Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hottest Toys for Christmas 2014

One Halloween I actually had all my Christmas shopping finished early. It was 2004. My oldest daughter was two and I was pregnant with my second child. My due date was December 7 and I knew that, after her arrival, I wouldn't be able to get much shopping done, especially since that was before the days of much online shopping. Also, back then I had much less to buy - only two children and a couple nieces and nephews. 

Nowadays, I have three kiddos, eight nieces and nephews, more extended family, and teachers to buy gifts for. My list is considerably longer than it used to be. Every year I vow to get my shopping done early and every year I fail. As of today, I haven't bought one single solitary Christmas gift and have only even started a skeleton of a list. 

In an effort to do better and shop earlier, it has become my annual blog tradition to post a list of the toys that are predicted to be the most popular during the upcoming holiday season. Big retailers actually publish their predictions in late September or early October. This year, I compared the lists from Toys R Us, Target, WalMart, and Amazon to compile the following list of this year's hottest toys.




  1. Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart - Doc is a much loved Disney character, so any items associated with her are bound to be popular. However, retailers predict that this one in particular will be flying off the shelves. It is a stuffed animal ambulance complete with gurney, lights, and sirens. It also features phrases from Doc herself and the show's theme song. It costs $50-60.
  2. LeapFrog TV - From the makers of the educational LeapFrog toys kids and parents love, comes this new interactive educational system. Think Wii or Playstation - just educational games for younger children that also get them moving! It costs about $150.
  3. Fur Real Friends Get Up and Go Go My Walkin' Pup - This adorable pet has a remote control leash that allows it to follow kids wherever they go! It also barks and has an app (iOS or Android). The cost is about $50.
  4. Zoomer Dino - Last year, Zoomer the Robot Dog was a big hit! This year, toymakers have created Zoomer Dino. Kids can train this robot dino to dance and chomp. It also roars and has light up eyes. Cost is about $100.
  5. Razor Crazy Cart - Kids and parents are all familiar with the ever popular Razor scooters. Now, there's something even crazier! The electric Crazy Cart looks like lots of fun. You child can ride it go cart style in a straight line, but with the pull of a lever, it goes wild, spinning and twisting in all different directions. It includes a rechargeable battery and is also crazy expensive! It will cost you about $350.
  6. Snow Glow Elsa - There had to be something from Frozen on the list, right? While all toys from this beloved movie are sure to be a hit, this one is predicted to be especially coveted. Her dress lights up and she sings "Let it Go." If she's on your child's list, be prepared to let go of about $35. (Olaf figure is included.)
  7. Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch - Maybe this is the kids' version of the Apple watch! Available in three colors (green, pink, blue), it records video and audio, has games, and, of course, tells time. The cost is $50-60.
  8. Transformers Stomp and Chomp Grimlock - With three daughters, I don't know much about Transformers, but this toy was on several lists. He transforms from a robot to a dinosaur with eyes that light up and jaws that chomp. He also costs about $70.
  9. Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote Control Flying Car - With the remote control, kids can race it on the ground or fly it throughout the air! It costs $50-60.
  10. Palace Pets Magic Dance Pumpkin - Pumpkin is Cinderella's puppy. With Pumpkin's magic wand, your child can dance with her, too. She can also bow and wag her tail on command. Pumpkin costs $50-60.


    Honorable Mentions

    These toys didn't quite make the top ten, but were on some of the lists and deserve a mention.

  • Paw Patrol HQ Look-out Playset-From Nickelodeon's ├╝ber popular show, kids can recreate their favorite episodes with an elevator that moves and a working periscope. ($40) 
  • Light Up FlutterBye Fairy - These fairies fly and light up! ($30)
  • Air Storm Fire Tek Bow - With LED lights and whistling arrows, this one is bound to be a hit. ($30)
  • Hot Wheels Super Loop Chase Race Track - Kids can launch multiple cars and watch them race around the three-foot tall loop! ($45)

    I hope this list was helpful as you begin to make your holiday gift list! 
    Will your kids be asking for any of these??? What else is on their lists?

This post was written as part of the Finish The Sentence Friday Linkup.


