Three Line Tales: Kingdom

tltweek69

I sit cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by a court of teddy bears, dinosaurs, and toy cars.
I am the queen of this kingdom, the finder of lost toys, the mender of boo-boos.
And beside me, atop his throne of Legos and coloring books, sits my perfect, tiny prince.
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My weekly response for Sonya’s Three Line Tales (Week 69) writing challenge. Photo by Carson Arias via Unsplash.

#3LineTales

Dream Journal 5/9/17 | Scavengers

[Hello, friends! For those of you who don’t know, my horrible neighbors from across the hall have finally moved out! Our landlord asked us to keep an eye on them, because they owed several months of rent, and they figured they would try to skip out on it. Well, they were right. My neighbors moved out in secret, under the cloak of darkness, during a time they knew I’d be unable to reach the landlord. But I did let them know, and they are officially gone! Finally! It has been several weeks since they moved out, and Kyle and I noticed that they left several pieces of furniture, and other items in the apartment. Our landlord has yet to come by to clean out the place, and I have been anxiously awaiting the day, so that I can get a peek, and maybe a score. I’ve been having dreams about it, you guys. I had another one last night, and it was pretty crazy. Here we go!]

I was standing in the hallway of my building, talking to our maintenance guy, Rocky. He was finally coming to clean out our neighbors apartment, and I asked him nervously if I could take a look inside to see if we wanted anything, since it would all be getting thrown out. He laughed, and told me he was more than happy to let me take a look, because otherwise he was going to have to hire an army of movers. I opened the door to the apartment across the hall, and my jaw dropped. The place was immense. And still fully furnished.

The apartment seemed to stretch on and on, and I could stairs leading both upstairs and down, even though our apartment was only one story. There were couches, chairs, tables, candles and lights, and decorative objects everywhere, making the apartment look more like a cluttered furniture store than an apartment that people lived in. Some pieces were old and damaged, while others seemed to be brand new, and high end.

I ran back into my own apartment to get Kyle, and the two of us began roaming through the vacant apartment. At one point, I turned to see Kyle heading back toward our apartment, arms filled with dining chairs, and a large mirror. I grabbed a large, colorful ottoman, and a few really cool vases filled with decorative branches and fairy lights, and moved them to our place. I let Kyle continue to grab more pieces, and decided to explore the large, mysterious apartment. I found that it had at least 6 bedrooms, as well as some smaller, completely empty rooms, that looked straight out of a horror movie. In the basement, I found a large, above ground pool, completely filled with water, as well as a bunch of tiki torches and an entire patio set, which I left, because we didn’t have room. The setup was really pretty, though.

I also discovered an attic, which was filled with nothing but brand new kids toys, furniture, and clothing. Sandboxes, swings, cars, dolls, kids furniture, bedding, and virtually everything else you can think of. I called Kyle up to the attic, and told him to grab several items, including a cool twin bed frame, some bedding, and a weird caterpillar blanket thing.

Back on the main floor, I made my way to the back of the apartment. All of the rooms I passed seemed to be empty, but I could see a light on in the last room. The walls of the room were glass windows, and I could see a young woman sleeping in the stylish, fully furnished room. I walked in and shook her shoulder, and she awake angrily, immediately demanding that I leave. I explained the situation to her, and told her that everyone was gone, and she told me that they had just been there that morning. I told her no one had come or gone from the apartment in weeks, and she became confused about what day it was. I started grabbing the decorative pillows from off the bed, and she tried to wrestle them from my arms. I told her that none of the stuff belonged to her anymore, and she got angry and stormed out.

I took the pillows, along with a pretty lamp that I found in the hallway, back to my apartment, which was now filled with various furniture and other items. Kyle was in the process of putting a large, wooden dinging table and chairs in our kitchen, and I could see the young woman from before arguing with the maintenance guy outside our window. I started rearranging some of the decorative items in our living room.

I vaguely remember going back and looking through a closet filled with women’s clothing after that.

And then I woke up.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Little Milestones | 2 Years Old

Hello, friends! My little man’s second birthday was on January 23rd, but I have been planning another milestone post for months. It’s been a long time since I did one of these, and I wasn’t sure what all to include, since toddler milestones are SO much different than infant milestones. I no longer am tracking when he rolls over, babbles his first word, or uses a spoon for the first time… he’s mastered all of that, and so much more. I tried to look up the same type of charts that I used when he was a baby, but I guess once your kiddo reaches a certain point, the charts just don’t exist.

