Sep 25, 2014

Christmas Countdown 2014

I glanced at my calendar this morning and noticed the date and then went about my business for the day.

But, then a few hours later, it struck me... there is exactly 3 months until Christmas!

How crazy is that? I have no idea where 2014 went and can't believe that it's already time for me to start planning out our Christmas. (I do this 2-3 months in advance just because I like to be super planned and not stressed out during the holidays).

So, I sat down today and I wrote down a Christmas gift checklist to see who I will be buying gifts for this year. Not much has changed from last year, but my daughter started kindergarten this year so I did have to add her teacher to the list as well a small treat/gift bag for her class as well.

I also noticed that the Christmas movies are starting super early this year as well.

I was watching a movie on the Hallmark channel last week and it had a commercial stating the Countdown to Christmas starts Oct 31 with the premier of a new Christmas movie.

Um... am I the only person that thinks Halloween is too early for Christmas movies? I know that I like to start planning the holiday out and even start my Christmas shopping in October, but I'm not ready for Christmas movies yet.

Actually, last year I sort of got burned out on Christmas movies before Christmas was even here. This year I may just wait and not turn on the Hallmark Channel until after Thanksgiving since they usually replay all the movies they premier in November again in December.

So, have you started your Christmas planning yet this year? Any really big gift or party plans with you and your family this year?

Jul 10, 2014

Think Hobbies When It Comes to Gifts for Guys

When it comes to buying gifts for guys, one of the easiest ways that I figure out a good gift idea is to look at the man's hobbies.

Whether I am buying a gift for my dad, brother, or husband, I can usually come up with a good idea that has to do with their hobby, no matter what it may be.

Here are some examples of popular hobbies that men may have and some gift ideas for each one.

Hobby: Guns

My husband is a big gun enthusiast, so I know that I can buy him anything to do with guns and ammo and he will be happy. It doesn't even matter if he already has the item or something like it.

If you want a simple gift for a gun enthusiast, then look for things like ammo, shooting targets, and even things like shooting related bumper stickers and pictures. You can even get them a t-shirt that shows their love of shooting.

If you don't mind spending more money then go for something like a gun cleaning kit, small handgun safe, and gun and rifle bags. You can also find some ammo cases for pretty cheap and buy a few of them and even fill them with ammo for a really nice gift.

Hobby: Golf

Golf lovers are pretty easy to buy for as well.

If you want a simple and inexpensive gift, things like golf balls, tees, and even a practice putting kickback putter. You could even put together a nice gift basket with a few golf balls, tees, golf towels, and maybe a gift certificate for a round of golf at a nice local golf course.

For more expensive gifts, you can always buy him new clubs, a new quality made golf bag, a membership to a local golf course, or some nice golf clothes.

If you really want to impress him, buy him some personalized golf balls or a golf GPS tracker.

Hobby: Sports and Sports Teams

If you have a guy in your life who is really into a certain sports team or watching a certain sport, then you should have plenty of options for gifts.

Keep it simple with a t-shirt or a hat from the team or even something really inexpensive like a bumper sticker or beach towel.

If you don't mind spending the money, tickets to a game or sporting event is probably the ultimate gift idea. If the tickets aren't that expensive you can always add in a nice shirt to wear to the game as well.

If your guy likes to actually play the sport, then just find something that he can use. For example if he plays soccer you can buy him a t-shirt that has to do with soccer or some practice gear for the sport. If he likes to play softball, then buy him some new batting gloves or some shorts and socks he can wear to the game.

Hobby: Beer

If your man really likes beer and is a beer connosiurr, then this should be pretty easy to buy him a gift.

Find his favorite beer of all time and simply buy him some. If you don't know what his favorite is or you can't find it, then check out some of the local brewarioes that you have around you and see if they offer tours for a gift.

You can also find beer of the month clubs that you can sign him up for and he can get different beers each month to try.

Hobby: Fishing or Camping

For a guy that likes to fish or camp, simply buy him stuff he can use outdoors. This could be as simple as a nice hat for being out in the sun or even something small like a mini keychain size multi tool or knife.

If you don't mind spending more money, things like a new fishing rod, reel, tackle box, and  utility vest could be good gift ideas for fishermen.

For men who like to camp, simple survival tools like a nice quality knife or a little portable tool set would be a good gift idea as well as other items like a new sleeping bag,  a small portable stove, and an air mattress would also be great gifts.

No matter what hobby the guy has, there are always items you buy that would relate to the hobby and be something that he would love and use.

