Great Holiday Gifts for Kids

Looking for the perfect gift for the little ones in your life?  Check out some of these hot new toys, and grab them before they are snapped up.

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Have you ever heard of Wubble?  The nifty ball/bubble/balloons that are part bubble, part ball, part wiggly fun.  Wubble is now not only in the form of the regular Wubble which can inflate up to 3 feet, but now includes the WubbleX and Glo Wubble.

he Wubble X is very similar to the original Wubble but inflates to a portion of its size with the included helium can.  The addition of helium instead of air or CO2 makes a big difference.  Now your Wubble floats around the room, sticking to ceilings and overturned hands as if by magic.  The Glo Wubble brings the familiar Wubble to night time play – the big, bouncy bubble now glows as it floats around.  These are great fun at night or in a play room with the lights out.  Wubble balls retail for $19.99 each and the original and Glo Wubble include a pump while the Wubble X retails for $7.99 and the helium can retails for $7.99.

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If you are looking to help your youngster get ahead in school, take a look at the Kurio Smart™ tablet, the first Windows kids’ tablet available.  Is is a child-appropriate 2-in-1 tablet/computer that comes with a “detachable keyboard, one-year of Microsoft Office and anti-virus protection, plus $200 worth of additional content” (as per packaging), has parental tools to keep kids safe, and retails for $199.99.  The attractive price as well as the functionality of the Kurio Smart makes it a great first computer. It can be used as a tablet if removed from the keyboard, so it’s still good for entertainment purposes as well. Grab yours at http://www.kurioworld.com/ , there are a few other options available as well- see what’s right for your child.
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When It Cools Down, These Will Warm You Up

Now that the weather outside has gotten a bit frightful, we will need to bundle up a little more.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean adding bulk or ugly, clodding boots- check out these lovely layers from some of our favorite brands (that last longer then a season, too!)

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When it’s cold enough to need a little more then just a shirt, check out the Craghoppers ‘Swainby’ half zip fleece for the man and teenager boys in your life.  Classic, comfortable, and nearly impossible to stain in my own personal experience (really, my guy has not been successful yet, and I could swear he’s trying), it also washes well without all the ugly pilling that some fleece get. Besides it’s good looks and great function, it’s really very warm and comfortable.  My son loves it because it’s soft (and it retains it’s softness after repeated washings), has a large pocket, and easy to pair with anything. It is made with a cotton fleece blend, and has insulating technology built in. With it’s high collar that can be folded down or left up for additional warmth, and elasticated cuffs and hem, it’s wearer keeps extra body heat in. Too warm?  No worries- just undo the half front zip for some air.  Get yours for $60 at http://www.us.craghoppers.com

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When you need a little more then a sweatshirt, put on the Skipton Jacket by Craghoppers.  Water resistant, so good for those days that are snowy or a bit rainy, it’s also soft, super insulated, and nowhere near as thick as you would think it needs to be.  It’s thin- as thin as your spring jacket- but it’s been doing the husband good in 3o degree weather with no complaints to be had.  Not only is it lightweight, but it’s also made of soft wool and has a satiny-smooth lining that feels great next to your skin.  It’s very smart-looking, great for work or going out, a compliment to any outfit.  It has both a zipper and buttons, and you can use either one or both together for added wind protection. To top it off (quite literally) is an attached hood.  There are two functioning side pockets, big enough for your hands, a pair of gloves, your keys, or a cell phone- yes, they really do function.  Get yours for about $180 at sites like http://www.backcountry.com/
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Roadtrips with Kids- What to Take

When you are taking a road trip with the kids, you want them to be comfortable and occupied (and quiet!) so the trip will be more enjoyable for everyone.  Here are some new road trip accessories for kids of all ages to help you keep on truckin’.

You’ve likely heard of BubbleBum (an easy to take along car seat that folds up and flattens out for travel).  They have expanded their lines to include Sneck (a seatbelt travel pillow) and Junkie.

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The Junkie helps keep your kids organized, and the car cleaner.  It is both a car organizer and an activity station that can help keep the kids busy once you put their favorite things inside. It is easy to harness into the backseat and store activities, coloring books, snacks, drinks, and more between two children (and carseats).  There are two retractable trays, two cup holders, an insulated area for cold items, and plenty of storage.  The tote bag is removable, so you can bring your “projects” into the house, hotel, restaurant- wherever you are headed next-  easily.  Junkie makes road trips more organized.

