Archives for category: Christmas toys

You must try this! Santa Claus and his amazing PNP (Portable North Pole) console will be online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your loved ones receive a personalized message from Santa Claus himself, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. It is not only very cute but FREE. Give it a try, I tested this several years ago and must say it was a fun little video message that Oliver received from Santa.

 

 

Help Santa out and be sure that he gets cookies at every stop. Share this jar with your friends and neighbors. Make It Do will show you how to craft the cheery covered jar and Bakerella has the recipe with the ingredients to fill the jar.

 

 

 

It’s Boxing Day 2017 for our friends to the north of us and for those across the pond.

Boxing Day is a holiday in the United Kingdom and many countries (including Canada) that were once part of the British Empire. The origin of this holiday’s name is not exactly clear. During feudal times in the United Kingdom, the lord of the manor would ‘pay’ people who worked on his land in the past year with boxes practical goods, such as agricultural tools, food and cloth. These were often distributed on the day after Christmas Day. More recently, employers traditionally gave their servants a gift of money or food in a small box on the day after Christmas Day. Some people in Canada still give gifts to people who provide them with services.
Other stories relate to servants being allowed to take a portion of the food left over from the Christmas celebrations in a box to their families and the distribution of alms from the church collection boxes to poor parishioners. These traditions evolved into the Christmas baskets that some employers distribute to their employees during the holiday season at the end of the year.
How will you be spending this day after Christmas? In retail, we head back to our regular business hours. In Germany, the day after Christmas is a public holiday reserved for relaxing. Lucky are those of you who get to stay home, put your feet up and take a break after all of the fast paced festivities of the season.

One of our favorite last minute gifts is salt dough ornaments which are so very easy to make.  This clay recipe for creating little hand impression ornaments is a fun make together with little ones. We like that it is non-toxic, made of food ingredients therefore safe for kids to play around with and squish, mush and squeeze the dough through their little fingers. It’s great for a quick economical, yet treasured gift for grandparents and other favorite relatives.  There may be a new tradition happening at your house too.

This clay recipe will harden when left out for a day or two and can then be painted and embellished if so desired. In humid climates it may take several days to dry out. The drying time will depend on the humidity and how large your ornament is. To speed up the drying process, you can put it in the oven at 90 degrees for 30 minutes, then shut off the oven for it to cure. Remember to leave it inside the oven with the door closed.  You could also dry it completely in the oven for several hours.

Salt Dough “Recipe for Fun”:

  • 1/2 cup of table salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of mineral oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all  ingredients together and knead it with your hands. If it is too wet, add a pinch more flour and if it is too dry add a bit of water. For a seasonal scent, add a small amount of cinnamon to the dough mixture.

This recipe yields a good snowball size ball. It is the perfect size for one keepsake hand print ornament. Flatten the ball out and press your little one’s hand into it. Pierce a hole with a drinking straw toward the top of the ornament for a festive ribbon that you will tie through once it has properly dried.

Kellie from This Blessed Nest made these hand prints with her twins.

 

Building Blocks

The holidays are here, which means the countdown is on to find the perfect toys and games for the kids on your shopping list. Now is a good time to consider toy safety. The childproofing experts share these top 10 safety tips to keep in mind as you begin your toy shopping hunt.

  1. Follow the age grading on toy packaging
    Make sure you select something that is age-appropriate. The age information on toy packaging is not about how smart a child is—it’s safety guidance based on the developmental abilities of kids at a certain age, and the specific features of the toy.
  2. Choose a toy that matches a child’s age and interests
    The “perfect” toy is the one that’s right for the child’s age and interests. If a toy is too advanced, the child will become frustrated, and if it’s too simple, they’ll get bored.
  3. Avoid toys with small parts for kids under 3   Warning-Choking-Hazard
    Toys that have small parts are fine for older kids, but can pose a choking hazard for children 3 years old and younger. Toys that contain small parts will have a warning label on the packaging and be age-graded accordingly, so keep a careful eye out as you shop. At home, be sure to store toys with small parts away from younger children.
  4. Inspect toys at the store for sturdy parts
    Make sure that the toy can stand up to the rigors of the child’s play.
  5. Pick plush toys that have age-appropriate features
    Make sure plush (stuffed) toys have embroidered or well-secured eyes and noses for younger children and seams that are reinforced to withstand an older child’s play. Check the warning labels for children under 3 years of age.
  6. Buy protective gear with ride-ons
    Bikes, trikes, scooters, skateboards and other ride-ons can be a great gift to get kids active, but remember to give a helmet, knee pads and other protective gear along with it.
  7. Look for toys that have a volume control
    Toys are subject to safety standards that limit the sound level, but it’s a good idea to listen to toys that make sounds before buying to make sure they are appropriate for the child. Acceptable levels of sound are often a matter of personal preference, so look for toys with a volume control to adjust sound for your family environment.
  8. Consider proper storage
    Make sure that lidded toy boxes in the home are non-locking and have special safety features like air holes, spring-loaded hinges and clearances at the hinges to make sure little fingers won’t get caught. If you don’t have one already, consider getting one.
  9. Remember safety when opening the packaging
    Remove and discard all packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child. Also, keep the product literature on hand in case of future questions.
  10. Shop at a retailer you know and trust
    Staff at established businesses tend to be knowledgeable about age-appropriate toys. When you’re shopping online, reputable retailers will likely have that information in the product description or elsewhere on the site.

