What better summer activity than a night outside watching a film? Friends, snacks, pillows and blankets with your very own private big screen.
Wood isn’t only eco-frienly, but can be warm, masculine and full of longevity. We’ve rounded up a ton of wooden holiday finds gifts that just about anyone wood want. (See what we did there?!)
1. Hanukkah Dreidel Set (Pottery Barn Kids)$29
2. 5 Wood Guitar Pick Variety Pack (Etsy) $32.44
3.MacLean’s Kentucky Bourbon Smoking Chunks (Canadian Tire) $9.99
4. Greenleaf 8010, Garfield Dollhouse Kit (on sale!) (The Little Dollhouse Company)$239.99
5.Petit Collage Safari Animal Wooden Puzzle & Playset (Raspberry Kids)$44.99
6. Polar Bear Buri Ornament (Chapters Indigo) $9.50
7. Leaf & Fiber Large Disposable Platter 10/PK (Joanne Hudson)$12.99
8.Handmade Mens Wood Watch Made from Red Sandalwood. (Etsy) $103.12
9. Junior Lumberjack Blocks (Land of Nod) $89.00
10. Marley Liberate XL Over-Ear Sound Isolating Headphones (EM-FH033-MI) – Midnight (Future Shop) $149.99
Kids will be kids. And when we leave them to their own imaginations, their little brains grow and develop rapidly. We’ve searched high and low for some of the best gifts for creative play. You’ll probably want a video camera handy to capture their brilliance!
1. Children’s Bird Dress Up Wings $75.43
2. Le Toy Van Pretend Play Popsicles – Ice Lollies $ 43.90
3. Pottery Barn Kids Farmhouse Kitchen Collection $259 – $699
4. Djeco Screen Printing Workshop at Raspberry Kids $24.49
5. Dalmatian Vet Kit $22.99
6. Toysmith Shopping Cart $61.20
7. DUKTIG Toy cash register $19.99
8. CANCER FIGHTER SUPERHERO SET Comes with matching eye mask & powerbands. Price: $28.00
9. Sno Stompers – Pink $24.99
10. SKYLTA Children’s market stand $12.99
Don’t you just love Christmas? The excitement, the anticipation, the magic in your children’s eyes as they imagine what they’ll find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning?
We decided to help you with your Christmas countdown fun by curating our favourite DIY Advent Calendars from Pinterest.
1. DIY Magnetic Tin Advent Calendar from Makoodle
2. Colourful Forest Advent Calendar from Love From Ginger
3. DIY Modern Advent Calendar from The Sweet Escape
4. No Sew Reusable Branches Advent Calendar from Design Mom
5. Muffin Tin Advent Calendar by Doodle Bug Blog
6. DIY Lego Advent Calendar from Frugal Fun 4 Boys
7. Mini Stocking Advent Calendar from Trillium Design
8. Bright and Colourful Advent Calendar from Love My Dress
9. Toilet Paper Tube Advent Calendar from Modern Creativity
10. DIY Wall Chart Advent Calendar from The Painted Hive
The American Girl Boutique opened up inside of Chapters on Robson Street last weekend, and my daughter Zara and I got the opportunity to visit it ahead of time and scope things out. Before the event invite I’d heard of American Girl but had no idea how big they are!
Zara is 7 and told me she had seen American Girl commercials on TV, but neither of us had ever seen an actual doll. We had no idea what to expect. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the store at 7am on opening day and saw there was already a very long line up to get in. Some girls brought their dolls along, others waited anxiously to get inside at 10am and see an American Girl doll for the first time. I thought to myself – this is crazy, who waits in line for a doll? Then we went inside, and it became obvious.
The dolls are beautiful. They are really well made, and have gorgeous thick hair, they are endearing; even to adults. The best part about the American Girl experience for me was the fact that they encourage little girls to pick one special doll (maybe even the one that looks most like her), and then buy accessories and items for her. Yes there is a doll of the year released annually, but I didn’t feel any pressure to build a collection of dolls. They are definitely an investment retailing at $125 each, but I would rather buy one American Girl doll than multiple plastic dolls and their houses, cars, and other accessories.
Zara checked out all the dolls before she settled on the one that she felt looked most like her. It was really refreshing to see so many different options of skin colour and hair colour – there was actually 4 or 5 dolls that looked like they could pass as Hispanic or South Asian, definitely a welcome surprise. We also loved the fact that the dolls don’t come with names or birthdays – it lets you really personalize and connect with the experience. Z named her doll Izzy (one of her own nicknames) and decided the day she got her is going to be her birthday.
