The Three Christmas Gift Rule

I love the Christmas season – I do (no matter what you’ve read on this blog.) 🙂

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But I had to chuckle when my girlfriend told me about a Christmas gift tradition that she will soon start with her two children called the 3 gift rule.  It goes like this: since Jesus got three gifts for his birthday, then her children will only be receiving three gifts each for Christmas. It looks like others share in this same tradition as well. And it’s not really about the money (well not for everyone).  But it’s about teaching children the true meaning of Christmas and detracting from how materialistic it’s gotten.  Besides, a lot of our children get so many things all year, this is not a form of ‘gift deprivation.’  I can’t wait to hear how  it goes for her.

Here are some people who already practice this.
* Three Christmas Gifts
* Save money and simplify things by setting a limit on Christmas gifts
* Gifts of Three for Christmas

Do you have any Christmas gift traditions?

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Sequence for Kids a Hit!

We love this game! It’s like Connect 4 and Old Main rolled into one. And just when I thought I was only playing to appease my boys (ages 3 &5)- I got into it too and really started competing. And guess what? My youngest beat me! I like the game because … 

* It’s inexpensive (this is always an important detail for me 🙂 ) Sequence
* The rules are simple. 
* We can all play together without feeling like the youngest can’t keep up. It took about him about two games or so to catch on, but he did! Later, he even started strategizing.  
* Most times, it doesn’t take a long time to play.
* The kids can learn about different animals by looking at the pictures and the words.
* It’s inexpensive (did I mention that?)

So, it’s well worth the money and a game all can enjoy.

JT SplatMaster Bundle Giveaway

This summer was the first time my 5y.o. played with water guns and even now, with freezing temps upon us, he still begs me to pull them out. I can only imagine how a  ‘tween boy would get hysterically excited about receiving a JT SplatMaster! We’re talking about having a paintball party in your own backyard!  And you can win a whole bundle right here!

The JT SplatMaster is an outdoor sporting goods product that shoots color-filled biodegradable ammo resulting in a SPLAT that you can see!
–  The ammo is environmentally friendly- 100% biodegradable and non-toxic
–  The ammo is also water-soluble/stain resistant and EASY TO CLEAN so it won’t stain clothes or other objects
–  This is a fun way to get kids out of the house and away from the video games
– It doesn’t hurt

Check out this dad’s video review.

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Matchbox Car MANIA

Does your child own some of these?
I think we’ve accumulated a gazillion million. The boys line them up and leave trails of traffic all over the house. I live in Atlanta – I don’t want to be reminded of traffic!  Then when you think they’ve all been picked up, you step on one in the middle of the night. I even have some in my purse!

Does your son own some of these? How do you store them?

** October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Most people with Down syndrome have only mild to moderate mental retardation. Individuals with Down syndrome have IQ scores of 30 to 60, but much variation exists. All individuals with Down syndrome are capable of learning.. **

Toys for Two: Hot Wheels Mega Loop Mayhem

Oohh – this Hot Wheels Mega Loop Mayhem Trackset is CRAZY!
My oldest got it for his 5th birthday and both boys LOVE IT. They play on it nonstop, which means I get to do laundry… or something.  This is the rundown from the manufacture …

  • Two huge loops, 6 crash zones and 10 feet of track
  • Control the speeding cars that get released from the loops with 2 levers
  • Play alone or with friends – up to 6 cars can race
  • Includes track set and 1 die-cast car
  • Recommended Ages: 5-12 years

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Oregon Kids Make/ Sell Car Crayons to Get to Disney!

Lemonade stands are so … local. Max and Julia – an Oregon brother/ sister duo hankering to get to Disney World – are going global in their fundraising efforts by creating car crayons and selling them online!

Last year, the family drove 14 hours from their hometown of Eugene, Oregon to Disneyland in California and stayed with family. One glimpse of the castled kingdom and, “We all got the Disney bug,” said Sherri, mom.

Then Max (9) and Julia (7) saw Disney World on America’s Funniest Home Videos and realized how much bigger the small world in Orlando is – and a fire was lit. Max was determined to get there, but soon realized lemonade stands weren’t going to cut it.

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Fisher-Price Disney/ Pixar Cars 2 Spiral Speedway Grand Prix

The only bad thing about this toy is that the name is toooo long!
Other than that, we love it! My boys received this for Christmas and literally played with it – right then and there – for about 2 hours!

Now, how this monotonous, circular racing motion with the same two cars entertains the kids for hours on end – I have no idea 🙂 But it does! We also love it because:

1) Both of my sons – age 2 and 4 – enjoy playing with it together.
2) It’s pretty durable, all one piece, and already assembled!!
3) It’s not too bad on cost – $25.

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The Coolest DIY Toy!

You know how I feel about Christmas shopping – but let’s be honest. Most of us are going to buy stuff anyway – at least for the kids 🙂 . Here’s an awesome idea for that large leftover box. And I knew there was something I could be doing with those cardboard Christmas paper rolls…

 Isn’t this cool? Your little one can roll balls, cars, whatever down the maze and be occupied for hours (until someone tears it up :-))
Check out  a-happy-wanderer.blogspot.com for more directions…

Put Down the Video Games, Pick Up Presto Dots!

I like the sound of this game!
1) It’s cost-effective.
2) It promotes working with your hands and being creative.
3) It’s not messy or cumbersome and doesn’t require batteries!! (yay!)
4) It looks like FUN!!

I haven’t tried it with my boys since they are probably too young (the age limit is 6 and above) but check out this video as a doubtful 6y.o. demos the toy for the first time.

http://www.11alive.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1315757690001

(I was not paid for this post.)

Stocking Stuffer: VTech ABC Text and Go

We were fortunate enough to receive this as a preowned gift recently and the boys love it! I figure this would be a great stocking stuffer (I think it’ll fit).  Here’s why …

1) Hand held. 
This is super convenient for playing with in the car (until it gets dark). We were in the car after dark last night and my oldest wanted us to keep the light on in the car so he could keep playing with it. NOT! 

2) Cost effective.
It’s less than $15!! My kind of toy! Seriously, with all of these nearly $100 Ipad knock-off thingys that are topping the Christmas lists this season, this is a great buy!

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No need to buy toys for Christmas, now you can rent

Would you rent toys for your kids? Now you can– click on the link to get the whole story.  Although, I’m not convinced because my kids would probably tear them up and I’d still end up paying. What do you think? 

We rent cars, houses, tools and more. So why not toys? That’s the question a couple of national websites are posing as their new business models take off at Christmas. One of those sites is called Toygaroo and they are getting some attention from parents this year. 

There are obvious advantages to renting “my first thought is, wow that’s awesome” one mother told me as we stood in a toy isle at a local store. When I asked her why she liked the idea she said “because they only play with them for a short amount of time and then they’re off to something else.”
No need to buy toys for Christmas this year, now you can rent.