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Nov 28, 2010

If I had a boy I'd buy him a GRILL

This is the second post in the If I had a boy series. A while back when I was looking for a stove to purchase for my daughter I came across some beautiful toy grills. With having a stove I do not think my dd needs a grill as well. But if I were to have a boy, I'd buy him a grill. My thinking is, we'd already have a toy stove, no need for another.

So you know I am a fan of Melissa and Doug. Well they have the cutest grill. It's portable and affordable, what more could you ask for? It comes complete with food and skewers. This toy is about 20$
although you may be able to purchase it for less on an Amazon sale. Seen at right.

The Eduo Go Anywhere Grill is similar in concept and price to the Melissa and Doug grill. For a slightly higher price than the Melissa and Doug grill you get 2 steaks, fish and movable charcoal. Shown to the left, this grill is about 30$.

Plan Toys also produces a table top produces a table top grill. Their grill is special, because their company is committed to being green. The toy is made out of recycled
rubberwood . This toy might cost you a few dollars more than the Eduo grill.

Kids Toy Charchoal Barbeque Playset is the only non wood set you will find on this list. This grill is so realistic looking. In fact it is pretty much a replica of my grill. For about 30$ you can purchase it off Amazon or from Pearle kids. Shown to the right

My Backyard BBQ Set by Hape toys is with out a doubt one of the top grills. Not only is it realistic looking but it is eco friendly. It has four turnable burners, and a removable grill top. It does not come with food, but you can purchase their BBQ fixins starter set which has food and condiments. This toy will cost you about 100$. It is on the
more pricey side but it is comparable to top toy stoves.

For another large grill check out Kid Krafts Grill N Bake Kitchen. This is a two sided kitchen that features a traditional kitchen on one side and a grill on the other. It is by far the most costly at about 200$, but you do get two for one.

Lastly, If you are the do it your self type person, you may be interested in this article on Ohdeehoh. It is step by step directions to making your own toy grill.

Nov 27, 2010

If I had a boy I'd buy him a doll

I have realized that most of my post are directed towards daughters, with a few gender neutral post here in there. This is because I have a daughter, but I have come across a few toys that have made me say "If I had a boy". So here is the first of a few post on toys I'd buy if I had a son.

I have seen some articles on people who are conflicted about or strictly against boys playing with dolls. Now I do not have a son, but I think that if I were to be blessed with one I would not only allow, but buy him a doll (or two). Now I'm sure he wouldn't have a doll collection that would resemble my daughters (although its only 2 dolls large at the moment I anticipate its growth), just as she wouldn't have a toy car collection that resembles his (she is the proud owner of a C9 pink, X9 purple and M9 aqua automoblox, I do not foresee it growing), still I'd buy him
a few.

Here is my thinking. I am not opposed to raising "manly men", however I think balance should be introduced. Boys and thus men tend to have difficulty being nurturing, and expressive of their emotions. Dolls encourage nurturing behavior. Furthermore children imitate what they see their parents do. Long before my daughter had a doll she was feeding and pampering other objects. I suspect any future son I have will do the same.

So here are my top 5 boy dolls (I may expand it to top ten soon).

Nighty-Night doll by The Childrens Factory(formally Fanny's Play House). I think I am in love with this company, they are known for their diverse dolls. The nighty-night doll comes in an African American, Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian version. It also has a version with down syndrome and several girl options. This doll is adorable, it comes wearing pajamas and carrying a teddy bear with matching pajamas. Did I mention it is machine washable.

The Childrens Factory does it again with these anatomically correct Baby Bottoms doll. Like all of their doll this potty doll is available a variety of races. It also comes with a baby bjorn style potty. My daughter actually owns the female version of this doll.

K's Kids Micheal doll. Actually I considered buying the sister doll Barbra for my dd. The dolls are 12 inches and come with loops to be attached to a stroller or crib. They are machine washable and infant safe. They are also affordable at about $13, and easily found at major toy companies.

Baby Sam (this may not be the real name), by Manhattan Toy the brother doll to baby stella. It has just about all the features that made baby stella become my dd first doll. It has a magnetic mouth to hold a pacifier. Unfortunately this doll only comes in one variety, Caucasian. I am not sure if it is anatomically correct like stella is.

Bur Bur is a Biracial boy and the main
character of a book series. He has several accessories, like a base ball and bookbag. He also has friends, that are characters in his story. Best of all he is reasonably priced at about $12.

Nov 26, 2010

Oh Snap...Hair Snaps!!!

