Month: November 2017

Sleeping? Beauty!

Kids passing out in random places is hilarious, man. Like, I personally have never been so tired that I just had to curl up and sleep on anywhere but a bed, couch or chair. Well, except for the time when I fell asleep on my floor, face first, in a plate of Chinese food  But that doesn’t count, because I was DRUNK!

Anyway, children are different. I used to find B in the weirdest positions, which always made me chuckle. J, unfortunately (fortunately?) has picked up on this habit, too, recently. Check it out!

We had come home late evening, and J had fallen asleep in the car. When we got to our house, she took off her coat and shoes, and went to the couch. She was so exhausted, however, that she only made it to the one end, and collapsed. She ended up in this awkward state, dangling off the side, partially upside down.  Apparently she is half five year old girl/half bat?


I apologize for the lousy lighting, as I found her in her closet like this one night.

Yeah, that’s right, her closet.

As far as I can tell, instead of going to her nice, comfy bed, she made a nest out of clothes on her closet floor. Hungry from her nesting, she then pounded back an apple sauce packet, without our permission. Finally she contorted her legs in an awkwardly flexible manner, against the door frame, and fell asleep. Apparently she is half five year old girl/half Gumby?

 

I…..I can’t even.

I can only speculate on what happened here, but I’ll give it a go.
J had a bath on this night, hence the bath toys. Afterwards, feeling so fresh n’ so clean (word to Outkast!), she naturally decided she needed to go on a trip. This required busting out the globe. I guess she’s half five year old girl/half Dora The Explorer? After deciding on a destination, she packed her Frozen backpack with just a few books, including her school yearbook. #kindergartenmemories

The destination must have been to a sunny resort, to escape the Canadian winter. The books must have been for reading material while she lounged on the beach. It was probably going to be a short trip, since she didn’t pack any clothes. Anyway, next, she must have called an Uber, to take her to the resort (I never said geography was her strong suit). Wanting to take full advantage of the door to door service, she most likely requested that the driver pick her up at the door of her choice; in this case, her bedroom doorway.  JUST the doorway, though, so that’s why she put down the STOP sign, to keep the driver from entering her room. While waiting for her Uber to arrive, she got tired,  grabbed a blanket and pillow, and fell asleep.

What? It could have happened this way!  The logic of a little kid is straight bananas sometimes, so you never know!

Awww!  No halves here. This is just 100% adorable, homey!

Big bro, lil sis, cuddled together after story time and a visit from the Sandman.   Why can’t every night be like this?

That’s all for now. Sweet dreams, everybody!

 

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Kids!

Note: While I was compensated for this post by Imports Dragon, the opinions expressed are mine, as always.

Every year in our household, Santa Claus covers off the main presents, no problem, but he slacks off on the stockings. In fact, typically, he scrambles last minute to fill them, and pretty much just hopes that the kids won’t go ‘WTF’ when they empty them. This year will be different, though. My, err I mean, Santa’s good friends at Imports Dragon got it covered. As a distributor and manufacturer of numerous brands of toys, they offer a wide variety of products to satisfy kids of all ages. Available online, or in stores nationwide, here are some that I think make great stocking stuffers for my kids (and hopefully the children in your lives, too!):

 

Shopkins Cutie Cars, Single Packs or 3 Packs

I’ve mentioned before that Shopkins are big in our house. Cutie Cars are a natural extention of those. Cute little collectible cars that you can put mini Shopkins in, and take for a cruise!

NHL Figures, Various Sizes

Speaking of collectibles, these high quality, licensed NHL figures, available in various sizes, are a sure shot to please any hockey fan’s stocking.

Pikmi Pops Single Packs

Pikmi Pops are toy lollipops with an element of fun surprise inside. If your kid loves making videos of them unboxing stuff, they’ll especially love these.

Ooshies

Another cool collectible. Ooshies are tiny, squishy figurines of licensed characters, like DC, Marvel and Disney Princesses. They also double as pencil toppers, ensuring your child will have the most lit writing utensil in the whole school, fam.

Peg + Cat Plush Toys. Peg + Cat Memory Card Game

Peg + Cat is a popular children’s TV show, so fans of that show will really appreciate the plush toy, and the themed memory card game!

Twozies

 

More surprise toys! Except instead of just one mystery inside a pack, there’s two – a cute little baby and a pet. The fun is in collecting them, and mismatching the duos.

Happy Places Shopkins Packs

Here’s another one from the Shopkins universe. Happy Places are collectible, miniature decor toys.

Drawmaster Drawing Kit

Drawmaster is exactly what it says it is. A drawing kit that helps you draw the perfect piece every time. Sweet!

When And Where To See Santa Claus In The Hamilton Area

 

One of our annual holiday traditions is taking the kids somewhere to sulk, act scared and cry get their picture taken with Santa Claus. This year, while looking into when and where Saint Nick is at, in and around the Hammer, I figured I’d pass on my findings, so here ya go. Cheers!

Limeridge Mall

From November 18 – December 10th:

Monday to Friday – 11 to 8pm

Saturday – 10am to 8pm

Sunday – 11am to 6pm

From December 11-23:

Monday – Saturday – 9:30am to 9:00pm

Sunday – 10:00am to 7pm

Christmas Eve (December 24th): 9am – 3pm

Santa’s workshop will be located on the Upper Level, Centre Court. All visits with Santa are free of charge. Photo package pricing varies.

Eastgate Square

Santa arrives November 19 at 2:00pm with his friends Nutcracker, Teddy Bear, Bella the Snowflake Doll and the Christmas Elves!
A fun interactive musical Elf show will accompany the character toys. They will be performing “A Toy Box” Christmas. The show starts at 2:00PM-2:30PM in  Sears Court!