Oct 15, 2013

Best Kid's Movies on DVD 2013

Movies make great gifts for kids. If you are considering buying a child in your life a movie this Christmas, check out my selection for the best kid's movies on DVD for 2013.

Despicable Me 2

No longer a villain, Gru makes jams and jellies with his herd of little yellow minions and parents his three girls Agnes, Edith, and Margo. After throwing his daughter a ginormous birthday party, Gru is kidnapped by Lucy Wild, who is an Anti-Villain League operative, to help the league apprehend a criminal who has made an entire secret lab disappear from the Arctic Circle and stolen a dangerous transition formula.

Gru joins in on the plan to capture the criminal and starts a bakery at the mall with Lucy. Meanwhile the minions run amuck and completely steal the show. And Gru may just decide to enter the dating scene and give the girls the mom they long for.

Kids and adults have absolutely fallen in love with the minions and in the second film they do definitely take over the show and are hilarious. This movie is great for younger kids because of the minions as well as older ones who may relate to the storyline more.

The Despicable Me 2 release date is December 10, but can pre-order it now and get it on your doorstep on December 10.

Monsters University 

This movie is actually a prequel to the hit movie Monsters Inc. In this movie we get to see how Sulley and Mike Wazowski became life-long friends when they met at Monsters University.

Mike has always dreamed of being a scarer since he was a little monster but things don't go as he plans once he goes to college. Instead him and hotshot scarer (James P. Sullivan) Sulley get kicked out of the elite Scare Program.

The two realize that they must work together along with a bunch of other monster misfits if they want to succeed and make it right.

If your child is a fan of Monsters Inc, they will love the new Monsters University. You have the popular Sulley and Mike and then a new cast of some funny misfit monsters as well. This movie definitely won't disappoint kids or parents.

Monsters University will be released October 29, 2013, but you can pre-order it now.

The Croods

Join this prehistoric family on an adventure as they journey to a whole new world that they never knew existed before. They used to simply just live in a cave and not go very far, but now when their cave has been destroyed they join a boy name Guy as he introduces them to new views and fascinating creatures.

This movie is full of physical as well as slapstick humor. Although the movie is quite funny and kids will enjoy the laughing there is an underlying message of how change can be good and things aren't always the way they seem. There is an actual story to the movie but yet it will keep a child's attention. This is truly a good family movie for parents and kids.

This kid's movie is recommended for ages 8 and older although most parents wouldn't have a problem with their younger kids watching the movie as well.

More Great Movies for Kids To Give As Gifts

Here are even more great movies for kids that came out in 2013 that would make great Christmas gifts this year.

Disney PlanesDisney Planes

The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Platinum Edition)The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Platinum Edition)

Veggie Tales: Merry Larry and the True Light of ChristmasVeggie Tales: Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas

Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway the MovieThomas & Friends: King of the Railway the Movie

Disney Teen Beach MovieDisney Teen Beach Movie

DreamWorks TurboDreamWorks Turbo

Oct 14, 2013

When Should You Start Christmas Shopping?

I hear the question, "When should you start Christmas shopping?" all the time from friends, family members and even other friends online.

My answer is always, "Whenever you want."

My belief is that it is never too early to start your Christmas shopping. In fact I actually will pick up gifts for other people all throughout the year if I see something that I know they would love and can get it for a really good price.

For example, my daughter absolutely loves stuffed animals. She has about 20 stuffed animals that she rotates sleeping with. (She would sleep with all of them if I let her!)

After Christmas I was at a local department store and they had these Christmas teddy bears that were marked 70% percent off, so I picked up two of them and will be giving them to her as a Christmas gift this year. She will love the teddy bears and I only paid about $5 for two of them when they were originally around $15 each.

If you are looking for an official start to the Christmas shopping season, most people consider Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) as the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

But, I know lots of people who start their Christmas shopping the day after Halloween because that is usually when stores start running pretty good sales for holiday items.

I have actually been known to be done Christmas shopping (except for a few added bonus gifts) by the time Black Friday even rolls around. I am the type of person that likes to get shopping done early so I know I have everything.

That is just who I am but I know plenty of people who start shopping on the weekend after Thanksgiving as well as people who don't start shopping until the week before Christmas.

It really is your choice when you start Christmas shopping, but I do recommend you try my tip of shopping throughout the year if you can get some awesome deals on gifts you know people would love.

Best Inexpensive Android Tablet for Kids

If you are looking to buy your child an Android tablet as a gift and you don't have a lot of money or you simply just want to get the most out of your money, then check out the best inexpensive Android tablet for kids.