So, I guess I’ll wing it, and just do what I did last time!

16107237_10208157496074623_2212953149510855899_oThe Basics:
Liam turned two years old on January 23, 2016. As of now, his exact height is unknown, but he’s weighing in at around 30 pounds. He has his two year checkup on February 3rd, so I’ll be able to fill that in afterwards. He wears a size 3T top, a 2T-3T bottom (depending on the brand and how they run), a size 9 shoe, and a size 5 diaper. He’s still my gentle giant! He has all of his teeth now except for his back molars, which we believe are coming soon, based on the rivers of drool, finger nibbling, and fussiness he’s been exhibiting. He’s still tall and skinny, and we still don’t know where he gets it from!

Physical Development:
Liam is active and full of energy. He runs, jumps, hops, dances, claps his hands, sings, and can even do somersaults around the living room. He is always on the move, and hates sitting still, which makes long car rides a bit difficult. His fine motor skills and coordination are great, and he enjoys twisting the caps on and off of every bottle he comes across, throwing balls and other small objects, stacking and filling cups, blocks, etc., and hiding objects around the house. He also loves to brush his own teeth, wipe himself during diaper changes, and blow his own nose. He can also completely dress and undress himself, including zippers and snap buttons. He’s pretty independant!

15977369_10208157500874743_1856180081958901388_nEmotional & Social Development:
It’s finally happened, y’all. My son has finally come out of his shell. He still won’t run up to random strangers and demand to be held, but he is finally sharing his all of his love with friends and family that he has seen before. From high fives, to blowing kisses, to giving hugs, to dancing and jumping around, and sharing his toys, my little one has finally started to get over his anxiety and open up. It is so refreshing to see. He is also able to communicate better now, and can articulate, in his own way, what he needs, which has resulted in fewer meltdowns… unless it is something I refuse to let him have. Oh, boy.

Learning & Vocabulary:
We’ve had to unfortunately put some of Liam’s learning on hold because of some other stuff we’ve been dealing with, but plan to pick it up ASAP. Currently, Liam knows all of his basic colors, a handful of shapes, and the numbers 1, 2, and 3. He can also hold up two fingers to tell you how old he is. He knows how to turn his toys (and pretty much anything with a switch or button) on and off, and we recently got a LeapStart to help him hone in on his fine motor skills, and to help him further develop his knowledge on all things toddler.

Oh, and speaking of communication, Liam has made GREAT strides in just the last few months. His word list is long, and silly. I’ve stopped trying to compare him to every other kid I see his age, who seem to be speaking in full sentences. As he’s shown, he will do what he wants, when he is ready. And, boy, can this kid talk when he wants to. Here’s a list of all of Liam’s known words and phrases. On occasion, he has been known to combine a few, like “Bye bye, baby!” to form small sentences as well!

words

See? He’s come quite a long way! I feel like I may have forgotten a few, but those are all the ones I have written down. His current favorites are “uh oh” and “pizza“. He’s been calling most foods “pizza” lately, haha. Which brings me to the next category…

16178972_10208221005022307_6057956033326460555_oFoods & Eating:
Aside from when he is sick, which he has been for a couple weeks now, Liam will eat anything and everything I put in front of him. Fruits and veggies, meat, dairy… everything. Some of his favorites include pizza, ice cream, yogurt, pineapple, macaroni with meat sauce, meatballs, carrots, mashed potatoes, and pretty much anything that I have on MY plate. He can also successfully use a normal fork and spoon without difficulty. When it comes to drinks, he likes most things, but it has been difficult getting him to drink his milk. He likes milk, but I think he just finds it boring. He’d much rather have juice, or a smoothie. Since he’s been dealing with a horrible cold, with mucus coming out of just about every hole in his head, drinking milk has been practically non-existent in this house. Hoping he starts drinking more soon. He can successfully drink with a straw, from a normal cup, and from a normal plastic bottle.15107352_10207692615652903_6837362670149185000_n

Potty Training:
We started potty training several months ago, and it was going well… then we had to put a pause on it, because there were some big changes being made in our household, and I was unable to continue. Now that things have calmed back down, we plan to pick it up again immediately. For the last month, Liam has been waking up with a dry diaper most mornings, and I’ve had success putting him on his potty, and him going. He still won’t poop on the potty, but he gets really excited when he pees in it. I’m excited to get back into it!