Although I live in a city know to have it all, it is not always possible to find all of the hair supplies I want in one store. I have come across three hair sites that sell the hair snaps I love so much. I have found three sites all mommy operated, dedicated to selling hair accessories that make you reminisce the days when your mother did your hair.

Snapaholics is the first site I discovered. The site sells hair snaps, hair beads, hear ballies, barrettes and more. This mommy has a U.S. and Australian site. It is also the sister site to Keep me Curly.

Another site I stumbled across is Curly Princess Hair Boutique. This mommy sells beads, barrttes, ballies and snaps.

The last site I came across is Shuruba. Shuruba
means Hair braids in Amharic, the language of the children this mommy adopted from Ethiopia. This Canada based shop ships to Canada and the U.S.. She has a variety of snaps, combs and brus
hes, headbands, barrettes, beads, hair and skin products and caps.

Nov 3, 2010

Potty training

So we have started to walk down the long road of potty training. The first potty I purchased was one that sits on the toilet. This was when she was just an infant and I had decided that I would try Elimination Communication. Well that failed. My babe was terrified of the toilet.

Some months down the line, when she was about 18 months I purchased a simple potty. No princess characters, no lights bells or whistles, a basic affordable potty. My purchase was inspired by my DD discovery of a new talent, how to remove a diaper. I even purchased a potty training movie by barron and a book. They were both amusing to her but I doubt they had any impact on her choice to use the potty.

In fact I'm sure that the most sucess we have had is due to her imitating. But I am afraid our potty training milestones have taking a break. It may be due to our new use of pull ups. So I have decided to make the switch to training pants.

I was hesitant because the thought of cleaning them is no more enticing then the thought of cleaning the free standing potty. But I will take one for the team. After its great ratings I decided to go with the potty patty brand of training pants. What I predict to be a days worth was comparable to a pack of pull ups, so I suppose they will be well worth it shall they work.

I decided not to go for the complete potty patty system(their is also potty scotty) for a number of reasons. The first being it is about $100. We also have no need for the potty, since we own one. Lastly, the doll lacks diversity. As in they are only cacasion.

I did however decide to buy her a potty doll. I decided on the The Childrens Factorys baby bottoms potty doll.(Their whole line of dolls is pretty amazing) Simply because it was the only African American cloth potty doll I could find.(I am not a fan of plastic toys). I think she will be a good complement to my DD baby Stella doll(her first doll).Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that the doll is available in many varieties, Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian and African American. Since it is in essence a rag doll it does have one short coming when compared to the potty patty. It can not actually pee.

However, one frugal creative mom gave me an idea to overcome that minor detail. She took a doll and attached a small shampoo bottle filled with yellow water to the back of it and presto! A urinating doll. Once my amazon purchase arrives I feel I will be prepared to continue our potty training journey.

Nov 2, 2010

Somebody please call a doctor.

So if you know me you know I love toys that encourage imaginary play. What you don't know if I once longed to be a doctor. I adored my first
doctor set. It has been at least 20 years since I have set eyes on it and I still remember the kit. It came with a stethoscope that had blue ear buds, yellow tubing and a red chest
piece; a needle, band aids and more all in a black doctor bag. So naturally I hope to eventually provide my daughter with a
kit that will provider her with her own fond memories. A kit with a more eco friendly twist, of-course. I have heard other mommies complain about the lack of doctor kits made from natural material, but I have come across a few.

The first set I cam across was in Target(Shown above). The plawonder brand sold by target markets wood toys at a reasonable price; at just $17.19. My First Doctor Set is not 100% wood, but if you are looking for a nice adorable, easily found option, this set is far from disappointing.

Soopsori is perhaps the most beautiful doctor kit I have come across. This eco friendly Japanese company sells high end, high quality toys in U.S. and Canada, Australia, Japan and Korea. This set retails for $39.95. (Shown at above at right)

Another high end doctor set can be found at Bright Button Toys. This 11 piece set includes stethoscope, surgical mask, doctor's jacket, thermometer, scissors, otoscope, cough syrup and aspirin all in acute red case. At $49.95, this set includes what your child needs to jump start their imaginary career in medicine and more.

The popular German company Haba also sells a doctor
kit. Unlike the others this kit is made of metal and wood. It comes with a prescription pad, pencil, tongue depressor, wooden syringe, medicine tube, tube of ointment, spoon, thermometer, 4 band aids, an elastic bandage in a wooden case. Surprisingly (Haba tends to be costly) it cost about $29.
(Shown above to the right)

Different from the other sets, this last kit is plush. This eco friendly doctor kit is made from environmentally friendly rubber by wonderworld. It is available for about $27. (Shown to the left)

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