2011 Holiday Gift Guide

November 24, 2011

Earlier in the year I was asked if I planned on doing a holiday gift guide. I took a few days, thought about it, and decided it would be kind of fun.

I was given a few items to review and others are just things that the girls and I liked. Be proud of me, I did not go to Pinterest to look for things of interest. All the photos are photos I borrowed from other sites, with the exception of the items I was sent to review, then I used the stock photos they provided. I have more photos coming later today if the lighting and girls cooperate, stupid cloudy weather.

So this is what we found cool or fun and what we thought you guys might like:

For the little ones:

The Giraffe Rocker from Little Alouette. One of my favorite stores and people on the internet.

giraffe rocker

Nativity Which in all honesty I want just to be able to put it out each year. I’ve wanted a Nativity scene for years but this is the only one I’ve ever wanted to pay money for, I’ve passed over many sets that were on sale or even in a thrift store.


Imagination Kids had this awesome Wooden Rainbow and http://www.etsy.com/listing/62723270/wood-toy-hedgehog-push-toy-waldorf-eco.

wooden rainbow


Cheezombie had some really cute amigurumi patterns and a sale.

Garden Slug


My friends at Sesame Street have come out with some pretty cute items lately.

They partnered with Robeez (which I learned to love when Bug was born) and Stride Rite and came up with Stride Rite S.T.E.P with Sesame Street®.


Cookie Monster is my favorite but Abby is pretty cute.

If you’re looking for apps for your iPad I have a few recommendations.

Elmo Loves ABC’s was an app that I was supposed to review on my phone (I didn’t realize it was iPad only app, ok) so I passed the app code onto a friend who is a homeschooling mom of 4 1/2. She reviewed it in the apple store, but I can’t find the actual review, but this is what she sent to me on on facebook, “Kids are playing it and loving it so far.” (My computer is kind of weird with iTunes lately.) Some reviewers say it has a problem with the sound sometimes so I’m hoping Anna will contribute her thoughts in the comments.

Of course I have to recommend Secret Agent Josephine’s ABC’s, Colors, and Numbers books. They are available in electronic and paperback formats.

SAJ colors book is out!

We received a copy of Ready, Set, Grover for both the Wii and Nintendo DS.


Suki had a hard time with the Wii version of the game, I think she may have been to close and the Wiimote needed to be recharged, but I liked it. The characters look, sound, and move like you expect them to. You can dance with Elmo or serve up healthy snacks to the other monsters. There were many other mini games but those were the two that Suki really loved the most. I think eventually she’ll expand her horizons and try the other parts but for now she’d rather play the parts she already gets.

My favorite part of the game was the fuzzy Grover cover that slides over the Wiimote hiding the buttons that the kids don;t need to use to play.

Luckily a friend let Suki use her DS to try out the DS version of the game. SHE LOVED IT. She tuned to me and said she needed a DS of her own so she could play it more. She said this version was much easier for her to play. Any game that keeps her interest and she isn’t crying because she can’t read the directions is a win for me. The over-sized Grover stylus helped her maintain control during game play too.

I know many of may be confused, yes Suki is nine, yes this is a preschool game. Suki barely reads at kindergarten level so I usually purchase games that don’t require extensive reading. She is improving, slowly, but games that have lots of reading just frustrate her because she doesn’t understand what to do next and we aren’t always available to read every line to her.

Once Upon a Monster made me wish we had a Xbox 360 with a Kinect, but lucky for you we don’t. Find out why later in this post. The kids learn about friendship, sharing and teamwork while playing by themselves or with their friends.


Of course playing with someone else’s DS we had to look at them online and see what was what and what they liked.

Amber wants the 3DS in black and Suki wants one in blue. I played with one at the E3expo Summer of 2009 before they added a few changes that I really dig. Being able to turn off or adjust the 3D is great, but even better is the fact that it didn’t cause me vertigo like the old Sonic games did when I was growing up.


Amber liked this Fashion Designer game

fashion designer

and the NintenDogs and Cats: French Bulldog.


Suki liked the Golden Retriever.

nintendogs 2

This is my last Sesame related item. I love it. If I had my own office/sewing room this would be in it. You can find it at Spencers.

lava lamp

Angelina Ballerina Dance with Me Game

angelina ballerina

If you’re looking for clothes this is what they say is it for this season.

Angelina Ballerinaâ„¢ Books To Bed Pajama & Book Gift Set. (Was available at Totsy, but I don’t know if it still is.)

angelina ballerina pjs

Amber loves the Annoying Orange. My favorite is the Lady Pasta one.

They have an entire line of products to make your kitchen more annoying, er, I mean fun.

Of course Amber really liked the shirts. These were out two top picks. Well, until we received one in the mail.

Wasaaabi! was Amber’s first choice. (Available at JC Penney, Shopko, and Rue21.)


I said she needed the 100% annoying. She didn’t get the joke.

100 annoying

Of course the shirt we received was perfect. I’ll post a photo later today, AFTER she has showered so you can see it. It’s a decent quality, but like most screen tees it requires a cami or something underneath unless you like showing off your underthings.

We perused GAP, Old Navy and Zappos and had to stop ourselves after an hour and a half. We did not look at prices. I told her this was a virtual trip where they could have anything they wanted.

Sweater Dress
gap sweater dress

Shawl Cardigan
gap shawl cardigan

Amber loved everything about this outfit.

old navy 2

The Dolman top in professor plummer.

professor plummer

Skinny Mini Flare Jeans

skinny mini flare

An O-ring belt

o ring belt

Timberland boots.


Lucchese boots.


Justin boots.


Tall faux-suede boots.

old navy 1

We tried looking for gifts for Men. The girls weren’t into it. My Dad likes cooking stuff, Tom is never home to use stuff, Shawn likes to shoot stuff. So, I figured a leather wallet was better than a tie.

I found this one in Gregg McDonald’s Etsy shop.


If you made it this far tell me where you get your gift ideas for the people on your list who have everything and you could win your own copy (NEW) of Ready, Set, Grover for the Wii or Once Upon a Monster for the Xbox 360 with Kinect.

The contest will remain open until 11:59pm PST on December 3, 2011. I will choose two winners, one for each game, via Random.org.

The contest is open to all my readers, but please keep in mind that I cannot guarantee the games will arrive before Christmas, especially if it’s being shopped out of the US.

You can enter up to three times by answering my question, blogging about my awesome ability to waste time online making a guide no one will be interested in, or tweeting/Facebooking it. Leave a comment with a link to your post or tout after you share it.

Please specify which game you are interested in.

No duplicate comments please.