There is nothing worse than buying your child a big gift and then finding out the toy or gadget doesn't work well or doesn't do what you want it to do. Just because you don't have a lot of money to spend doesn't mean you still can't get a good tablet for your kid.

You actually do have more than one option for an Android tablet that isn't expensive but still works great and has nice features for kids.

The Best Cheap Android Tablets for Kids That Are Worth Buying

FastTouch 7 Inch Android Tablet 4.1

Although this tablet is not specifically for kids, it is one of the best tablets you can buy for under $100 (sale price). I actually recommend buying this tablet over one that is made specifically for children because it will work better and there are tons of apps that you can download for kids that will make it educational and fun for them.

This tablet has everything you would need for your child. You can access the web, play movies, read eBooks and choose from a huge library of Android apps that are geared towards children. It is the perfect size for kids and is lightweight and you can always buy a cover for the tablet if you are afraid of your child damaging it.

The tablet has built in wifi, a dual-facing camera, the latest popular apps and comes ready to use.  The item does come with a stylus pen but it is not a must that you use it. It is super user friendly so kids shouldn't have a problem learning to use it quickly.

Contixo Kids 7-inch Touch Screen Android 4.1 Tablet

If you are looking for an inexpensive tablet that is specifically for kids, then this is your best choice. You can buy this tablet for under $100 on sale and it is especially made for children between the ages of 4 – 12 years old.

The tablet is preloaded with apps that are just for kids and best of all the tablet will actually grow with your child. Your child can use it when they are 5 and still get use out of it when they are 10. There are curriculum programs for grades pre-K through 6th grade and parents can track the child's progress as well.

There are also other fun apps such as drawing, popular games, fun educational games, and puzzles. Kids can also access the internet, watch movies and TV, and read eBooks with the tablet. Parents can also control what the child has access to on the device. It also has a camera so that kids can take and share pictures as well.

When buying this tablet you do have to keep in mind that it is specifically made for children and that you do get what you pay for. Don't expect a high quality tablet for this kind of money but it definitely does do the job if you don't have a lot of money to spend.

It has a rubber protection case that comes with it and is available in green, blue and pink.

With how popular tablets have become you don't have to spend a ton of money on a device for your kids. There are plenty of options for inexpensive Android tablets for kids but I would definitely recommend the FastTouch tablet as one of the best.

Oct 7, 2013

Gift Idea for 10 Year Old Girls: Jewelry Making Sets for Girls

If you are stuck on what to get a 10 year old girl for a gift then you should definitely consider jewelry making sets for girls. There are all kinds of different jewelry sets you can choose from such the latest craze of rubber bracelets to fashion headbands.

Check out the all different great gift ideas of jewelry making sets for girls below and make a 10 year old girl really happy this Christmas.

Most Popular Jewelry Making Sets for Girls

Twistz Bands Rainbow Loom Set

Rubber brand bracelets are the latest rage right now with young girls. This is actually a loom that you use to make different patterns with the included rubber bands to make some super cute bracelets. The set comes with 600 latex free rubber bands in a variety of different colors as well as instructions and templates to make several different style of bracelets.

Right now this would probably be the biggest hit with any 10 year old girl. It's fun to make the bracelets with the loom and different colors and then you can show off your styles when you wear them or give them to friends.

Fashion Headbands Kit

This set has a wide array of different plain headbands along with all the accessories you need to make several different fashion headbands. You can create 10 headbands with this kit.

There are flowers, ribbons, feathers, a butterfly, and rhinestones that can all be used to make these pretty fashion headbands.

This would also make a nice gift for a girl's birthday party or a rainy day activity she can do with a friend and they can each make their own headbands.

Opti Art Gemstone Jewelry Kit

This is a pretty cool jewelry kit that combines different paper patterns along with gemstones to make all kinds of different cool jewelry pieces.

The kit comes with everything you need to make pins, bracelets, necklaces, rings, and hairclips.  Girls can come up with their own creations using the supplies and it will keep them busy for quite some time. The jewelry looks nice and isn't cheap looking even though this kit is very inexpensive.

Do It Yourself Friendship Bracelet Set

With this set you can make up to 22 fun friendship bracelets in a variety of different styles. Girls can keep them or give them out to their different friends.

There are 4 looms that are included that allow you to make 2 different style bracelets  for a total of 4 patterns along with 22 colors of floss and beading needle. If you ever made friendship bracelets when you were a young girl this set makes it easier.

Girls can definitely get creative wit these jewelry making sets for girls. Ten years old is a perfect age for these sets and make great gifts that girls can use over and over.

