Good morning, friends!
If you’ve been reading my posts (I hope so!) for the past few days, or following my tweets, you may have noticed that three “little” words have been showing up sporadically. little.big.planet. Now for those of you who aren’t a true gamer like me, I’ll fill you in on the deets.
This is a sackboy.
Isn’t he cute? Well, each player gets one. As you complete challenges and collect stickers and other fun items, you can customize your character and update his (or her!) look. For the record, my sackboygirl is made of hot pink fabric and wears a black and white polka dot dress, fairy wings, hot pink sunglasses, and purple pigtails. She also sports a zebra tail (and occasionally bunny ears — if she’s feeling frisky).
So what exactly is Little Big Planet? Well, with the help of SONY’s web site, I’ll tell you:
If you were to stand on LittleBigPlanet and try to imagine a more astounding, fantastic, and creative place, full of enthralling adventure, uncanny characters, and brilliant things to do… you couldn’t. All imagination is here, and what you do with it all is entirely up to you.
Build new levels and expand the environment, collect the many and varied tools and objects to make your mark on this world, or just simply enjoy the people and puzzles they’ve set.
LittleBigPlanet is the manifested embodiment of your perfect dream world…
Doesn’t it sound magical?!
I’ve really enjoyed playing this game with the Mister and bonding over the challenges we complete together (even if most of the time he yells at my poor little sackgirl…she tries!). But in addition to the fun and laughs we’re sharing together, we’re also improving our mental health.
The Washington Post recently reported that playing video games helps relieve stress, fight depression and also fine-tune cognitive skills.
From James Gee, a professor of learning sciences at the University of Wisconsin and expert on the subject:
To understand why games might be good for the mind, begin by shedding the cliché that they are about improving hand-eye coordination and firing virtual weapons. The majority of video games on the best-seller list contain no more bloodshed than a game of Risk. The most popular games are not simply difficult in the sense of challenging manual dexterity; they challenge mental dexterity as well. The best-selling game of all time, The Sims, involves almost no hand-eye coordination or quick reflexes. One manages a household of characters, each endowed with distinct drives and personality traits, each cycling through an endless series of short-term needs (companionship, say, or food), each enmeshed in a network of relationships with other characters. Playing the game is a nonstop balancing act: sending one character off to work, cleaning the kitchen with another, searching through the classifieds for work with another. Even a violent game like Grand Theft Auto involves networks of characters that the player must navigate and master, picking up clues and detecting patterns. The text walk-through for Grand Theft Auto III—a document that describes all the variables involved in playing the game through to the finish—is 53,000 words long, the length of a short novel. But despite the complexity of these environments, most gamers eschew reading manuals or walk-throughs altogether, preferring to feel their way through the game space.
My point is, it’s simple to stereotype video games as bad. And yes, in some cases, people can take it too far – recall the South Park World of Warcraft episode? But for me, unwinding at the end of the day by building imaginary worlds and trying on the latest fairy wings and tiaras with my Mister seems to be just what the doctor ordered And plus, it’s way too cold to do anything else!
How do you unwind at the end of the day? Do you ever play video games?
Good morning, friends!
I haven’t yet shared this with you, because I’m still getting over the aggravation and even thinking about it makes me FUME. Seriously, my blood is boiling as I type this…But, it’s Thankful Thursday and thus I’m focusing my energy on other matters.
My surgery has been indefinitely postponed.
I guess my surgeon hurt his back pretty badly and is actually going to be in the hospital until SEPTEMBER (at least!). When another surgeon was offered up to me, I took the chance, but he doesn’t have an opening until SEPTEMBER 4. At that point, I’d rather just wait a few more weeks for my surgeon who performed my first surgery and knows my history. (What would you of done?)
Anyway, after a few moments of utter frustration and fist banging (I think my colleagues now officially think I’ve lost it!), I’m able to let it go.
Every cloud has a silver lining, right?
Well, my silver lining is that I now get to enjoy the rest of summer without a limp!
This week I’m thankful it’s still summer. Mainly because I still haven’t done half the things I was so excited to do! So I thought today would be a good opportunity for all of us to take stock in our summer thus far. Have you done everything you wanted to? Have you played outside and gotten to the beach? Have you run through a sprinkler or stopped at a lemonade stand? Have you watched the stars or gone on a picnic with your friends or loved one? I’ve done some of those things, but not as many as I would like.
