Friday, November 30, 2012

Hallmark – One Part Traditional and a One Part New

Hall mark has some new recordable Christmas products designed for the whole Christmas season – not just Christmas Day.  Until this year we have had a “real” tree but this year we are adapting to the wonder of new technology with a pre-lit artificial tree.  We are getting a little old for the rigors of buying and carrying home a real tree.  Before my son moved out there were three of us working on the Christmas tree project.  Yes, it was always beautiful.  But frankly, my new small pre-lit tree looks pretty good to me.
Perhaps because of this change in Christmas tree this year I am more conscious about the blending of old traditions and new ideas as the season is actually steeped in both.  Especially when it comes to technology.  I just bought a new laptop computer on Black Friday and the Windows 8 touch technology is yet another leap into the future.

You would think that Hallmark cards would be on the traditional side of the ledger but they are always updating their product line and taking advantage of technology. Recordable cards that allow personalization not just in writing but in sound have been around awhile and are very popular.  They are a perfect way for grandparents to share some smiles with a grandchild.  And a super plus if you are grandparenting from a distance.  Whether it is a young child who may be mesmerized by the whole season or a teenager who will smile and get a kick out of it if you send one of these cards, they are a fun way to share the joy of the season.

Here a  couple of the cards:

Countdown Cards: There are two versions of this card - Mickey Mouse and one of Santa's friendly elves. You program – very easily – the number of days until Christmas and it becomes a countdown clock. You grandchild can put this card on his dresser and always know how many days there are until Christmas.

Recordable Wish List: You can record your wish lists directly into this card to let Santa know what is on your Christmas wish list. This card is fun for all ages. It is also a great keepsake to capture a child's voice and keep the list.

Check out these cards at any Hallmark Crown store.  This video has a Hallmark representative talking about this product.  Click here.  
Check out Hallmark’s website forthe interactive storybooks – perfect for grandparents who live afar from their grandchildren.

Full Disclosure:  I was not paid for this product review.  I did receive a sample which I am able to keep. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Melissa and Doug Cyber Monday Special Offer

Are you a big Melissa and Doug fan?  If so, visit the Melissa and Doug facebook page and fill out your wish list.  Three people will win a $100 reward each to use toward their wishlist.  Here are some items on my wishlist for my three year old grandson..

Press and Spin games priced at just $5.99....

Sticker Rolls of sports, knights and vehicles.... $16.99

I had a great time last night completing the 24 piece Fire Truck Floor puzzle and I think we are ready to take on the ...

Land of Dinosaurs Floor Puzzle...

and the

48 piece Shot on Goal Soccer Floor Puzzle...  $12.99

Monday, November 12, 2012

Skyball Football - Old Fashion Fun with a New Twist

I love basic good old fashioned toys like balls.  However, as a modern grandma I also love old fashioned toys with a new twist and I like to write about them. Two years ago I wrote about Skyball.  Skyball is filled with helium which makes it bounce really high.  It gives the ball an extra punch for extra fun.  Read my review which includes a picture of me playing a game that was easier to play…   lets just say a long time ago.  Read it here.

Now, Maui Toys has introduced the Sky Football.  It is a winner too.  Also filled with helium it has an extra bouce and flys through the air with extra power.  Instead of raking leaves on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, I was out in the yard with my grandson and family playing football with the skyball.

The package says ages 6 and up but really any age can enjoy the sky football.  My grandson is three and I was impressed watching Zach and his Dad, Josh, play with it.  Here a few of my favorite pics.

Look at this form

And a great pass
And Way Up in the Air....

Grandma Had to Get in the Action Too
Playing Sky Football is a great way to experience old fashioned fun with a new spin.  Give it a try.

Skyball is made by Maui Toys,  a company founded in the 80’s so it is not a company known to those of us of “grandparent age.” The Sky Football is a "souped up" version of a good old fashioned football and I highly recommend it. There are several varieties of Skyballs – all reasonably priced – and they are available at all the major stores that sell toys. You can also order directly from Amazon below.

So...go outside and play ball with the grandkids.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween with The Trash Pack and Play Doh

What a Halloween we had - even if it was on November 5th. I live in NJ and the governor declared that Halloween be moved to Monday, November 5th because of Hurricane Sandy. Good decision. I wasn't sure if interest would have waned and there were be fewer Trick or Treaters, but that was definitely NOT the case.

We live in a good neighborhood for trick or treating. There are sidewalks and the houses are not set that far back. People drive to our neighborhood to Trick or Treat. So I am always prepared. I also like to have alternatives to candy.  For young children I get small Play-Doh containers.Younger children - and their parents - always are happy to get one of these.

This year, thanks to Litzky Public Relations I also had 50 individual Trash Pack Trashies to distribute. Wow were they popular!  Some kids didn't know what I meant when I asked if they wanted a Trash Pack Trashie or candy but if they did they did not hesitate with what their choice was.

Trash Pack Trashies are popular with girls too - they are not just for the boys!

With Big Boys,

And Little Boys,

And Bunches of Boys,

My grandson, Zach helped

And then showed off his own Trahsies

Here is what The Trash Pack trashies looked like before the kids arrived at my door. By night's end they were all gone.

Series 3 is now available at Amazon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Personal Update on Sandy from NJ


We live in northern New Jersey and by some miracle we did not lose power at all during Hurricane Sandy. We endured hours of unbelieveable howling wind and were prepared with extra food and batteries. We did not lose power although 80% of the people in our town did. It seems like almost everyone we know except our immediate neighbors lost power including ALL of my family. My daughter, her husband and my three year old grandson stayed with us until this morning - Monday. Their power finally came back on last night but it was still cold in the condo.  Thursday night when it began to get very cold, my niece came to stay with us too. We also have been a place to take a hot shower and recharge your cell phone.

I do sorely miss my neighbors' huge tree which I can see from my office. I watched it sway and sway and then filled their yard and hit their house but thankfully did no damage. Here is a picture of my daughter and grandson with the tree before it was removed.

And then Zach posed in front of the truck that would remove the tree and leave a big empy space fo us to get use to.

On Sunday my son-in-law spent five hours on a line to get gas for his car. My niece had power restored on Satyrday and returned home.  Tonight - Monday (11/5) is officially Halloween in New Jersey and I am all set with Play Doh and Trash Pack single packs along with candy.  We usually get a big crowd in our neighberohood but we will see what happens tonight.
Check back and I'll have a Halloween post on Tuesday or Wednesday.
If you'd like to contribute to the disaster relief in NJ here are two of the best ways:
American Red Cross – The Red Cross is the premier organization for dealing with disasters. They have the infrastructure and know how to be efficient and do the most important things first.
Community Food Bank of NJ – The Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network and is a huge operation with locations in North and South Jersey. They have been working with the Red Cross and Salvation Army to distribute 100,000 pounds of food a day. The Community Food Bank is volunteer powered who are usually stocking shelves and filling bags. But this week they are cooking up a storm (No pun intended) to be distributed throughout the state to those affected, and the workers and volunteers who are working around the clock to bring some sanity to the lives of millions.
I hope all of you have safely made it through the storm, have power restored and can get back to leading a normal life as soon as possible.
If you work for a nonprofit that is involved in disaster relief I invite you to post a comment here about what they do and how readers can contribute.