Toy Safety Information Graph

For more toy safety tips, facts and expert advice, visit www.PlaySafe.org.

Once upon a time there was a little old woman and a little old man. The little old woman thought she’d make a gingerbread man. She rolled out the dough, and cut out the shape, and she put raisins for his eyes, and peppermints for his teeth, and put icing on his head for the hair. Then she put him in the oven, and when it smelled good, she opened up the door to take a peek and out jumped the gingerbread man.

Today’s Recipe for Fun is Gingerbread Crayons.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Start by removing all the paper from the crayons and chop them into small bits. Fill your mould with the crayon pieces and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until wax is melted. You can add more bits of crayon through the melting process so the moulds are completely full. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Then push out the crayons and they are ready to use.  Caution, don’t let them get away until you are ready to surprise some special kids.

“Run, run, as fast as you can,

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”

This Recipe for Fun is from Torie Jayne.

How to disguise Gingerbread Men. Turn them upside down and look at the cute Reindeer cookies.

For a change of pace, how about baking up some Nijabread Men?

These Nijabread Men cookie cutters have been a hot item this season. Can you see them also as a Recipe for Fun?

 

So, Gingerbread Lovers, Behold!

USA Puzzle

There are few little people on my list who will be getting this weekend’s  DIY project this Christmas. It  is an idea from Natalme and looks oh so easy to create.

We have a couple of jigsaw puzzles of the United States that will be just perfect. The next step is attaching pieces of magnetic tape to each state. That’s it, back in the puzzle box and what fun they’ll have putting the states on their fridges.

magnetic-states

 

Christmas across America has a vast variety in the traditions, however, most comes in the taste of the Christmas feast:

  • New England has Lumberjack Pie ( a mashed potato crust, filled with meats, onion and cinnamon.)
  • Pennsylvania Dutch serve Sand Tarts (thing, crisp sugar cookies)
  • North Carolina features Moravian Love-Feast Buns (faintly sweet bread of flour and mashed potatoes.)
  • Baltimore serves Sauerkraut with their Turkey (which includes apples, onions and carrots.)
  • Virginia gives us oyster and ham pie.
  • Southern states have Hominy Grits Soufflé and Whiskey Cake (with one cup of 100-proof whiskey.)
  • Louisiana’s treat is Creole Gumbo. It can include ham, veal, chicken, shrimp, oysters and crabmeat.
  • New Mexico has the Empanaditas–little beef pies with applesauce pine nuts and raisins.
  • Hawaii blesses us with Turkey Teriyaki marinated and cooked over an outdoor pit.

What is your favorite Christmas meal or tradition? Is it a traditional meal that you grew up with?

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday have past us by, and here we are now at Cyber Monday, the day when everyone apparently spends the bulk of their workday shopping online.

 

Shop Totally Kids fun furniture & toys on Cyber Monday.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No age is too young to begin a dialogue with children about their bodies, because good communication will enable them to have positive relationships with their bodies and a strong self image as changes occur over the years.

During the preschool years children begin to acquire a gender identity of a boy or a girl. From this very young age, it is critical that your child feels comfortable with asking you questions about their bodies. Children are naturally curious, so always praise your child for asking a question and be honest and straightforward with your answers.

These body puzzles are chosen for Science Saturday because they have 29 pieces ideal for teaching about the human body complete with nervous, digestive, muscular, skin and clothed layers.

Would this not be a delicious and nutritious way to teach skeleton science?

Perk up and celebrate National Coffee Day 2017!

Why not enjoy a cuppa Jo with the girls?

If it’s espresso for your daily dose, this fashion forward single shot pretend espresso machine offers an early start.

