Holiday Gift Guide: Castle Blocks

November 28th, 2007


You need something to shoot your catapult at, don’t you?

I don’t have this exact set either. But we have a set of hand made castle blocks we got about 10 years ago. Truth be told the set pictured above is even nicer than the one we have.

Handcrafted in California out of Ponderossa Pine.

AND the set is on sale right now for $99 for all 133 pieces.

Holiday Gift Guide: Spinning Tops for Stuffing the Stocking

November 28th, 2007

spinning tops

I don’t actually own these little tops. But I found them today while I was doing my work for and thought they were adorable.

Completely hand made and sold at etsy, the hand made mecca, as a set of three for $15

Holiday Gift Guide: Catapult

November 28th, 2007

I know, I can hear you now. But they will shoot their eyes out! It hasn’t happened here yet and I think I have rather rowdy children. We do have basic ground rules like not using it for shooting hard objects– not so much for eye protection but for my windows. Ping pong balls or bean bags are ideal and still have enough force to knock down little castles, stacked tin cans, empty soda bottles.

Lots of fun for ages 3 to 93. We have had this exact one for 7 years and aside from replacing the elastic bands it is still in perfect working condition.

Holiday Gift Guide: Wooden Picture Squares

November 27th, 2007


80 wooden picture squares that can be put together in different ways. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do this puzzle.

Varialand is made in Germany

Holiday Gift Guide: Fun for a Girl or a Boy

November 26th, 2007


The classic Slinky. The metal kind, for the love of all things holy not the plastic kind.

I bought several of these to use as stocking stuffers.

Holiday Gift Guide: Digital Cameras for Kids

November 26th, 2007

Taking a picture of me taking a picture of them

I am putting this here for those of you who are coming just for the gift guide and not regular readers of my other blog. Which, why aren’t you?

Those of you who have already read the review can carry on. Or you can read it again!

I reviewed these four cameras here.

I have no idea where they are manufactured. So if you are looking for items that are solely China free, you might be out of luck.

Holiday Gift Guide: Blocks and Marbles

November 24th, 2007


Winner of Dr Toys 100 Best Children’s Products Awards

This is a set of 45 blocks and 14 marbles. Build marble runs from your own imagination. It came with a canvas drawstring bag to store all of the pieces. My marble obsessed son loves it.


Made entirely in the U.S.A

Holiday Gift Guide: Cooking in the Mini-Kitchen

November 24th, 2007


This little kitchen is perfect for people who have a small space or don’t want a huge kitchen set taking up half of the room. It is sized perfectly for the toddler/preschool set at 31″ tall x 21″ wide x 12″ deep.


Set comes with 23 pieces of wooden cookware and food. (Pots with lids, a skillet, utensils)

I also bought this wooden food groups set and the little wooden crates fit perfectly inside of the mini kitchen and keep all the food items organized. You can see them inside the “oven” section.

Mini Kitchen for sale at Hearthsong for $99.

Fruitless Quest?

November 24th, 2007

Just interrupting the Holiday Gift Guide for a moment to react to this article I just read at msnbc.

The reporter attempted to boycott all goods made in China. And in the end determines that it is a “fruitless quest.”

I have been thinking about this quite a bit recently. The majority of the things that I pick up to purchase are made in China. And an even greater number are manufactured outside of the USA, even the beloved American Girl dolls. Say it ain’t so!

But to call it fruitless and toss your arms up in the air and give up seems the equivalent to me of not recycling anymore because you see other people throwing away their plastic bottles. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, there are times when it might be impossible to buy the item that you desire because it is only made in China. Hello iPod I am talking to you.

But for me, and I hope for others, it is not so much saying I will never buy anything ever again that is made in China, as it is examining whether or not I honestly need that item. Is there a different item that would do? Can I buy a different brand? Can I buy it someplace else? And probably most important of all, can I do without it?

Being an informed consumer is never fruitless in my mind.

cross posted at Handipoints