Summer’s Top Rated Toys Ages 0-13: August 2012

20120813-232546.jpgAs promised, here are more top toy picks culled from Amazon. This time I selected five gems in each age group based on customer ratings (my sorting was 4+ stars–many with 5–and most had to have at least 100 reviews). I also tried make sure not to duplicate any products featured back in July–but feel free to check out that post again here. I’ve also included some personal gifts i gave to my own kids this month that did not make the top five list, but did make my family very happy. Enjoy!

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Giving Back: Gift Shopping for Good

20120804-205603.jpgI hate to admit it but a hefty shopping trip is often times my cardio for the day–hey, don’t judge lest you be judged. I do live in the city so walking 40 blocks with 4-5 bags in tow is no easy feat, so I can get an elevated heart rate and break a sweat especially in the August heat but recently I’ve been hit with a wave of gratitude that has me looking for more ways to give back and it’s so much more fun to do so when it involves something you enjoy. For me, it’s shopping and gift-giving.

Here are some ways to do both while also giving to others in need.

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6 Really Cool Stationery Sites

20120719-232119.jpgWhen I was a little girl, I was given a set of Crane’s stationery for my First Communion from someone I don’t now remember. Because of the simple and clean look of the stationery, that gift really came in handy at that time because I used them to send thank-you notes. However, stationery has come a long way, and the web has given shoppers and gift givers options like never before from variety to customization and crowd sourcing. Here are some options on my list to give AND get (remember, even if you get stationery, you’re going to be giving it to people over time).

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A Summertime Tea Party: Favor Ideas and More

I love having parties and gatherings celebrating special moments and it’s so fun when activities can be fun take-aways along with thematic party favors. Last summer I threw my mother a 65th birthday party. I wanted it to feel intimate and draw on themes that felt special to her so, of course, I looked to her likes and interests for inspiration. She loves tea, she’s an artist, a little quirky (in a good way) and her birthday usually falls right before Labor Day–the last official weekend of summer. I had the start of something good, I thought…now I just had to pull these pieces together and create a memorable event for my mom and our guests.