Your career may dictate whether you’re more likely to need that coffee fix during the day.  A  Dunkin’ Donuts/Career Builder survey indicates that the top 10 professions most likely to “need” coffee to get through the workday are:

  1. Scientist/Lab Technician
  2. Marketing/Public Relations Professional
  3. Educator/Administrator
  4. Editor/Writer
  5. Healthcare Administrator
  6. Physician
  7. Food Preparer
  8. Professor
  9. Social Worker
  10. Financial Professional

For any of you who may be a bit challenged when ordering your coffee, here is a glossary of terms from the Barista Guide:

Americano: Espresso diluted with hot water to roughly the consistency of drip coffee. Similar to drip, but with more complexity, and the benefits of the espresso’s crema.

Cappuccino: 1/3 Espresso (2oz.) 1/3 Milk (2oz.) 1/3 soft microfoam (2oz.) This drink is always free-poured, and never spooned. If your coffee house spoons their foam, find a new shop. Sometimes topped with Cinnamon or Chocolate powder, but left alone for the purists.

Chai: A spiced Indian tea beverage with varying ingredients, but usually including ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, milk, and, of course, Tea. There are many variations of this list of ingredients, but most will contain at least this, if not anise or fennel, or maybe even black peppercorns. Pronounced “CHigh”

Cuppa: Short for “cup-of-coffee”

Cappa: (or Cappu) Short for “cappuccino”.

Espresso: A ~1oz (single) or ~2oz (double) beverage created by a high pressure extraction at ~9bar pressure from ~8 (single) or ~15 grams (double) of fine, evenly ground coffee, evenly distributed and compacted into what is known as a puck. The Espresso has three major parts to its anatomy. The Crema, the Body, and the Heart. If your coffee house’s espresso lacks Crema, it’s time to find a new shop.

Flat White: Usually ~6oz. In all. Similar to a cappuccino, but with latte proportions of foam.

Frappe: Common terminology for an iced, blended beverage. Often containing coffee. Starbucks has a well-known rendition of their own known as a Frappuccino Blended Coffee (or Frappuccino Blended Crème, depending on the recipe)

Iced Coffee: Just like it sounds. Coffee, cold, and on the rocks.

Latte: A little bit of espresso and a lot of milk, with a thin cap of foam. Generally anything 10oz. And up. Flavorings may be added to form flavored lattes. (i.e.- vanilla latte, hazelnut latte, etc..). Milk may be substituted with Soy milk for a Soy Latte. A latte made with nonfat (or skim) milk is often known as a Skinny Latte.

Latte Macchiato: A latte made by pouring the espresso in last, on top of the milk and foam.

Macchiato: Macchiato is an Italian word meaning “to mark” or “to stain”. A Macchiato is a single or double shot of espresso, marked with a bit of foam or frothed milk, usually with close to equal portions espresso and foam or frothed milk.

Mocha: Named for the drink made popular by Portuguese traders at the port of Mocha, it’s a drink made with chocolate, espresso, steamed (sometimes frothed) milk, and topped with whipped cream.

So, what is a Grande in a Venti cup soy upside down caramel macchianto with five shots of extra caramel? Ooops add whip to that and a double sleeve please.

For a full pot of Java if that’s what you prefer, this pastel pretend coffee maker will compliment the trendiest pretend kitchens.

No bones about it, might as well add a bit more pretend fun; serve up some bones with your coffee.

Make your way over to Food Mayhem to learn this edible bone making magic spell, or skill.

THREE DAY DEAL!

Take 40% OFF our Live Butterfly Garden.

Sale Ends at Midnight September 29th or when sold out!

Live Butterfly Garden
Watch them grow then let them go! See one of Nature’s greatest miracles right
before your eyes with our Oppenheim Best Toy Award-winning butterfly raising kit. Raise 3 to 5 Painted Lady butterflies while learning all about metamorphosis. See  the caterpillars’ transition as they mature, change into chrysalides, and finally  emerge as Painted Lady butterflies! The butterflies’ development takes approximately  three weeks, and they’re absolutely safe to release into the environment.  Includes colorful pop-up habitat suitable for hanging or free-standing on a countertop,  special food, feeding kit and complete instructions. Ages 4 years plus.

Pack some butterfly treats in a school lunch. What a nice surprise that would be!

Leave it to Kreative Kellie to come up with such a clever idea.

All you need is a glue gun and the snacks, plus:

-snack size plastic bag
-2 googly eyes
-wooden clothes pin
-Pipe Cleaner