Naps and Bedtime Routine:
Nothing has really changed in our bedtime and nap routine, and I attribute our great success to keeping a strict bedtime and nap schedule. He still takes one nap a day, roughly 2-3 hours, sometimes a bit more or less, and he goes down without a fuss. The same goes with bedtime. He has started stalling, often needing to give daddy an extra hug or two, needing to grab one more lovey, or wanting several more sips of water, but he always gets to bed on time, and falls asleep quickly.

14947474_10207609960666580_7961387108818975879_nHe still sleeps through the night, about 12-13 hours in total, sometimes more. We have a toddler bed, but have yet to transition him to it. There’s been a lot of changes happening lately, and I don’t want to overwhelm him. He’s had some interest in sitting and lying on the bed in the past, but since we only have the one mattress, moving it back and forth is a pain. Having both beds in his room makes his room look a bit small and cluttered, but I am trying to use this crib until I can’t anymore. He hasn’t tried to climb out yet! And, truthfully, I don’t feel like our apartment is 100% child-proofed. Many of the doors are crooked, or don’t close properly, including his bedroom door. Most of our doorknobs have child-proof device on them, but if they don’t close fully, those devices are useless anyway. I think I may just be paranoid, but I’ve read too many horror stories, you know? I still feel unprepared.

Playtime and Activities:
I don’t even know where to start! Liam is at such a fun age now, where he loves to play. He’s gotten so many awesome toys for Christmas and his birthday, that I’ve had to rearrange our living room THREE times to get it all to fit in a spot. He has a play kitchen, tons of play foods and dishes, a play grill, a tool bench and tools, a play vacuum, a play cleaning set with broom, mop, spray bottle, etc, tons and tons of Mega Bloks, cars and trucks, a farm set with a TON of animals, and his current favorite, a two-sided easel with a whiteboard and chalkboard. He loves to color and draw, read books, do wooden puzzles, and recently showed an interest in Playdough as well.

Above all else, he enjoys doing the things that Kyle and I do. He loves to help with the laundry, and put the dishes away. He is no longer afraid of the vacuum, and when he sees me getting ready to vacuum the floors, he runs to get his vacuum to help. He was always stealing my broom and dust pan, so we got him his own, and he loves to sweep the floors. He was always trying to see what we were cooking, and we were afraid he would hurt himself, so we bought him his own play kitchen, and he plays with it all the time. Seeing him turn into a productive, independent little boy, right before my eyes, has been… everything. I’m getting emotional just typing that out!

Oh, and he enjoys watching cute animal videos on YouTube. I even made him his own playlist!

I suppose that’s it for now! I’ll give you all more updates as he grows, but I think that about sums up my sweet, silly, energetic boy. I am so proud of him, and he fills my heart with so much love.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

16251989_10208233658618639_831415270322811316_o

Baby’s First Birthday Toy Haul Review

Hello, friends! As some of you may know, I wrote a 3 part series of reviews for all of the toys that Liam got for his first Christmas (if interested, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Well, his first birthday was less than a month later, on January 23rd, and he got some great toys! About a week has passed, and we have had time to thoroughly explore and play with all the new toys, and I thought it would be fun to do another toy haul review! Unlike my Christmas toy haul, I’ll be doing just one post for these reviews, as I am only doing 6 toys.

As with the previous posts, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

Here we go!

1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros: Amazing learning toy! Very interactive. Power and volume control, as well as four ways to play (learning time, Spanish, music time, and play time with real sounds). Very colorful and eye-catching. My son attacked it and wanted to play before I had even put it together. The piano keys are our favorite!
Cons: None!

2. Bizzy Square – The Buckle Toy
download
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟✰✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros
Colorful, soft material. The back has several numbered tabs that baby can lift to reveal animals. Clips are very easy to clip and un-clip, great for babies who like to play with and chew on clips, with little risk of pinching their fingers. Comes in several colors/characters.
Cons
Toy is smaller than it appears in pictures, has a cheap feel for the price.

