toys

Gifts When Meeting A New Baby

20130119-133050.jpgOne of my closest friends from childhood had a baby last week and I’m meeting him for the first time today. Suffice it to say, I’m beyond excited–first, I love babies and second, I remember getting the text last June that she was preggers and have been following this pregnancy with much joy and anticipation.

When thinking about a gift for a new, first baby I always go back to my first year arsenal of must-have items that saved my new-mommy tush from meltdowns, helped me cram in a much-needed shower or just added some joy to our daily reprieve. Here are some of those items.
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Totally Awesome Gifts for Babies, Kids and Teens

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This Holiday season I have a total of ten kids to buy for (one is still in-uterero), and that’s before I get to my own two. I love shopping for kids…no really, I do. What I don’t always love–but actually do appreciate in a weird kind of way–is how brutally honest kids can be about whether a gift truly is cool or not. They have no filter at all and don’t feel the need to pretend to love those argyle socks and brown braided belt. Why should they…psst: don’t get a kid a belt and socks from Crewcuts when they want a Transformer from Target. Anyway, I went on a search for some cool kid-picks that could pass-muster with even the most brutally honest recipient and I have to say I think there might even be one or two adult cross-overs in contention, (does that make them automatically uncool though??). *Sigh*

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Giving Back: Holiday Charities and Shopping

Over the next 31 days, it’s easy to get caught up in buying and acquiring. I feel incredibly lucky (thus far and knock wood) to have been able to provide my family with a holiday that includes delicious food, a warm house and a bunch of selections from their respective lists… but I know not everyone is as fortunate. Please take a few minutes to check out the opportunities to help other families during this festive season, I’ve included a few below.

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50 Unique Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Image courtesy of Stewart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re anything like me, you believe the best gifts come in small packages. That’s why I LOVE buying stocking stuffers. When I was a youngster, every year I knew that there would be one very special gift in my stocking among the little fun things that were also there and it was always so much fun anticipating where it would be–under the chocolate Santa…after the silly putty…before the socks? Below are some fun and unique stocking stuffer ideas (some links are also available to see some of my picks for each) meant to inspire and delight your recipients…and feel free to add your ideas in the comments below.

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October Top Toys: Get Holiday Gifting Ready

20121029-212904.jpgRemember when Holiday shopping started AFTER Thanksgiving? Me too! This year I started getting catalogs and emails after my kids went back to school. Then the panic started–have I been asleep at the shopping wheel, should I be more prepared? Every year it seems we get inundated with Christmas promotions and Chanukah sales earlier and earlier but what this also means is that ultimately people ARE shopping so there is more competition for selection so starting to think about your gift list now is prudent. That’s why I’m dedicating my regular end-of-month toy feature to gifting ideas and thought starters, as always from Amazon.com. Enjoy!

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September’s Top Toys: Hot Picks For Fall

If you’re anything like me, you start holiday shopping in October so get ready for tomorrow…because it is ON. As luck would have it and as I do at the end of every month, I’m rounding up the the top toys — by popularity and rating as tracked by Amazon.com — across a number of categories and I’ve already earmarked a few ideas for my Christmas and Chanukah shopping lists.  Featured below are selections from: action & toy figures, dolls and doll accessories, construction & blocks, arts & craft, outdoor gym & swing sets, learning & educational toys, play vehicles and games. Bear in mind, the prices listed are “List Prices” however, on Amazon you can often find items deeply discounted (many of these featured items are), so make sure to check.

PS – Stay tuned for special Halloween posts coming soon too. Happy Fall!

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25 Moon and Space Themed Gifts

20120826-201220.jpgNeil Armstrong was one of those luminaries I didn’t think about every day–he didn’t trend on twitter, didn’t have a reality show or make the Yahoo homepage until the other day (pathetic that this is the barometer, but that’s another post). But when I heard of his passing I, like many others, was very sad. Here’s one possible reason why (I think): one of his most notable achievements debunked an impossible dream. Entire generations had grown up believing that a lunar landing, let alone a walk was a pipe dream, a fantasy, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t anymore. Anything was possible, even walking on the moon. Now, of course it wasn’t “all of a sudden.” There was hard work and training and time that went into the Moon Landing, but what that event represented and what that taught us all was that you (we/me) can do anything.
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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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Summer’s Hottest Toys by Age (0-13)

20120724-203407.jpgEvery month, I’ll recap the hottest toys for kids ages 0-13 based on Amazon popularity and, of course, will throw in personal choice picks culled from my own gifting that month. So whether you’re looking for a birthday gift, new sibling gift, graduation present, tooth fairy surprise or just want to make someone’s day special, here’s what’s cool right now for itty-bitty newborns to the toddler set, for preschoolers to grade schoolers, all the way up to tweens and (*gasp*) early teens. Then toys are not cool. Try these other guides on skulls and spikes instead.

NOTE: Prices listed are the manufacturer list price, and do not necessarily reflect the current purchase price on Amazon (read: AMZ is possibly cheaper–and always changing–so don’t let sticker shock stop you…check it out and see).

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