Once you’ve got a doll you can buy clothing and accessories for her, and even bring her back to the American Girl Salon to have her hair styled or her ears pierced. While I know these things can add up in cost, I think it’s a great way to talk to your little girl about finances. I made a deal with Zara that we can come back in a few months and I’ll get Izzy’s ears pierced but if she wants another outfit for her, she’ll have to save some of her allowance. It’s a great ‘save up for it’ learning experience.
Now that we’ve had Izzy almost a week, I can totally understand why all those little girls were lined up to get into the store that morning. Zara and Izzy are inseparable, from morning to night they are constant companions.
I’m one of those moms who shops all year long. I buy things on sale and fun items fill the cupboards in the spare bathroom. By the time wrapping week comes around in December, the gifts have trickled into the bathtub, hidden under towels.
While this system has always worked in my house, this year things are different. The boys are 6 and 7 and have very specific HOT toys in mind. I realized yesterday in a panic that I didn’t have what they really wanted. Scouring the internet I finally found the toys in stock at one online retailer and pulled out the old Amex.
This mom has learned a few tricks and I won’t be making the same mistake in the future. Here are 7 tips for getting the toys the kids really want.
1. Write letters to Santa on December 1. If you do it too early the kids may change their mind about what they really want.
2. As soon as the letters are written, hop online and order the special present.
3. Stocking stuffers are great to collect over the course of the year, but larger bulky items are best sourced in December. Having an expensive bathroom as a storage area isn’t very practical.
4. Canada has caught on to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in a big way. Making a good list of items and finding the best deals on those days can save a fortune and eliminate the need to shop all year.
5. Pull up a few ‘hot toy’ lists and go through them with your kids to gauge interest. Mattel has a great Hot Toy List and I love Dr. Toy’s annual list as well. This will help you give Aunts and grandparents some ideas. Mattel also have a great online wishlist where you can keep track of the kids’ desires!
7. Canada’s official Free Shipping Day is happening this Thursday, Dec. 12, and eager online shoppers are gearing up for great deals. Over 230 stores have signed up to participate, with several more expected to be added to the site before offers go live at 12:01 a.m. EST. In addition to big-name participants like Indigo, Garage, Roots and SportChek, independent retailers are also offering free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve.
Once you’ve eliminated the stress from your shopping, you’ll have lots of time to bake, decorate, do charity work and make beautiful memories with the kids during the holiday season.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Mattel Canada. All opinions are our own.
Welcome to our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide! These are our top holiday gifts for the whole family found in stores and online. As always, these are our top picks sourced from all over and we’re never compensated for inclusion in our guide. Click on any image for a review and description. Happy Shopping!!
Gifts for Mom
1. Car Eyelashes Who wouldn’t want these babies on their BMW? No extensions needed. Canadian Tire
2. Vinylux by CND For the busy mom who doesn’t quite have the time to get her Shellac applied but wants an extra-long lasting polish that’s removable at home. It comes in great colours and lasts a week on my hands. CND
3. ArtKive A dream come true. Photograph the kids’ artwork using this app and lose the guilt when you toss the original. (Kid Dictionary calls this ‘Garboflage’). Later you can make the art into fancy books and things. Artkive
4. Butter Baked Goods. This cookbook calms me down just by its presence in the room. Stunningly beautiful, it also includes her famous marshmallow recipe. Not to worry. You have all of January to diet. Chapters Indigo
5. Bling Bags As a hostess gift or way for mom to keep the purse organized, a few of these make for a happy woman. Chapters Indigo
6. Conair Curl Secret I admit – I was a bit scared to try it. Your hair gets sucked into the body of the curler and beeps after a couple of seconds, letting you know it’s time to release the ABSOLUTELY PERFECT curl. In about 4 minutes I have a perfect head of ringlets. Let’s just say I pack light and it made the cut for a recent Europe jaunt. Curl Secret
7. Spoonk Apparently Oprah knew about this before I did, but now that I’ve got my hands on these, they are a staple. Mats you lie on that contuct acupressure. While you are watching Breaking Bad. Who knew?! Spoonk
8. Pliio Folders I am an aficionado of the Big Bang Theory and have always wanted Sheldon’s folding apparatus. Enter this great invention. The kids laundry fits better in their drawers, AND they can fold it themselves. Pliio
9. Cheese Kitchen Papers They are just too beautiful. And a really great excuse for cheese. You could save a dish also and throw them in the compost afterwards. Hester and Cook
Gifts for Dad
1. Bespoke Post Men are hard to buy for. But this service delivers a little package every month, filled with XY chromosome-goodness. Bespoke Post
2. Sterling silver Daddy Dogtags. With the kids names on them. Or you could even engrave your anniversary and birthdate so there’s never any forgetfulness.. Posh Mommy Jewelry
3. Dyson Car Vac. It can suck up Cheerios like there’s no tomorrow. Canadian Tire
4. Custom Made Personalized Dad Ornament from Etsy will delight the whole family. And Etsy has also just launche gift cards in Canada! Etsy
5. Urban Xplorer Halfpack makes a cool diaper bag or weekender for dad. For a limited time, from November 16-December 16, 2013, HalfPack RT will be available at a discounted price of $124 via their crowd funding promotion.
