Before the holidays last year, I saw and read a lot of posts on what would be good gifts for husband, wife, kids, etc. None of them (disclaimer: THAT I REMEMBER), however, had much in the way of "have this and it is AWESOME". They were mostly of the "this would be a great gift" variety. So although the holidays are over, there are birthdays, anniversaries and other gift-giving events coming up throughout the year, so I thought I'd tell you that WE HAVE THESE AND THEY ARE AWESOME.
First of all, books. There are lots of good series out there, and I'm not going to go into those here. I want instead to highlight a couple books my middle two kids received for Christmas this year that are really good. First is How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith. I highly recommend that you click over and do a "look inside this book" thing. It might just be the coolest book I've ever seen. Jo and Beth each received her own copy. I think this would be a good gift for kids from about age 8 - 12. Maybe a little younger depending on the child; Beth is 6 and she loves it.
The second book may make many of you cringe. I did a little at first, but in the grand scheme of things, this is a good option. Many little girls love the whole princess thing. My 6-year-old certainly does. So when she saw How to Be a Princess by Bee Willey in a store, she immediately was drawn to it and coveted it mightily. It was the only copy and was a little beat-up, but I looked through it and saw that I might have misjudged. Indeed, you cannot judge a book by its cover. So I ordered it for her for Christmas. It is one of her favorite gifts. Here's what I like about it: It stresses politeness, courtesy, kindness and good behavior. It covers choosing a prince in such a way as to emphasize that a princess looks beyond appearances when choosing her prince, and instead focuses on his actions and how he treats others. On every page is a little "extra" such as a little story booklet or fold-out or a paper doll and clothing. So if you have to do something princessy, this is a good option. Age range is whatever the princess obsession covers.
Moving on to games... My oldest actually received this game the Christmas before last, but I have to mention it just because it is such a cool game. Dicecapades.
Never heard of it? Neither had I until I was walking through a local Barnes and Noble and saw it on a table. There was only one and although the box looked a little worn, the game looked neat enough to take the plunge and buy it. There are a bazillion dice (exaggeration) and the game involves trivia, motor dexterity, math, wordplay, etc. It is a really cool game for ages 12 and up. I really enjoy it myself.
Another good game for older kids and adults is Buzzword. It's a lot of fun and basically involves coming up with phrases containing a particular word based on clues. There is a lot of tip-of-the-tongue frustration and "oooohhhhh, I KNEW that"s when the answers are revealed.
Two other games were received by Jo. Flinch and Bananagrams. We haven't played them yet, but they look like fun. I'll let you know what we think after playing.
Lastly, I want to show what Amy, my 2-year-old, is enjoying and playing with the most. She loves puzzles and her two favorite gifts by far were Melissa and Doug's See & Spell Puzzles and Infantino Matching Colors and Textures Puzzles.
Finally, MY favorite gift that Amy received was this hat:
I'm really sorry I can't find it anywhere on the web (during the 5 minute effort I made), because I know you all want this hat for your girls now. I bought it at 50% off (couldn't afford it otherwise, it was $36 flippin' dollars for a BABY HAT, which I couldn't justify, but $18, while still a little high for a BABY HAT was justifiable by the sheer adorableness of the item, but still don't tell my husband I spent $18 on a BABY HAT) back in May from a boutique store that was going out of business. I just couldn't resist. The hat is fringed by little hanging pom-poms and each little pom-pom has a different little design stitched onto it. I do now know why, when choosing my pseudonym here, the name "Picklebottom" popped into my head. I had recently purchased this hat, which is made by Petunia Pickle Bottom. Is that not the cutest hat you've EVER seen?