Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sitting on Santas lap
You may have noticed we haven't been around here as much these past few days as we took some time off to enjoy the holiday season with our little ones. This is my absolute favorite time of the year and I was happy to be able to spend some time with our family and friends near and far.

Read more

Wireless sound with TRACKS AIR headphones from SOL REPUBLIC

Sponsored post
By Tyler, editor and reviewer

Who doesn’t like a good, quality surround sound that makes music and movies come alive? Someone whose movie room shares a wall with a baby’s room, that’s who.

This is the problem with our entertainment room, designed for movies and thumping sound, but that just so happens to be located right next to our son’s bedroom. These days, the only thing playing at Rave Central theater is children’s movie matinees in between nap and bedtime. It’s a sad fate for a room with such promise.

So, what’s a movie loving guy like myself to do? Make a plan to revive our indie movie house with the arrival of these new TRACKS AIR headphones from SOL REPUBLIC.

SOL headphones

Read more

Corolle dolls offer a best friend for every age and stage

Sponsored post basic disclosure Best friends for every age and stage
My daughter is a hard-core doll fan. She spends nearly all day with her Corolle dolls, and they have quickly become more than just mere dolls; they are friends.

But, while my son is still very much into baby dolls, my daughter alternates between playing mommy and playing with her more grown-up dolls, like the Corolle Les Cheries dolls. These beauties have become my daughter's new favorite toy and she is on a mission to collect every single one Corolle makes.

Best Friends Les Cheries

Read more

Educational and fun toys from Museum Tour

Sponsored post basic disclosure
Toys these days are just so cool. Sure, you can still find cheap, plastic junk at just about every big toy store, but there are also a handful of companies still making classic toys and gifts that will delight for decades. The problem is finding those companies is a full time job. Thank goodness I can turn to Museum Tour to find those companies without having to search high and low.

Museum Tour logo
The Museum Tour catalog and website were created by a former museum director and educator in order to help take learning beyond the museum and science center walls. With items chosen to help parents teach their children essential life skills at home, the Museum Tour collection of products includes many previously hard-to-find items and learning toys.

Museum Tour believes that children will want to learn if presented with toys that have been created with both education and fun in mind so they have packed the pages of their catalog with the best of the best in terms of high quality learning toys. Museum Tour toys

I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed when shopping for kids toys, wondering what’s just going to collect dust in the bottom of a toy bin. When I found Museum Tour, it was as if I had curated the catalog myself and I was in heaven with page after page of the good stuff. It’s got the classic, the unique, and the toys that really wow.

Read more

Galt Toys offers educational and developmental toys and gifts for kids of all ages

Sponsored post
I’m guessing most of you out there are very familiar with Galt Toys, even if you wouldn’t recognize the name. With a history spanning over 175 years and with toys for ages 0-12, Galt Toys has been celebrating the importance of childhood play in Europe and is now moving into North America just in time for the holidays.

Galt Toys selection
From their iconic Ambi Toys collection that I remember vividly from my own childhood to the Galt learning books that are used in schools and homes alike, Galt Toys have been a staple in many homes for generations. Do these look familiar to you?
Ambi Toys

Read more

The VHS to DVD Converter from Hammacher Schlemmer

Sponsored post
I’m all about keeping it old school, and I have a huge collection of film cameras to prove it. But, some things are better left in the past, a good example of which is VHS tapes. I had forgotten how much I despised VHS until I was “gifted” our collection of VHS tapes that our family used for recording TV and home movies throughout the 80s and most of the 90s.

But, let me tell you, VHS is awful. The quality of the tape degrades as it ages, it’s a pain to fast forward and rewind, doesn’t have menus to help you navigate, and back in the day it wasn’t easy to edit down into the good stuff. This means I was “gifted” with hundreds of hours of pure awfulness and about 30 minutes of perfection {which more than made up for the awfulness I was subjected to while going through the old tapes}. 

However {and this is a big however}, each of those moments of perfection were spread out over 30+ tapes and took up a huge space in our office where no one could ever enjoy them. The solution? The VHS to DVD Converter from Hammacher Schlemmer that allows you to take all those precious home movies on VHS into custom DVDs that can be easily played, edited, and enjoyed.

VHS to DVD converter
In addition to easily transferring VHS recordings to DVDs, this little console does double duty as it’s also a video player for those who have a library of both DVD and VHS home videos. For DVDs it has 1080p upscaling through an HDMI output, but it also has a front DV input that allows you to connect a camcorder directly to the device to transfer content directly to a DVD {includes a coaxial input as well as component and composite inputs}. 

Read more

Giving Corolle dolls this holiday season

Sponsored post basic disclosure
I am 100% convinced that every little kid needs a Corolle doll. Regardless of gender or toy preferences, I truly believe that every toddler needs to have their own doll to love. And, as it turns out, the experts agree with me.

It was through our co-op preschool that I first realized the importance of doll play for both girls and boys. The textbooks all agree that not only is doll play fun, but it also helps with social and emotional skills, verbal skills, role play, and helping to grow their imaginations.
Corolle Dolls Collage

Read more

It’s the 50th anniversary of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! {own Mary Poppins today on Blu-ray}

Sponsored post basic disclosure
Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary
Is there anyone out there that didn’t want Julie Andrews as their nanny? What I would’ve given to have a babysitter like her instead of my pesky older siblings bossing me around {just kidding, siblings, you know I love you even though you can’t fly with umbrellas or make up well-orchestrated songs for our menial day-to-day tasks}.

Even though my days of wishing I had Mary Poppins as my nanny are long gone, my love for the film has never dimmed. Of course I was thrilled when I heard that in honor of its 50th anniversary, the classic Disney film Mary Poppins was going to be released on Blu-ray this year.

Read more

World Vision: give back while giving this holiday season {Prosperity Cinnamon Box}

Sponsored post basic disclosure
World Vision in mall
The above display for World Vision was found at Northgate mall, nestled in between clothing and shoe stores. Every time we passed it this season we would stop, take pictures with the goats, and I would talk to the kids about what we can do this holiday season to give back.

We all love to buy something for someone to open for the holidays, even if it seems like the recipient has everything. So, why not give them a gift that will make you both feel good? Something from World Vision is always the perfect present because it truly is more than a present – it’s a way to give back with each gift given.

I’ve talked before about how much I love World Vision for what a worthy cause they support, and how it’s one of my favorite go-to places for those that are impossible to buy for. With an option to do a donation in anyone’s name or to get a small gift with a donation, it’s perfect for bosses, co-workers, relatives, friends, acquaintances, and those that live near or far.

World Vision holiday gift guide

Read more

KIA Optima Hybrid {love at second sight}

Sponsored post basic disclosure
Driving the KIA optima
by Tyler, editor and reviewer

When I get in the KIA Optima Hybrid, I get the sudden urge to just drive. Cross state lines and head out and see the world. There is something about having run your errands all week without filling up and still seeing 450 miles until empty that makes it feel like a challenge.

Go on, open up the sunroof and crank some tunes, because we have some driving to do.

Read more