Friday, January 16, 2015

Favorite New Finds

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We have had some new fun finds in the past month with Christmas and all. I wanted to share them with you now! 

Books
Legend Series
Legend, by Marie Lu, is a series that was recommended to me by a friend. I love dystopian novels and I am all about the Young Adult novels. I really enjoyed this series. It had me crying a river of tears at the end--don't let that scare you! It was good. I cried a contact right out! And right now the first book, Kindle, is on sale for 1.99, so check it out!



Fancy Nancy Chapter Books
McKenna is getting older and is interested in chapter books and not just picture books. We do have a lot of chapter books in our house appropriate for a Kindergartner, but while Brayden is into science fiction and mystery and Kaitlyn is into animal books, McKenna is my girl into princesses and girly things. We don't have girly chapter books. I went into Barnes and Noble and perused. I came across this Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy's Tres Charming Chapter Book Box Set. McKenna adores Fancy Nancy, so I knew this would be a win. 

Ladybug Girl Board Books
It has always been my policy that my children will each get a book every Christmas, Easter, and Birthdays (as a base policy--I am not above getting them more often than that!). I love books and I want them to love books. This year, however, I had resigned myself to just not getting one for Brinley for Christmas. At this point in our parenting lives, we have a TON of books for little ones. Tons people. Years of buying books had really filled us. She loves Sandra Boynton, but we own almost all of them. I also felt like she is really at the point of being ready to move on to picture book type of stories, but I don't like her alone with a paper picture book yet. I still like the board book for her. I had looked through book lists I had made, wish lists on Amazon, and I really hadn't found anything that struck my fancy. So no book it was.

Until I went to Barnes and Noble. Then I came across this gem. Ladybug girl board books?!?! This is the perfect in between for my little girl. Bigger girl stories, simplified, and in toddler-safe form. Little Box of Ladybug Girl is one book set she got for Christmas (but from my mother-in-law, reasons below...). She loves these books. And she now dresses up like Ladybug girl basically daily.

Nursery Rhyme Book
Okay, I will admit it. Barnes & Noble is a dangerous place for me to be. While there, I also came across this book. While we have a few nursery rhymes books, Brinley hadn't ever latched on to one. I am a huge believer in the Read Aloud Handbook and according to that book, nursery rhymes are powerful for building literacy. McKenna  had one by Lucy Cousins that she just loved and wore thin. I had looked around, but hadn't found one that struck me for Brinley. Until I came across this one! It is simply titled Nursery Rhymes. Brinley loves it. Loves. The thing that makes this her nursery rhyme book is that it has textured pages. The pictures are cute and look like they have been hand-stitched on with felt. It isn't a touch and feel book, but there is texture to each page and she is very tactile. A huge selling point for this book is the CD it comes with, though we haven't actually even gotten it out to listen to it! So I can't tell you the quality there. 

Toys
Melissa  & Doug Water Books
As we were preparing for our trip to Southern California, I searched for things that could be done in the car. I came across these Melissa & Doug Water Wow Books. I thought they would be something Brinley would like and purchased them. I never did pull them out (at this point, yes I know that was dumb, but I didn't want to show my hand all up front and she was good without them). I decided to save them for a Christmas present. Then I didn't even open them for her until a week ago. I know! Oh she was in love. Straight into obsessed. These are seriously amazing. You have a water pen like with an aquadoodle. You "paint" with the water and a whole scene comes to life! She was so obsessed with these that the next day when it was bath time, she did not want to take a bath. It would delay her playing with her new books. So like any rational toddler, she opted for a time out. Not just any time out. A 20 minute time out. She happily sat in time out trying to outlast me and win the fight against the bath. She lost, and learned a great lesson in the process, but it really demonstrates her extreme obsession for these books. They have more that what is shown here. 

TY Beanie Boos
Beanie Boos are a completely adorable type of TY Beanie Babies. My two stuffed animal lovers, Kaitlyn and Brinley, love them. They have a lot of animal types. They also have a variety of size, from little ones like you would expect up to quite a bit bigger, so pay attention to the size if purchasing online. I have no doubt any stuffed animal lover would not love these.


LEGO Technic
LEGO Technic is the next level in building LEGO creations. They are a bit more challenging. They also are a step up--the final product is a bit more realistic than regular LEGOs are. Many can also add a motor to move. Brayden has loved these. They have offered him some challenge and taken him more time than 20 minutes to put together. 


LEGO Architecture
While at LEGOLAND, we were all impressed with the LEGO creations built that depict actual buildings. In the gift shop, I saw they have this whole LEGO Architecture series. While it doesn't look as exciting as some bulldozer or excavator, I thought it would offer Brayden a great challenge. It did! Granted it is rated for 12 and older, but it is intricate and it creates something impressive. He was very excited about this. They have a lot of buildings available. If you have a child needing some challenge or a child interested in engineering or architecture, this is a great set.

LEGO Animals
Younger children are always impacted by what their older siblings are interested in. As such, all of my children love LEGOs. Not to say there isn't great reason to love LEGOs, but they are hands down Brayden's favorite and he has passed that enthusiasm on to his sisters. I saw this in the LEGOLAND gift shop. They have a whole bunch of LEGO Creator animals. Kaitlyn got this LEGO Creator Furry Creatures. This is really fun for the animal lover.

