does exactly what it says on the tin. Put a blob of whipped cream or a wet sponge on the ‘hand’, and turn the handle for a Russian Roulette style game of chance – you get a point for every turn of the handle without getting splatted!

Teaming up with Horrible Histories, we bring you the most gruesome collection of Villains ever to walk out of the London Dungeon. Featuring historical horrors from Vlad the Impaler to Jack the Ripper, BrainBox Horrible Histories Vile Villains combines the art and black comedy of Horrible Histories with our classic BrainBox format. One for the young teens this Christmas!

Buy it Here

Bananagrams, packaged as neatly as the fruit of its namesake (what a great idea, a fruit that comes in its own lunchbox), is like a mad cross between Scrabble, crosswords and Boggle! Once the timer starts, players race to build word grids with their letters. It’s a great way for children to start exploring letters and words, and it’s just as much fun for the rest of the family.

Who could forget that baby iguana and the snakes on Planet Earth II? Here at BrainBox we’re passionate about learning more about the natural world, and here are three of our most popular classics: BrainBox Animals, Nature and Predators. Find out about elephants and gorillas, the Amazon Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, and face your fear of snakes, sharks and spiders!

Buy These Here

After all that excitement, we’ve got another hilarious word game for you. In Obama Llama the trick is to describe the thing that rhymes with the celebrity you’ve picked. So how would you describe or act out Fred Astaire dancing with a bear? There’s even a whole card devoted to Tom Cruise!

A very popular game for us, combining eight different categories including Food and Drink, People and Places and Entertainment, the BrainBox Board Game is a real family favourite. Special squares allow you to pick your own subject category, battle against another player or gamble the cards you hold already in order to win the game. You might want to avoid the Food and Drink category just after Christmas dinner though!

Buy it Here

Now available in many different guises including Disney, Star Wars and even Guildford, Monopoly is probably one of the most played board games in history. Monopoly is a great way to teach children how to handle money and become property tycoons, but has arguably also been the root of endless family quarrels for generations. Remember that time Dad put a hotel on Mayfair?

Probably our bestselling classic game, and one of our first, BrainBox The World is a whistlestop tour of 71 countries. Our beautifully illustrated cards hold a treasure trove of information and useful facts and are a wonderful way of introducing children to the very best this world has to offer. Where else could you find out about Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, kangaroos and the Tour de France in one place?

Buy it Here

Last but by no means least is another classic and rival to Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit. Now available in many different forms, we’ve picked the Family Edition, recently updated and now in a simpler and more accessible format than ever before. In this edition there are two sets of cards, ‘adults’ and ‘kids’, so the older generation don’t need to worry about getting questions on Justin Bieber!

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up, that time of year where you buy a cheeky pair of socks, a bland tie or something completely random picked by a small child for the father figures in your lives. Don’t they deserve better than that for all that they do? Surely this year is the year to trash the boring present trend and break out into the world of creating new fun Father’s Day traditions.

This week we have asked a few UK bloggers what they think dads really want this Father’s Day. The answers were quite surprising: they were all outdoors and not a single bland tie in sight! In fact it was all morse code, fishing and den building. WE LOVE IT!

Laura from Tired Mummy of Two said:
“We try and do something brand new that we can learn together on Father’s Day. My husband is a bit of a geek and loves anything outdoorsy. He wants to learn Morse Code, go fishing or do orienteering this year, something that my girls aren’t overly keen on but hopefully we can make it fun for everyone whichever we do”

The Flights of Fancy Morse Code set might be a great start to Laura’s Father’s Day preparation. It is a sure fire way to get a smile out of her Morse Code loving husband and get him and the kids learning something new together. You’re welcome Laura.

Donna from What The Redhead Said
“I think the children’s dad would really like something thoughtful rather than material – a lay in, breakfast in bed and some quality family time. He would love a nice meal too!

Alice from Life As Alice said:
“We have a tradition where we do something outdoors for Father’s Day, whether it’s a theme park or a long walk, we just get outside all together. This year we have decided we are going to do Den Building in a forest. It is something none of us have done together and that Hoff (my husband, their dad) used to do as a kid. If all else fails and it rains we’ll just build a blanket fort indoors instead, same thing just less washing”.

With that awesome idea in mind, thanks Alice, if you fancy doing something similar with your family, we checked out Pinterest and found this brilliant Den Building infographic which gives a step by step guide.