Sneck is a travel pillow that lets kids nap easily in the car, filled with micro-beads and is plush on the outside.  The Sneck attaches most headrests easily with a Velcro strap so it stays where the child wants it to.  There is a small mesh pocket that can hold a small toy or electronic device.  Kids can use Sneck 3 ways to find the position that is most comfortable for them to sleep in.

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You can find BubbleBum, Sneck, and Junkie on Btheir website as well as Target.comBabiesrus.comSears.com and Walmart.com. You can also connect with them on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

NeckNapperz are easy to take along, adorable, transforming plush pillow/stuffed toys that are perfect for roadtrips, planes, trains- or even for your child’s own bed.  These neck pillows transform from plush toy into a plush neck pillow and back again, which makes them great for dual uses.  Kids are easily bored, as we all know, and being able to entertain themselves while you wait to board the plane or snuggle up with in the car, then use it when they are ready to nap is doubly-useful.

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Vacations with an Amish Flair in Lancaster, PA

Most of us spend our day to day lives feeling pulled in a thousand directions, and almost everyone I meet classifies themselves as a “busy” person. When it’s time to get away, scenic Lancaster, PA is one of the best places for a slower paced, laid back atmosphere to unwind in a family friendly environment. There is plenty to do (and eat), but you will never feel overwhelmed, rushed, or hurried. These are some of our favorite Amish-inspired destinations in Lancaster, one of our favorite places to spend time as a family.

All aboard the Strasburg Railroad! with the friendly conductor

The Strasburg Railroad is the home to many restored trains from around the USA. Many train fanatics call this site the best historic railroad in America for visitors, and for good reason. Recognized as one of the most significant historic railroads in the USA, the Strasburg Railroad has acquired historic trains from all over the country, and recently celebrated operating for 50 years as a tourist railroad It is one of the remaining stations where you and your family can ride the refurbished trains and steam engines. This station is large, restored, and maintained beautifully- a source of pride for the local people. Every time we visit, we truly sense the enjoyment that the conductors and employees have for their jobs- it shines though as they take their time with every child, posing for photos and answering train trivia with a smile. As you ride the beautifully restored trains through Amish country, learning about steam railroading, agriculture, Amish culture and Pennsylvania Dutch heritage, enjoy your family and your little ones, and let worries slip away. They are little for only so long, and riding in a “real” train is going to be a real delight.
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#FamilyTravel in Upstate NY @I_LOVE_NY @Rochester_NY

Little Man and I recently took a ride to upstate NY, and we had a great time. There is lots to see and do (and eat!) and he had a blast at some very child-friendly places and museums. OK, so did I. Please read HERE for one of my articles on the trip. Hope to see you in NY State soon!
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South Georgia Zoos Offer a Walk on the Wild Side

What’s not to love about a day at the zoo? These four zoos in South Georgia offer great day trips with educational components for the kids- great if you are a local, or on vacation in the area.

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah will provide your family with memorable experiences
that will last well beyond your trip. Striving to spark a lifelong love of nature and its inhabitants,
the Center lets your children experience any of the forty hands-on activities available to them, such
as marsh ecology boat tours, star programs, and guided tours—all with the goal of deepening their
understanding of the surrounding flora and fauna. Locals can even enroll their children in summer
day camp, which feature stories, crafts, up-close-and-personal observations, and hands-on scientific
experiments to help children experience and understand nature’s phenomena. Contact: (912) 395-1212;
www.oatlandisland.org

At Pine Mountain’s Wild Animal Safari—Georgia’s drive-through animal park—you and the family
can go on safari from the comfort of your own vehicle, in a rented Zebra Van, or on the bus service
offered by the zoo and led by a tour guide. With a park that’s five miles long and covers over 250
acres, there are animal encounters galore. Here you can visit 650 animals from 65 different species, and
give your family a worldwide travel experience without leaving the facility. For a more traditional zoo
experience, hop out of the vehicle and stroll along the walking path, where you’ll find the smaller and
more friendly animals and can hand feed sheep, alpaca, zedonk, and others. Contact: 706-663-8744;
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