The Best Board Games for 5 Year Olds

Board games can be a great way to teach your kid all kinds of different skills from social skills like sharing and taking turns to fine motor skills with having to balance items or grab something.

The great thing about this is that kids don't even realize they are learning these skills because they are having so much fun. If you have a 5 year old at home or you are buying a gift for a 5 year old, then you definitely want to consider buying a great board game for them.

The Best Board Games for 5 Year Old Boys and Girls

Hoot Owl Hoot!

This game is a little different than your basic board game as it is a cooperative game were players actually work together to accomplish finishing the game.

This game is for 2-4 players and they work together to help the owls fly back home to their nest before the sun comes up. It's a color coded matching game that has a slight twist with the sunrise cards. The key is that players don't compete against each other but actually work together strategically to finish the game.

This board game has won 8 kids toy awards and is one of the best selling games that both parents and kids love.

Trouble Board Game

You may have played Trouble when you were younger and forgotten how much fun it was. Pop the fun dice in the middle of the game and see how many spaces you move. But be aware there may be "trouble" when another player knocks you back to the starting point.

The nice thing about this game is not only is it a lot of fun but it also helps with counting and colors as well. Kids also learn strategic game play and learn how to take turns. Five year olds love popping the dice in the middle and even knocking other players back home.

There are also other versions of the game that feature some cool characters such Dinosaur Train, Scooby Doo, and Hello Kitty.

Monopoly Junior

Now kids as young as 5 can enjoy the fun of Monopoly with the Monopoly Junior Party version.

Players travel around the board with different cupcakes and collect party cards that tell them different places to go or do. This game helps kids with counting skills as well as strategic thinking when it comes to buying and trading properties.

This version of Monopoly is recommended for ages 5-8 and is a great way to introduce Monopoly and board games to a child.

Sum Swamp Addition and Subtraction Game

Math becomes fun for five year olds with this cool board game that will appeal to both girls and boys.

The game takes players on a journey through the Sum Swamp with all kinds of different adding and subtraction problems to be solved. The only way to get through the swamp is to get the answers right and have fun doing it.

Although this is more of a learning board game compared to the other best games for a five year old, kids still love playing and it helps build their skills at the same time. Five years old is the perfect age to start introducing this to your child.

Sequence for Kids

This is another great board game that also teaches a lot to a 5 year old.

The game is to make sequences from the cards to your board game with your chips. When you have 4 in row you win the game. The game comes with an attractive board game full of animals that are matched to the cards. It is not only a great game for matching but helps kids understand the math concepts with getting 4 in a row. For younger kids you can also start out playing the game as strictly matching game and then work up to getting 4 in a row.

Oct 2, 2013

Best Scooter for Toddlers

If you want to get your young son or daughter a scooter, but you aren't sure what is the best scooter for toddlers, then check out my selections below.

When buying a scooter for a toddler you want to make sure that you buy one that is an appropriate height as well as weight for the child. You want one that is safe for their age as well as weight limits.

Here are the most popular scooters for beginners and young kids.

Best Scooters for Toddlers


Radio Flyer My First Scooter


This scooter by Radio Flyer was specifically designed for children between the ages of 2 to 4 years old.
The scooter has an extra wide base to provide the best stability for a younger child. This helps a child to develop their balance better and in a safe way compared to a normal base of a scooter.

The tapered base also allows for a better kick path so your child isn't kicking the base when trying to ride the scooter. There is also a plastic cover for the back wheel which protects the child if they were to hit the wheel when trying kick.

This is a great beginner scooter for a toddler to learn how to kick properly as well as work on their balance and coordination so they can advance to a regular scooter with no problems.

The scooter is available in red or pink.

Mini Micro Scooter


This is another great option for a scooter for a toddler. This scooter is significantly different than the Radio Flyer one but has great reviews of parents of toddlers.

This scooter is recommended for ages 2-5 and has a weight limit of 44 pounds.

This particular scooter has actually won several awards for being one of the best scooters for toddlers. What makes this scooter so unique is the lean-to-steer design which means that a child can use their body weight to steer where they want the scooter to go.

With this scooter your child can learn balance and coordination as well as have some fun gliding along the sidewalks.  It has a rear brake which helps toddlers ride the scooter safely and is super lightweight at only approximately 3 pounds.

This scooter is not designed for tricks but that is okay since most toddlers won't be doing tricks on a scooter for some time. It is a great way for a young child to learn how to ride safely and get used to steering.

It is available in blue or pink.