3. Fisher-Price Little People See n’ Say
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: 🌟✰✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: 
Colorful. Features a variety of animals, a song option, and a little game.
Cons: 
Lever is a bit difficult for my 12-month old to pull, and can be awkward. So power or volume control, and volume is VERY loud. Animal noises are unrealistic and sound a bit weird.

4. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Speedsters, Monkey & Sis


Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: 
We have the full set of 3, and they make excellent learning tools, that double as great, cheap toys, and my son loves them. Colorful and eye-catching. Move very smoothly.
Cons:
No power or volume control. The volume on the Monkey car is much higher than the other two, and his voice is very shrill. I actually get headaches from that little green car.

5. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros:
Great learning tool, features power and volume control, as well as 3 stages of learning. Each button has the option of saying the letter, character/object, and the sound it makes. Plays several different songs, different on each learning setting. Lights on top and sides light up in several, bright colors.
Cons: 
NOT a touch screen, which is fine, but baby does need to press a bit on the buttons, which seemed to put my kiddo off a bit. When you are playing with the alphabet buttons, it randomly cuts you off and plays music, which is a bit annoying.

6. Mega Bloks Jeep Lil’ Off Roader Building Set
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros:
Instantly caught my son’s attention in the store. Great size for toddlers. Looks like a realistic, tiny Jeep! Comes with 7 pieces, which includes a little removable character, and 6 Mega Bloks blocks. Blocks can be played with on their own, or can be arranged on the roof of the Jeep.
Cons:
Very basic, limited interactivity. A bit expensive for what little it does.

There you have it! I have to say that my favorite toy is definitely the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Table. I love how many settings it has, and I actually really enjoy composing short piano pieces with the 4 colorful piano keys. Liam loves the piano keys, too, and plays with me! I’d say his favorite toy is probably the Learning Table as well, but he is definitely a fan of his Mega Bloks Jeep, as well as his Fisher-Price Tablet (but only if I’m using it with him), and his Fisher-Price train that he got for Christmas, of course!

We are really loving all of the Fisher-Price learning toys! I love toys that have multiple learning stages, and look like “real” items that mommy and daddy use, and these are all just fantastic! I hope this helped out a few folks out there who are hunting for gifts for little ones!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Holiday Toy Haul Ratings (6-36m): Part 3

Hello, friends! It has been a busy time here on my little blog! I started doing the daily writing prompt (you can find them here), and it has started to get my creative juices flowing again. I missed writing just to write!

I decided that now would be a good time to add another part to my list of toy ratings from Liam’s first Christmas! His first birthday is in just two weeks, and I’m sure he’ll get all sorts of fun toys, so there will be at least once more part to this series. So let’s get rolling! I’ll be doing another 5 toys today… kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel now.

Just like last time, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

1. B. One Two Squeeze Blocks
blocks
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Colorful and cute. Each block has a number, a textures design, and an animal, corresponding to the number. Blocks squeak when squeezed, but it isn’t super loud. Blocks are easy to clean, and work well as teethers. Can be played with in the bath!
Cons: When you first get them, they are covered with a strange, greasy substance, which is difficult to wash off. I had to scrub each block with soap, water, and an old toothbrush before giving them to my son.

2. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Speedsters, Puppy
k2-_0baaa5a4-9cfc-4948-9fd7-c8a049e223cd.v1
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Such a cute toy! Button lights up when pressed, and says the ABC’s, as well as several other phrases. There are actually 3  characters, and each one teaches something different (Monkey teaches shapes, Sis teaches numbers), and there is also a speedway you can buy for them. Cheap, fun toy!
Cons: No volume control, toy is a bit loud. Wheels are loud on hard surfaces. Feels cheap, but for the price, I’m not complaining!
** Edit: Liam got the Monkey and Sis cars for his birthday today, and he loves them! The sound on Monkey seems to be MUCH louder and sharper compared to Puppy and Sis, but if baby is happy, I’m happy!

3. Disney The Good Dinosaur Arlo and Spot Activity Ride On
10306723_10205469611279183_8752390327538041380_n
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: One of Liam’s current favorites, as you can see! Several buttons and levers (including tiny “piano” keys) for baby to play with. Lever makes dinosaur’s head move when pulled. Lightweight and easy to push around. Very sturdy.
Cons: No volume control, no on/off switch. Assembly was a bit of a pain.

4. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Honestly surprised by how much Liam loves this timeless, classic toy! The shapes are sturdy and bright, and he enjoys playing with it by himself, or with me. He knows how to put the shapes in, and enjoys shaking the container around and making noise when it is full. Another one of his favorites, and it is such an inexpensive learning toy! I had to give it all the stars!
Cons: The lid comes off very easily. Not a big deal, but I wish there were some sort of simple latch.

5. IONIX Jr. PAW Patrol, Adventure Bay Block Set
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟✰✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: Compatible with Mega Bloks, which we planned on buying him for his birthday! Sticker decals come unattached (except for two, which are already on the blocks). Colorful and easy for baby to grip.
Cons: NO INSTRUCTIONS, I had to look up videos on YouTube. My son had no reaction to these after a couple minutes, and still wants nothing to do with them. We haven’t watched Paw Patrol, so that may have something to do with it. A bit expensive, only a few dollars cheaper than Mega Bloks, but with less pieces. So far, we’re not fans.

There you go! Hope you guys are enjoying this little series of mine. I thought about doing videos on my YouTube channel, so you could get a better idea of how a little one would play with them, but I don’t know how it would work out. That just about does it for Liam’s new toys, but he should be getting more for his birthday! Look for more ratings in the future!

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Holiday Toy Haul Ratings (6-36m): Part 2

Hello, friends! Happy 2016! I hope you all had a safe and fantastic holiday. I won’t talk too much about our New Year’s here, since this is another toy rating blog, but we did have a good time doing things with family, and Liam got tons of new clothes, books, and toys, which I will tell you all about in upcoming post, hopefully sometime soon. But here we go with five more toys!

Just like last time, I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

1. B. LucKeys Toy Car Keys with Lights and Sound
15187641

Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Keys are made from stainless steel, and are easy to clean. They look and sound like real keys, which keeps baby’s attention. Makes several realistic car noises. Light up.
Cons: Price. We found these keys at Target (though they are only available in-store), and just like with the B. Toys HiPhone, we only paid around $10. However, both toys are listed well over $35 on Amazon. Not sure why. No volume control, but the noise isn’t loud to begin with.

2. Fisher-Price Musical Lion Walker
Y9854-musical-lion-walker-d-8
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Volume control. Piano keys play notes and tunes. Has a tiny mirror with flippy animal images, and several other little gizmos for baby. Lion’s nose lights up (is also a button they can press). Walker makes noise as baby walks with it.
Cons: Walker is a bit on the lighter side, while pushing it, baby knocked it over easily. Wheels do not turn. Not many play options for babies who aren’t interested in pushing it.

3. VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone
spin_prod_964943212
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Very interactive and realistic. Is an actual “touch screen”! Screen lights up in several patterns. Screen slides to reveal two, different screens, each with different activities (number keys and music/sounds). Each number key does several commands. House button (to the right of the “0”) allows you to program your home phone number, so that you can teach your little one!
Cons: No volume control. Screen looks cheap. Lights in screen are red, as opposed to blue or white, and show up dull. Have read reviews about the lights/sensitivity in the screen not working after a short time, but no issues so far.
** As of 2/24/16, this toy no longer works. It repeats the same tune all day long, and no other buttons work. We had to turn it off permanently.

4. Little Tikes Lil’ Ocean Explorers – Crawl ‘n Pop! Turtle
638497-oeans-explorers-turtle_xlarge
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟✰✰
Noise: 🌟✰✰✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: Cute and colorful. Shapes are easy to put into their corresponding spots. Baby enjoys chewing on shapes.
Cons: No volume control, and VERY noisy when moving. Moves somewhat erratically, as opposed to a straight line. The popping noise it makes when popping the shapes out is very loud and may startle baby. Shapes sometimes get stuck and do not pop. If the turtle is not turned on, shapes do not stay in place very well, and may fall out. Cute toy, until you turn it on.

5. Oball Rattle and Roll Car
k2-_b4517f65-5ea5-49cc-8fb9-0d5f42f17d05.v1
Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: Colorful, fun design. Comes in 4 different colors (my son has the red and blue pictured). Durable. Surprisingly quiet for a “rattle” toy, but still makes enough noise to satisfy baby. Moves very fast with just a tiny push. Doubles as a teether. Baby can put fingers into holes for extra grip.
Cons: Wheels are a bit loud when on hard surfaces. A bit too lightweight.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope these posts are helping at least a few people with potential gift ideas! I’ll be writing another post or two soon, depending on how many more toys I have left to score.