November Hours:

Monday to Friday  10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday  9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Extended Holiday hours begin December 1st:

Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Black Friday (November 24)-  7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Christmas Eve (December 24) – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

Photo package pricing varies. See pricing here.

Note these special events:

Friday December 1st – 9am to 3pm is a Babies’ First Christmas Event. Donate a new unwrapped toy or a gift card for the CHCH Christmas Toy Drive and receive a preselected FREE photo with Santa (Newborn babies until age 12 months).

Sunday, December 3rd – 8am to 10am – Before mall opening is Quiet Time With Santa. Children and teens to age 18 with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other
special needs will enjoy a craft area/entertaining Elves and St John
Ambulance Therapy Dogs for a preselected FREE Santa photo package.

Dog & Cat Photos with Santa:

Saturday, November 25th – 3pm to 6pm
Sunday, December 3rd – 3pm to 6pm
Saturday, December 16th – 6pm to 9:30pm

Regular Santa photo charges apply. Children are welcome without a pet,
too, provided they do not have a pet allergy. $5 will be donated to the CHCH Christmas Toy Drive from each pet photo package purchased.

Mapleview Mall

Free 5″x7″ photos here!  Just bring a donation in support of McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation.

DECEMBER 1 – DECEMBER 10:

Thursday – Saturday 10 AM – 8 PM
Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

DECEMBER 14 – 23:

Monday to Saturday 10 AM – 8 PM
Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Burlington Mall

Santa will be arriving  on Saturday November 25 at 10am.  There will be entertainment and free hot chocolate while we  wait for him to arrive by helicopter (?!?!), in the north parking lot on the corner of Fairview St and Guelph Line. The first 1200 kids will receive a free gift!

November hours are Monday to Saturday from 10am – 8pm and Sunday from 10am – 6pm. Note that Sundays November 26, December 3 and December 10 are also pet photo days (after hours) and Saturday November 25 is a Baby’s First Christmas event (the first 300 babies will receive a free ornament).

 

Royal Botanical Garden

Visits with Santa are included in your general admission on these days:

Wednesdays (November 22, 29, December 6, 13, 20) 5 p.m. to 8 p.m (Hendrie Park)

 Fridays (November 24, December 1) 10 a.m. to 4 p.m (Hendrie Park)

The RBG has a bunch of other cool holiday-themed events going on, too. Check them out!

Stoney Creek Santa Claus Parade

The Hamilton parade will have come and gone by the time I post this, but you can still get a glimpse of Kris Kringle at the Stoney Creek Parade on December 2nd, 2pm, King Street East, Downtown Stoney Creek!

FINALLY, NO SANTA, BUT IT’S PRETTY AWESOME:

CP Holiday Train

Gage Park

November 28, 2017

7:45 PM to 8:45 PM

The train  features 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands lights and a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage.  The Hamilton stop will feature music artists Kelly Prescott, Jim Cuddy and Devin Cuddy. Concert starts at 8 pm. It’s a free event, just make a cash or non-persishable donation to the Hamilton Food Share.

Review – Etch A Sketch!

Disclaimer: While I received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed were, as always, 100% mine.

I don’t know about you, but with the holiday season now upon us, I’m realizing that I need to step up my toy game. There’s just so many options out there.  Shoot, even some stuff that I used to play with when I was a young boy is still around, but modernized!

Take the Etch A Sketch, for example. Ahh, the good old, venerable Etch A Sketch. Many an hour was spent back in the day by me, painstakingly twisting the knobs to move the black lines and create da Vinci-esque masterpieces……only for my little sister to come along later, give the toy a shake and erase my work.

Oh this? Yeah, this is just a lil something something that I doodled. Portrait of KJ and I. What? Well I was there when it happened anyway. Is that good enough?

Anyway, scarred childhood memories aside, the Etch a Sketch is definitely iconic, and a surefire Toy Hall OF Famer. So colour me surprised when I found out that they got the Puff Daddy treatment, and were remixed! Or, more specifically, Spin Master acquired the brand last year and introduced a couple of cool new innovations on it.

First up is the Etch a Sketch Joystick. Basically, the two dials have been replaced with a joystick that swivels 360 degrees, which is perfect for younger kids. It’s way easier to make circles and loops and whatnot. You still just shake it to erase it when you’re done, no mess.  Not gonna lie, though, the whole joystick thing was a bit of a shock for an old school cat like yours truly. I may have busted out a “when I was your age, our Etch A Sketches just had knobs” story, to B and J. I may have also then went outside, grabbed my hose, and told the neighbourhood whippersnappers to get off of my lawn.

Here’s an artists’ rendition of a whippersnapper.

Next up is the Etch A Sketch Freestyle. This bad boy is even more modernized. On this drawing pad, you can use a stylus to doodle. It also has a black magic screen this time, and the lines you draw are multi-colored. As well, it comes with double sided stamps, so you can add in hearts, clouds, stars and circles. J’s the little artist in the house, so she really enjoys playing around on this one.

Like its fellow Etch A Sketches, you still just shake it, to erase it (B and J admittedly had trouble with this, initially. It’s a bit trickier than the traditional ones, but they did get the hang of it eventually). I did find the design of it to be cool. It’s very light, and slick-looking.

Finally (and this was new to me, anyway) is the Travel Etch A Sketch. It’s a smaller version of the classic edition, same magic screen and all. However, I just toss it in the back of my car, and it’s something for the kids to entertain themseleves with, when I’m driving them around. So basically, while they doodle, it gives me a few minutes off before they remember to ask “are we there yet?”. But hey, when you’re parent, you take what you can get, right?

As far as gifts for kids goes, you really can’t go wrong with any of these Etch A Sketches. Hopefully, you’re feelin’ sketchy this holiday season!

 

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