Other Articles:
Best Board Games for 4 Year Old Boys
Best Place to Buy Stuffed Animals

Sep 16, 2013

Tips for Buying Christmas Gifts for Kids

If you have trouble buying Christmas gifts for kids, I have some simple tips for you to get your through your holiday shopping this year.

Plan Out Your Christmas Shopping

One of the best things you can do is to plan ahead. If you decide you are going Christmas shopping or you want to get your shopping done with this week, make a list and stick to it. Planning ahead and writing down specific items you are looking for is the best way to stay on track and on budget. It can be quite stressful if you simply walk into a store and have direction or plan of attack. Take the stress away and plan ahead.

If your children are old enough to write, then have them write out a list of gifts they want this Christmas. You don't necessarily have to buy all the items on their list, but maybe choosing one or two off the list will give you a good base for buying Christmas gifts. If your child is younger, you can help them write out a list or even take them to the store and see what attracts them the most.

Set a Christmas Shopping Budget

Make a budget and stick with it. One of the most stressful things about Christmas shopping is realizing that you spent way too much on gifts. By making a budget for each child, you can eliminate the guilt and stress after the holidays when the credit card bills come in the mail. Decide how much money you have to spend on gifts this year and then divide that money up into the number of people you have to buy for.

Stick to Popular Toys and Gifts for Kids

Most kids aren't that hard to buy for as they will let you know what they want or you can simply take a look at a site like and look for the bestselling toys to get ideas. Or check out the list of the hottest toys and gadgets for the year. For example, this year Ever After High Dolls are going to be really popular for girls under the age of 12 and young girls are going to love Cheerin' Minnie. While for boys, you may want to check out the best board games for boys to see which one your son may love to play.

Have Fun with Your Christmas Shopping

Lastly, try to have fun with your holiday shopping instead of making it more stressful. Most kids are grateful for just about any present you get them so don't worry if you can't afford the best of the best toys. I know that I enjoy shopping for toys and kids a lot more than shopping for other adults. Whenever I buy a Christmas gift for one of my kids I think about how their face is going to light up as they unwrap the gift on Christmas morning.

Sep 14, 2013

Ever After High Dolls Review

The new Ever After High dolls are a modern take on the fairy tales that everyone knows and loves.

These dolls are sure to be a hit with girls anywhere from the ages of 5-10. I'm guessing that these dolls are going to be just as popular as the Monster High ones, but they are unique and are definitely a must-have.

The Ever After High dolls are the teenage daughters and sons (coming soon) of your classic fairytale characters. But, they come with a modern twist that they really don't believe in following their parent's footsteps and make their own path in life.

Ever After High Dolls Review

Ever After High Apple White Doll


Apple White is the beautiful daughter of Snow White and is the leader of Ever After High.

She comes in a gorgeous red outfit with gold accents along with different apple accessories including an apple shaped purse. A golden crown with red bow headband completes her outfit.

She comes with a stand for displaying the doll as well as a bookmark that explains her whole story.

Ever After Raven Queen Doll


Raven Queen is the daughter of the Evil Queen, but that doesn't mean that she will be following in her mother's footsteps if she has any say in her future.

This doll comes complete with a stunning black and purple outfit and has cool purple and black hair. She has more of a gothic-rebel style but is still so beautiful. Her outfit is accentuated with silver accessories and she comes with a black studded clutch.

Like all Ever After High dolls she also comes with a stand and her bookmark tells her complete story.

Ever After Madeline Hatter Doll 


Madeline Hatter is of course the beautiful daughter of the Mad Hatter. Her friends refer to her as Maddie though.

This doll is quite colorful in her purple, blue, and gold outfit. She loves tea parties and hats and her outfit reflects that with her mini hat on her hat as well as her tea pot purse. Her personality is just like her outfit, upbeat and colorful and she is one fun doll to play with.

She also comes with a matching bookmark with her story and a display stand.

Ever After Briar Beauty 


Doll Briar Beauty is the daughter of Sleeping Beauty. She expects to be asleep for 100 years as she believes it is her destiny so in the meantime she is going to live life to the fullest and have fun.

This doll is outfitted in a pretty pink and black outfit that is both girly and a little edgy. It comes with a matching black purse as well as crown sunglasses in her hair. Her hair is long and brown with some pink highlights.

The doll comes with a display stand as well as a matching pink bookmark that tells her story.

Ever After High Book

If you are interested in the Ever After High characters then you may want to check out Ever After High: Storybook of Legends. It is available as an e-book as well as a hardcover book and gives the whole history of the Ever After High characters and is great for any girl looking to get into this series.