In an effort to refocus my energy (and subtly let the Mister know what’s in store for him), I decided to make a list of what I’d still like to do this summer…
- Go to the zoo
- Pack a picnic lunch and go somewhere adventurous
- Go camping (preferably in a TENT!)
- Go canoeing
- Take a blanket and snacks to the park and watch the stars
- Go to a drive in movie
- Go fishing
- Fly a kite
I hope you are ready, Mister!
The beach awaits!
What’s on your list?
Remember to submit all Fashion Friday contest entries by midnight tonight!
When you hear (or think!) Cleveland, the first thought that comes to your mind probably isn’t luscious, green parks filled with walking and hiking trails, streams and picnic areas. Well it should be! Yes, we are more than steel factories up here! The area’s most under-rated and beautiful gem, The Cleveland Metroparks, one of several Ohio Metroparks, is a system of nature preserves in Greater Cleveland that encircle the city of Cleveland, and are right in our own backyard.
Courtesy of Wikipedia:
“These generally follow the rivers that flow through the region to Lake Erie. Referred to affectionately as the “Emerald Necklace” the network of 16 reservations across 22,000 acres (89 km²) includes hundreds of miles of walking, bicycle, and horse trails, parks, picnic areas, five nature education centers, six golf courses, and abundant fishing holes. In addition, the park district manages the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland. Several of the parks are adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”
As part of our ADVENTUROUS weekend, the Mister and I spent an entire day at the North Chagrin Reservation. We hiked through the park for more than 3 1/2 hours and we didn’t even see it all (Note: there are 16 reservations total, we explored ONE).
While we were hiking we talked quite a bit about the Metroparks and how lucky we are to have such a great park system. We realized that we don’t utilize it enough and are planning on exploring one area of the Metropark reservations every weekend for the rest of the summer. I’m THRILLED with this new plan! Not only do I love the outdoors, but hiking is a great way to get in our exercise, without having to go to the gym and feel like a lil hamster on a wheel.
See, believe it or not, I’ve never been quite good at sports. Sure, I danced competitively for several years, and I think know it’s a real sport, but you know what I mean… tennis….soccer…softball…basketball…the list goes on. See, for a klutzy girl who doesn’t know her left from right (SERIOUSLY, I still have to do the little “L” thing with my hand — I wish I was kidding), sports and I didn’t really get along. I think this plays a bit into why I like hiking so much! While so many sports require special equipment or training, hiking isn’t as complicated. Anyone can put on a pair of shoes or boots and a backpack with a few snacks and necessary equipment and start moving into the woods for a day with nature, and voila! — you are hiking.
According to an article highlighting the benefits of hiking, “hiking or trekking allows us to maintain our body in good working condition by walking which is really a good exercise. It improves our physical as well as mental health and the list of benefits from hiking and trekking is infinite. Hiking is essentially walking that is considered to be one of the most perfect forms of exercise for your body. You can get a chance to spend some quality time together with the Mother Nature, so it also provides a mental health antidote. Everyone can find trails to suit their physical strengths. And unlike other activities or sports, it is a pursuit that allows people to determine their own limitations.”
As far as the actual health benefits associated with hiking, the list may go endless consisting of several mental as well as physical health benefits, “such as losing excess pounds, preventing heart disease, decreasing hypertension or high blood pressure, improving and maintaining mental health, slowing the aging process, preventing osteoporosis, improving the quality of the air we breathe, preventing and controlling diabetes, improving arthritis, relieving back pain (which has become an epidemic in the modern contemporary world) along with healthy habits for a healthy life i.e. team building skills, positive attitude, kindness, empathy.”
In addition, hiking is FREE! Except for a few ESSENTIALS (i.e. LARA bars ), all you need is an open trail. It’s a great activity to enjoy with your partner, family or kids and the level of difficulty can be adjusted accordingly.
So get out there! Explore some of your city’s parks and hiking trails! Don’t have any? Create your own! Head into the woods with a friend (don’t forget a compass!) and get exploring. Happy hiking!
Take a look at some of our photos for inspiration:
North Chagrin Reservation
North Chagrin Reservation
North Chagrin Reservation
Me at Squire's Castle!
Close up on Squire's Castle
Look at a lil friend we found!
Our new friend, trying to keep up
How often do you take advantage of your local parks?