Finish the Sentence Friday

This week's hosts are:
Kristi from Finding Ninee
Dana from Kiss My List
April from 100lb Countdown

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Do You Remember These Cartoons From Childhood? (#TuesdayTen Linkup)

I am so tired of today's kids' TV shows. Since my girls are a little older, they don't watch many cartoons anymore. Instead, they watch the over-acted, ridiculously stupid "tween" shows on Nickelodeon and Disney. For example, one they like is "Dog With a Blog." Really? It's about a dog that talks and types. They also like Austin and Ally, Jessie, and Victorious. In most of these shows the parents are either very scarce or they seem to be the butt of the jokes and made to look exceptionally unintelligent. Experts say you should watch TV with your kids to combat the bd influence, but I just cannot sit through these shows. It's painful. 

(In fact, I wrote a post a while back about Family TV Shows from the 80's I wish were still on!)

Fortunately, since today is National Animation Day, I have a chance to reminisce about the TV shows from my childhood, mostly cartoons, that were so much more intelligent! (wink, wink)

There are a couple enormous differences. First of all, I watched cartoons on Saturday morning and that's it. When I was older, there were a few that were syndicated in the afternoons, but it was mostly Saturday morning. Nowadays, kids' shows are on 24/7. My kids should probably turn on the TV at 2:00am and find one if "their" shows. If not, they would simply go to Netflix or the "On Demand" channels. Secondly, I watched cartoons all through elementary school, but now, animated show are primarily considered to be for preschoolers and toddlers. Aside from SpongeBob or Phineas and Ferb, most of the shows for older kids are done by actors. 

So what were my favorite cartoons from childhood? Here's my top ten:


1. The Smurfs - This was my favorite. In fact, I quit a Saturday morning dance class when I was about 5 because, to attend, I had to miss the Smurfs on Saturday morning.   I didn't really like the teacher, either, but mostly it was because of the Smurfs! 


2. Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes - Bug, Daffy Duck, PePe LePew, Foghorn Leghorn, the Tazmanian Devil,  Sylverter and Tweety, Wile E. Coyote, and the Roadrunner were classics!



3.  Tom and Jerry - Another classic that, come to think of it, I'm not sure if my kids have ever even seen!



4. Scooby Doo - "Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you?"   I used to love this one. Of course, I didn't get the 60's undertones. I just thought Scooby and Shaggy were funny.



5. Inspector Gadget - I had almost forgotten about this one. Even now as a mom, I would LOVE to have some Go-Go Gadget arms!



6. Charlie Brown - It doesn't get more classic than this! It's a great memory today, too. Last year, my two youngest daughters and I were too sick with the flu to attend our church Christmas Even service. Instead, we sat snuggled up together on the couch and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas on my computer. :-)



7. The Snorks - Do you remember the Snorks? 



8. Alvin and the Chipmunks -  I even had an Alvin and the Chipmunks cassette tape that I listened to on my walkman while I rode my bike! 



9. Care Bears - I love that these came back around a few years ago, but I watched the originals. 



10. Punky Brewster - I wanted a Glomer of my own! 



There you have it - 10 cartoons from my childhood.  What cartoons do you remember from your childhood? Which ones were your favorites?



Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers


The Teacher Wife
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Come link up again next Tuesday, November 4, when we will fantasize about all the things we would do if we had 2 extra hours each day in honor of Daylight Savings Time ending!

The Golden Spoons





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Advice for Young Moms - From a Not So Young Anymore Mom

For an entire week, this Tuesday Ten topic had me stumped, which is ironic because it was my idea. Also ironic because, looking back through my posts, it seems I frequently give advice. My favorite post ever is the Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughters which is basically life advice for them. More recently, I wrote a letter to my oldest daughter when she started middle school spouting all kinds of advice for her. I have even shared tips for other bloggers from time to time. This time around, though, I couldn't come up with anything.

That is until today (Monday). This morning, I was studying with a wonderful group of women and we had a discussion about how, as moms, we sometimes lose ourselves in the day to day of motherhood. We sometimes leave behind careers and, therefore, our previous identities. The conversation seemed to strike a chord and even a few tears were shed. Then, we talked about finding the gifts we have to share. For me, it all came together. One gift I have to share is my experience.