Hope you’re all enjoying 2016 so far!

Jan

Holiday Toy Haul Ratings (6-36m): Part 1

Hello, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and got to spend some quality time with your friends, loved ones, pets, or even some quiet time with yourself. We had a pretty good Christmas on this end. We celebrated our Christmas on the 24th, and went to Kyle’s mother’s in the afternoon to open presents with the rest of the family, after opening presents at our house. It was loads of fun!

Liam received lots of fun, learning toys, so I decided that I wanted to post a multi-part toy haul series, telling you about the toys that he got (all in the 6-36 month age range), and what we think of them after playing with them all. Just in case anyone needed any gift ideas for their little ones, or other peoples, in the future!

The reason I chose to do a series is because we have one more family Christmas to go to in January, and then Liam’s first birthday (omg!), which is also in late January.

I will post the name and link for each toy, as well as an image. Beneath these, I will be using a 4-star system, rating each toy on their:
Attractiveness: Colors, shapes, detail, and how well it captured and kept my son’s attention.
Interactivity: Age settings, movement, how much can he do with it, etc.
Noise: (If applicable) Music, sounds, volume control, sound quality.
Quality: Flimsy plastic, not baby-proof, etc.
Overall Score: A mix of my opinion and my son’s opinions.
I will also list Pros and Cons.

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As you can see, he is pleased with his haul! I will only be rating the toys today, and not any of the books or his toddler learning kit. We’ll see if I do those in the future. I will be rating 5 toys today!

1. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Pros: 3 levels of play, grows with your baby. Good learning tool for body parts and colors. Has over 50+ songs, phrases. Colorful. Heart lights up. Volume control.
Cons: Flimsy material, not sturdy. Looks and feels a bit cheap. Can feel the sound discs in the hands, feet, and ears, which makes it less cuddly that it appears. Sound is a bit high-pitched, even with the volume on the lower setting. We already have the My Pal Scout toy, but Puppy seems slightly less popular in our household.

2. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: N/A
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros: Colorful and timeless. Rings double as durable teether. Caught baby’s attention, and he squealed happily when he got the rings on by himself.
Cons: Base is not flat, it is curved, which makes it tip over easily when baby tries to put rings on.

3. B. Toys HiPhone
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟✰
Quality: 🌟🌟✰✰
Overall: 🌟🌟✰✰
Pros: Personalized message recording, touch screen that reads off numbers, several realistic messages and songs. Looks like a “real” phone, caught baby’s attention. No volume control, but volume is lower than other baby toys I have seen.
Cons: Price on Amazon is very expensive, but you can buy from Target for around $10. Cheaply made. The Home button and Record/Play buttons stopped working less than an hour after opening. They now work only occasionally. The phone is for ages 18+ months, but doesn’t appear to do well with baby drool. As of yesterday, half of the lights in the screen stopped working. Baby has since lost interest.

4. VTech Musical Rhymes Book
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros: Caught and kept baby’s attention immediately and is a current favorite. Parent can play and read with baby, or baby can play alone without issue. No volume control, but noise is not too loud. Very colorful. Two play settings for music or story. Several classic nursery rhymes, as well as instrumental noises. Pages turn and have objects to move on each page. Buttons are colorful and easy to press. Volume control.
Cons: None.

5. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Smart Train
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Attractiveness: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Interactivity: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Noise: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Quality: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Overall: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Pros: Another very fun favorite (for both of us). Volume control. 3 levels of play, including colors, shapes, and the alphabet. Comes with 3 removable figures, and two train parts, and no assembly. Very interactive. Train can be set to move across the room while singing the ABC’s, and baby loved to crawl after it. Fun learning toy.
Cons: Frog figure is a bit small, despite being a 3-36 month toy. Baby did put it in his mouth, but was not able to fit it in entirely. Be watchful with smaller toddlers.

So there you go! I hope this helped give you guys some ideas for future gifts (or post-holiday exchanges). We’ve been having a lot of fun learning and exploring! I can’t wait to post more.

Happy holidays, and thanks for reading!

Jan