6. Breville Juicer Simply because you can hide kale in his morning juice. Canadian Tire
7. Porsche Macan (Spring 2014) The first Porsche Compact SUV is available in two versions: Macan S and Macan Turbo. In case you’re looking for a rather large gift. Make sure you put the carseats in as well. Porsche
8. Twinkly House Light. If he’s a bit inept with hanging the Holiday lights, this is the ticket. Plug it in and the whole house or trees outside look like they are covered in tiny lights. Canadian Tire
9. Founding Fathers Whiskey Keg Dingle has the capacity to distill two casks of new whiskey every day and are setting aside the first fruits, the produce of our first 250 days in action. These 500 casks will be available to those who wish to become The Dingle Founding Fathers.Each cask, with its own distinct character will be unique: one unique cask, one unique owner. Dingle
Gifts for Baby and Toddlers
1. Big Hugs Elmo Who wouldn’t love a hug from our favorite little red monster, Elmo? He will wrap his hands around your little one and give them a hug when they need it most. He will also sing lullabies and encourage pretend play. Indigo
2. Fun Onesies. When you get up in the middle of the night to nurse, the ‘After Party’ one will make you grin. Chapters Indigo
3. These stuffies are to die for. Harrods
4. Dior knows how to dress up the little ones for the holidays. Dior
5. Kickboard Mini Micro 3 in 1. You may have a hard time staying off it yourself. Kickboard
6. NPW Tube Toy Uncommon Goods
7. Squeez ‘Ems. Brilliant for the environment, my ‘Litterless Lunch goals’ have been fulfilled. Refill these great containers with yogurt or applesauce. The large opening in the top helps for cleaning and they are lighter than heavy plastic. Boginhead
8. Educational Insights Dino Construction Company T-Top the Triceratops Bulldozer Mastermind
9. Baby Dior Dress. DOUBLE-SIDED DRESS PINK AND TAUPE CASHMERE. I want a girl. Dior
Gifts for Kids
1. Minecraft Slippers Again on Etsy.
2. Doodle for Google Doodle 4 Google is an annual program that invites K-12 students in the United States to use their artistic talents to think big and redesign our homepage logo for millions to see. Doodle 4 Google
3. Little Passports Watch as your children race to the mailbox every month to learn about Sam and Sofia’s latest destinations. Monthly packages arrive filled with lots of goodies and access to online games and activities. Little Passports
4. Sifteo These brilliant, interactive cubes will keep them (and you busy) for hours! Sifteo Cubes
5. Pottery Barn Kids China It matches and can be intermixed with your adult versions. PBK
6. Tutus by Tutumaria are soft and adorned with ribbons and special sundries. The only trouble is that they don’t come in adult sizes. Tutumaria
7. Poppy Drops Temporary Tattoo Earrings are just the thing for little ones who love to dress up! Perfect for loot bags, stocking stuffers and birthday gifts. The set comes with 12 pairs of temporary earrings in different styles. All Poppy Drops earrings are made with all natural, food-grade vegetable dyes and are safe for children. The earrings can last up to a week and can be removed with baby oil. Raspberry Kids
8. Ninjabread Men will delight the toughest of little guys. Bite off the legs first! Perpetual Kid
9. Oldschool Battleship There’s just nothing cooler. Yard Sale or Ebay
Gifts for Pregnant Women
1. Cake Lingere Beautifully made with luxurios fbrics, i wear the nursing bra all the time – even though I’m not nursing! Seams aren’t itchy and you feel super sexy. It comes in a beautifully wrapped box with satin ribbon. Cake Maternity
2. Silver Cross Aston Martin Stroller I saw it on a recent trip to Harrods and drooled. And drooled. Perfect if you want to spend two thousand pounds on a stroller. Harrods
3. Phil & Teds Travel Cot I used one all the time when the kids were little. It fits into a tiny bag (that made the Europe packing cut once as well. Canadian Tire