You see, I am no longer a "young mom" (i.e. a mom of young children). My girls are now 7, 9, and 12. I am no longer in the throes of baby land and toddlerhood. BUT, I've been there. I've nearly drowned in the day to day monotony of diapers and breastfeeding and tantrums. I've lost myself and found myself again. I've come out on the other side of it all and I can look back at it through a different lens from what I had when I was wrapped up in the tornado of it all. Parenting definitely comes in stages. My current stage allows me to see where I've been and, maybe, share some words of wisdom with others who are in the trenches right now. 
  1. Find your tribe. This is advice that is given to bloggers. It means to find a group of other bloggers who write about similar topics and who will support you by sharing your posts, having your back when commenters get nasty, and helping you out of a writing funk. Moms need a tribe, too. Find a group of other moms who are going through what you are going through; who can laugh with you and cry with you; who will have your back and help you out of a down time. 
  2. Develop a support network. This is different from your tribe, although they may cross over some. Your support network is the people you turn to in a pinch. The people who will come to your rescue when your husband is out of town and you haven't showered in 2 days. The people who you can call to stay with the toddler while you take the baby to the doctor because you were up all night and just can't handle the toddler in the waiting room, too. They are the people who will ALWAYS be there when you say "Help!" It may be friends, family, or even colleagues.
  3. Ask for help. This one is repeated often and so hard for moms to embrace. All moms are superwomen, but we are not super human. When you are sleep deprived, overwhelmed, and don't think you can make it another minute, reach out. Ask for a sitter just so you can take a nap. Call Dominos and don't feel guilty. Hire a cleaning service. When you are about to crack, let someone else share the load.
  4. Find a way to feed your soul. Do you love to run or go to the gym? Maybe you like to sew or write. It's hard, I know, but carve out the time to do it. (See #2 and #3) Figure out what pieces of the "before mom" you are most important and hold on to it at all costs.
  5. Breathe. I used to pass out when I got a shot until a nurse once reminded me that I had to breathe. As moms, we hold our proverbial breath waiting for the crying to stop, the first step to be taken, or just for the day to finally be over. We lose our temper and, it feels like, our sanity. In those moments, just breathe. Close your eyes and breathe.  
  6. "This too shall pass." As you breathe, repeat this mantra to yourself. With kids who are a little older now, I can promise you with certainty that it will pass. The breastfeeding that feels like you're chained to this little human; the incessant crying as those first teeth come in; the terrible two's and the tumultuous threes - all of it will pass and you will survive. 
  7. Cut yourself some slack. Nobody is perfect and we are no exception to that rule just because we are moms. You will screw up. You will forget the diaper bag or at least the diapers. You will miss an appointment. You won't get a shower every day and you will not always prepare healthy meals for your family. You won't always be a good wife or a good mom. It's okay. Your family will still think you are the best mom/wife in the whole wide world because you are absolutely the best mom/wife in the whole wide world for them - even at your worst.      
  8. Accept affirmations. Do you have a tendency to deflect compliments? I do. When I would complain that I felt like a gerbil on a wheel who accomplished nothing of significance on a daily basis, my wonderful husband would point to our girls and say "Yes you did. You accomplished that. You gave them life and you cared for them today. There is no greater accomplishment than that." He was right.
  9. Watch them sleep. At the end of the day, no matter how hard it has been or how tired you are, go in quietly and just watch them sleep. Soak in their little hands and their round cheeks. Follow the rhythm of their breathing. You will be utterly convinced that they are angels here on earth and all the stress will melt away.
  10. Trust your gut. At the end of the day, you don't have to listen to me or anyone else who gives you nuggets of unsolicited advice. You are the best mom that your child(ren) could possibly have and nobody can love them like you do. Trust your instincts and everything will work out just fine.

Breathe. Watch them sleep. Advice for Young Moms from a Not So Young Anymore Mom via @TheGoldenSpoons


Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:

TheLiebers


The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
RULES:
1) Link up a post, old or new, pertaining to the TuesdayTen topic for this week and add our TuesdayTen button to your post or sidebar.
2) Please do not link up contests, product reviews, or sponsored posts. Links not pertaining to the topic will be removed at the hosts' discretion.
3) Visit your hosts and follow them on social media.
4) Visit as many other linked posts as you can and show those bloggers some love by commenting and/or sharing.
5) By linking up you agree to be subscribed to out #TuesdayTen mailing list. Emails are only sent once a week and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here.

Come link up again next Tuesday! October 28 is National Animation Day, so we'll be sharing our favorite (or least favorite) cartoons. Past or present - it doesn't matter!

The Golden Spoons





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