 

Let us know what you are planning for Father’s Day this year on our social media pages; we’d love to see what you’re getting up to. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Summer Holidays

The summer holidays are looming and just like most of the country we have the travel bug. Whether it’s a short drive to the coast or a long flight to somewhere fancy, travelling with kids can be a real struggle. We have put together a list of just a few travel must-haves for this summer’s ultimate road trip or flight.

Fully charged tablets & chargers
With all the research we did this was the TOP answer on everybody’s list. However much we get told to limit screen time, travelling with children has been made so much easier with the invention of tablets and phones and it seems it can be completely forgiven to use them on long journeys. Just make sure they’re fully charged and you pack the chargers for the way back.

Travel Games
Not all kids are into tablets and/or get bored of them pretty quickly. So be sure to pack some travel games and toys. The fewer pieces, the better though; there’s nothing worse than having to collect the bits up at the end or heaven forbid you lose a bit; you’ll hear about it for the whole holiday if you do. There are ‘back of the car’ safe travel games such as Story Cards, where their imagination gets them through the time. Or for the older ones there are knowledge based games where they learn and play too like Fast Flags, the ultimate flag matching game.

Travel sickness tablets & sick bags
Be prepared, if they have a history of travel sickness it is better to be safe than sorry. There is nothing worse than the smell of sick for the whole way to your destination.

Baby wipes & change of clothes
For those ‘oops’ moments. You never know with kids, they can make a mess in an empty room. Then there is the toilet issue; I’ll leave that there.

Drinks & snacks
There may be some delays in your journey and there is nothing worse than hungry children in a confined space. Cover the basics by packing some quick and easy snacks, the less messy the better, but you have baby wipes so you’ll be prepared.

Have you got any travel must-have tips? We’d love you to share them on our social media pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Maths on the go

The summer holidays are nearly upon us and for kids that means six weeks away from the classroom, homework and tests. And of course, that’s no bad thing, but just because school’s out for summer doesn’t mean your kids’ education needs to grind to a halt.

With the possibility of long car journeys ahead, or the inevitable delays waiting for planes or trains, why not grab the moment and sneak in some fun but educational games.

Steve Humble, aka Dr Maths, is the man behind many of Green Board Games’ maths related books and puzzles, and also teaches trainee maths teachers at Newcastle University. He believes that it’s important parents try to keep the learning process going when kids are out of school, and that maths particularly lends itself to learning on the go.

“It’s a great opportunity to show kids that maths is all around them,” he says, “and not just something that they have to learn at school. Numbers, patterns, shapes, they’re all there outside of the classroom and in the real world.”

So as well as packing one of Dr Maths’ books, or the fantastic BrainBox maths game, what else can you do to while away those long journeys?

One simple game, not unlike the numbers round in the Channel 4 programme Countdown, is to spot a number with at least four digits – it could be a flight number, a shop sign saying when a firm was established, that kind of thing – and then try and use the individual numbers to make a target value.

Targets with lots of factors like 24 and 32 are good ones to start with. So, for instance, the challenge could be to use 2651, the numbers on the side of a train, to make exactly 36, with a bonus point if you use all four numbers.

Another game Steve suggests is to see how many different shapes you can spot. Squares, circles and rectangles are easy, but what about more obscure shapes like pentagons, or even all the different types of triangles such as equilateral, isosceles and scalene*. Set a time limit and the person to spot the most is the winner.

Basic counting games can also help the time fly. In the car, everyone (best not to include the driver!) picks a colour and then records how many cars of that colour they see over a ten minute period. This also touches on issues of probability, with those looking for yellow cars, for instance, unlikely to be as successful as those spotting silver or red ones.

You can also play this game in the departure lounge, spotting people with different coloured coats, wearing glasses, on the phone etc. And if the kids are really into it, they could even illustrate the results with a simple graph or pie chart.

This is, of course, a variation on pub cricket, a game for the back roads which wend their way through the countryside, when you score runs each time there are ‘legs’ on a pub sign, and are out when there are none. So the White Hart would net you four and the Dog and Duck six, although it was never clear what you scored if you happened to drive past the Beehive…

So there you have it – a few ways to keep their brains switched on during their summer off. Have fun!

* To save you a Google search, an equilateral triangle has three equal sides, an isosceles has two and a scalene none.