4. Maternity Wrap. Isabella Oliver
5. Baby Bullet Make anazing natural and healthy baby food. London Drugs
6. HP Slate 7 It’s a super speedy android tablet with a very reasonable price tag.
7. Pea in Pod Cashmere Autumn Cashmere Long Sleeve Maternity Sweater A Pea in the Pod Collection
8. Timi & Leslie Marie Antoinette’ Diaper Bag is something you’ll carry long after the baby is out of diapers. Nordstrom
9. Stratamark is a revolutionary stretch mark cream. We tested it and it helped reduce stretch marks that are a few years old.. Stratamark
Gifts for Grandparents
1. Seniors Labels from Mabel’s Labels are the best invention since, well, kids’ labels! Mabel’s Labels
2. A Goat. ONE has partnered with Heifer International to send a lot of goats to Africa.
You heard me right. Goats.
Goats are pretty amazing. For most people in the world, the only milk they drink comes from goats. And one goat can produce up to one TON of milk a year. That means lots of cheese, butter and milk to sell at the market, and homemade fertilizer to help make crops grow.
3. Boxed Salt and Peppers come in tons of different designs and make a personalized gift based on interests of the recipient. They are packaged in a gorgeous box ties with ribbon. Pottery Barn
4. Soda Stream is my new favourite home appliance. Next to the Vitamix. Home Depot
5. Pillows with Pizzaz make a sparkly gift that will lift the spirits of the oldest sofa! Indigo
6. Twig Plastic Cutlery Translucent Black Twig 12 Piece Cutlery You don’t have to sacrifice elegance when choosing a one-time use cutlery set. Madhouse
7. Chalkboard Calendar 12 hand drawn months in chalk style typography and large block grids for plenty of space to keep track of important dates. Paper Source
8. Festive Cake Carrier. Hopefully it will inspire them to bake stuff for you. Canadian Tire
9. AVG Internet Security 2014 Don’t let the grandparents get hacked. We swear by the AVG products and this new version now includes new privacy features to protect your private data. AVG
Does your little one try to pacify themselves with your smart phone? Avoid the risk of “slobber damage” and get them their very own device! A fab French toy line, Janod has your babe’s wireless needs covered. The Janod kids mobile phone is available at Raspberry Kids.
I’m one of those parents that can’t stand the end of summer. The thought of school lunches and early wake-ups makes me want to cry. Even the notion of some alone time while the kids are in school doesn’t make me want to celebrate. But back to school shopping? Now you’re talking. I love the new beginnings – a change to streamline routines and try to finally nail the healthy littler-less lunch. We can always dream. Here are our 15 back to school essentials for this year.
1. Reminiscent of old-school TV dinner trays or modern Bento boxes, the PlanetBox ensures food doesn’t get all mixed up and helps you include healthier options for the pickiest eater. The magnets add a personal flair. Also available at Pottery Barn Kids with personalized carry bags.
2. Microwave, dishwasher safe and waterproof. Music to a parents’ ears! Not having to raid the lost and found box at school every week? Even better. I just ordered Mabels Labels‘ Ultimate Back to School Pack. The kids got to choose their own personal designs and even prompted them to clean out their closet.
3. Sanrio. It’s all about Sanrio. I just got 2 new Sigg Hello Kitty water bottles. Always BPA-free, these designs also allow you to write a note to your kids in the thought bubble. My preference is to have the kids write a note to me, as I won’t give these bottles up. Sorry, boys.
As a mom whose children had a slight addition to Lego, I know how difficult it can be to stick to a toy budget when your child covets a certain set. Or ten. Worse still, they assemble it in a day (ok maybe not the Deathstar) and soonafter, the new items get played with and broken. We’ve just discovered Pleygo, a Netflix-like rental service for Lego sets.
Pleygo is a new service which provides kids and adults unlimited access to the world of Lego at a minimal cost. By renting and returning Lego sets, parents save money and kids continue to be excited and long for the new set that comes in the mail. Life skills such as creativity, fine-motor and sequencing are enhanced and I’m willing to bet that my summer tech-timeout challenge will be a tad easier once I subscribe! There are plans for Unlimited Lego sets for 3, 6 or even 12 months.