Cat's Cradle
When I was a little girl, I remember loving Cat's Cradle. My friends and I played for hours at a time. I don't remember much, so I got this Klutz Cat's Cradle Book Kit for Kaitlyn for Christmas. In the meantime, she had a friend start teaching it to her, and she became as obsessed with it as I was as a kid. One day she asked me if I had heard of it, I told her I loved it as a kid, and she asked my why I hadn't ever taught it to her then! Little did she know. She was so thrilled to get this for Christmas. 

Bristle Blocks
Where have I been for the last 10 years? I really thought we had about every toy worth having for a toddler. It makes it hard to shop for Brinley. Someone mentioned Battat Bristle Blocks. Bristle Blocks? What is that? How did I miss a building toy for my builder-obsessed son?!? I was sure I was aware of them all. Nope. I decided to give this a try for Brinley for Christmas. Winner! McKenna graduated from Duplos up to regular LEGOs this Christmas, so Brinley inherited the Duplos. She has always loved the Duplos. However, at this age, she pulls out her Bristle Blocks more than Duplos. Really a great toy.

Parent Stuff
Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer
Mary Kay used to make this stuff for lips that was like chapstick but colored like lipstick. I loved it because I could put it on without a mirror and had no risk of looking like crazy lipstick lady. I loved the texture. For some unknown reason, they stopped making them, but luckily not until after I had totally stocked up. But I am on my last tube and have been searching for a suitable replacement. It is an item I really don't want to be without. I have had my eye on these Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer for a long time. Been on my Wish List on Amazon forever. But I haven't ever taken the plunge to buy. I was at Cracker Barrel one day and somehow found myself wandering the gift shop (really, waiting for women to use the rest room). In my wanderings, I stopped at the Burt's Bees section. They were having a buy one, get one half off AND things were already on sale. I thought it over long and hard, and in the way I walked away with the Burt's Bees Kissable Color Warm Collection and a cool collection I can't find on Amazon (but I haven't opened it yet since it is winter and all). I LOVE it! My two favorite colors for me are Fig and Rhubarb. I have found my winner! It is 100% natural but it does not have any funky texture. Seriously love. 

Sanuks
This goes for men or women. I was on a walk one day with my neighbor ladies. We got talking about shoes. Ever since I hurt my ankle a year ago, I am in need of very sensible shoes, but that doesn't mean I want ugly shoes, right? I am also into cute shoes. But they need to be sensible and comfortable. I had heard of Bobs and had been considering them (guys, I think a lot about anything I spend my money on). My concern, despite the love out there, was that my feet might be too wide and/or high arch for it to be comfortable. My neighbor told me about her Sanuks. She loved them. They were so comfortable and cute and she was sure I would love them. A couple of weeks later, I saw a nurse at the doctors office wearing them. I figured any shoe a nurse is willing to wear must be comfortable. I asked her about them. She raved. She owns at least five pairs. So I perused Amazon. I added a bunch to my wish list that I liked. But they are expensive and I couldn't spend that much money on something I wasn't sure I would love! Then one day, one pair I had on my wish list went on sale for $15.00 (these Coral Sanuk Shoes). Well come on! That is a price I can risk! And everyone is right. They are very comfortable. 

Here is the tricky thing. The sizing. They don't usually come in half sizes. That can be tricky for those who are ideally in a half size! The nurse told me you want a size smaller than you usually wear. I bought a pair for my husband for our California trip and he said if he got another pair, he would want them a size smaller. They are fine in his normal size, but he thinks smaller would be best. He has skinny feet. My neighbor has wide feet and high arches and she buys her normal size. That is what I did. I went with my usual size and I have been happy with that decision. I will update you if I ever change my mind. 

And I am 100% buying some red Sanuks as soon as they drop to a price I am happy with. And I might still try Bobs. 

NFL Jacket
My anniversary gift from Nate was this Kansas City Chiefs Jacket. I love it! It is warm and flattering. They have them for other teams, too, so if you love football, you can find your favorite.












Pearl Earrings
I was sent these pearl earrings to review from Pearl & Clasp. They are very nice! And at $24.00, inexpensive. McKenna is in love with these earrings. They are her favorite earrings I own.








Do you have any fun new finds from Christmas?

4 comments:

me said...

Playmobil. My preschooler is so happy with the little set she got and we are totally buying more for future occasions! You can get ANYTHING... check it out on amazon. It is SUCH good quality stuff, it will not break!

Ashley B. said...

Our 18-month old son loves a Fisher Price drill set, Saxoflute, and Piano flute that he got for Christmas. He has inherited some musical genes so it is fun watching him play a couple notes on the "flutes." The Saxoflute especially reminds me of something the Who's in Whoville would have played with.

Valerie Plowman said...

Great ideas Ashley! I put those instruments down for ideas for Brinley. She loves music! Thanks.

Valerie Plowman said...

Thank you, "me"! I will look into it.

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