Saturday, December 28, 2013

Have you read the Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bear Reviews Yet?

I've seen a bunch of links floating through my Facebook feed saying the reviews of the Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bears are sooo hilarious. I thought, eh, how funny could they be? As funny as the Hutzler Banana Slicer reviews? I think not.

I could not have been more wrong.

The Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bears reviews are beyond hilarious. Go. Read. Laugh.

Click here to read for yourself.

New here? Check out the Random Handprints Facebook page for more funny stuff, and Instructions for my Husband on Facebook for husband humor.

Amazon affiliate links embedded above, because why not? Oh, and just in case you're wondering, this post is in no way compensated by or endorsed by Haribo.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How to Have a Perfect New Year's Eve with Kids

So you're lucky enough to be spending New Year's Eve with your kids - congratulations! Adult parties are sooooo over-rated, and really who needs to be out on Amateur Night?

If you're a parent, then you know you're better than late night drinking. If you have kids, chances are you've been known to drink early, and often. Who hasn't ordered a 7am mimosa with breakfast, because, quite frankly, it felt like at least 7pm.

But I digress... this isn't about what you could be doing instead on New Year's Eve, this is about what you are actually doing on New Year's Eve: spending a super-fun and memorable night with your beloved children.

As this is how I have spent each and every New Year's Eve for the last decade, here's my foolproof schedule for a perfect New Year's Eve with your kids:

6:00pm: Get ready for your night in! For girls, start with a mani-pedi, the more glittery the better, and finish with shimmery eye makeup and a fancy hairdo. Let them put on their fanciest and/or favorite-st outfit. For boys, nail polish and make-up is optional, but changing into some formal attire is not. My son has already announced he'll be wearing his Iron Man costume.

7:00pm: Dine in style! I'm a fan of the twelve course meal, with each one written out in a menu that's in the shape of a clock, but I also have a lot of time on my hands. If you haven't the desire to make an elaborate menu, let alone meal, any festive meal is a fabulous and perfect way to start the night. We usually have dinner now, and dessert later... 'cause midnight is still six hours away.

8:00pm: Get paper and pen, because it's time to write some heartfelt memories! There are lots of great printables to help with this, but really you don't need a pre-made template. Have the kids write a Top 10 list of favorite things they did in 2013, record all their activities, the best place they traveled, what they like to eat the most, and what their goals are for the year ahead. For a fun twist, have your kids interview you, and each other, investigative reporter style.

9:00pm: Dessert! One year I made a cupcake clock (pictured above, directions here), another time we had cookies decorated like clocks. There's no end to the fun dessert ideas, just take a glance at Pinterest if you need some inspiration. And of course, candy or grapes in multiples of twelve are always a big hit with the littles.

10:00pm: Party like it's New Year's Eve! Turn up the volume and have a dance party, play games, watch videos you recorded in the past year or have the kids perform. End the hour by winding down and reading favorite books and have the kids get into their pajamas.

11:00pm: Get ready for the big moment! Start the countdown now. The little people will more likely than not be acting like tiny terrors by now, so keep the busy. I make five little kits of surprises and toys to keep them happy during the last hour, and the kids open one every ten minutes from 11:00pm to 11:50pm.

11:50pm: Make a Toast! Give the kids as super-special drink for the midnight toast. Sparking apple juice in a champagne flute or warm apple cider in a mug, anything works. Go the extra Pinterest mile if you want with rainbow drinks or cotton candy sodas. When in doubt, add a crazy straw or for a super wow-factor throw in a light-up ice cube.

We give our kids tiny bottles of bubbles to blow as the clock chimes 12, and is a perfectly magical way to bring in a new year and wave goodbye to the old. Also, bubbles in toddler hands make much less noise than do noisemakers.

MIDNIGHT!!!!! You made it! Has anyone puked? Fallen down the stairs? Sent a regrettable drunken text? If not, give yourself a hand on a New Year's Eve gone good.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I'm visiting Kissing the Frog today

My friend Kathy at Kissing the Frog has been kind enough to have me over to her place online today and share a piece I wrote about my dear friend Leonard as part of her Grief Stories series.

For several years when I lived in Boston, I visited an elderly man each week. I tell about our friendship here in Sundays with Leonard.

If you don't know already know Kathy and Kissing the Frog, please go visit her blog and read her heartbreaking story about the loss of her son in Joey's Story, as well as her post Pictures Can Lie.

Thank you Kathy, for sharing my story.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's Holiday Time, Yo.

Since Hanukkah came early this year, I feel like "The Holidays" have passed already, while of course for most people the main event of Christmas is still more than a week away. For those of you who still have holiday shopping to do, here are a few more picks for gifts that were big hits at our house:

Winx Deluxe Fashion Dolls ($21.99) from Nickelodeon. My daughters (ages 8 and 10) don't watch the show (there is a show, right?), but they lovd the doll's wings and that they were removable, as well as the fact that the doll has lots of points of articulation and can be easily posed in lots of different ways. Also, the glitter was a big plus, too.

My son, age 4, is a huge fan of the lean, green fighting machines, so he loves this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lunch Box Puzzle ($8.00). He really likes doing the puzzle and then putting the pieces back in the tin, and I don't think you need me to tell you how much a  toy a kid will clean-up on his own is a win-win-win-win-win.

Also getting the rave reviews at our house is this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle LEGO Set, Stealth Shell in Pursuit ($24.99). My four-year-old son plays with it the most, but his tween-age sisters were more than happy to put it together for him.

And if you have kids who are Rainbow Loom fanatics, they'll love this brand-new product, The Loom Boom ($9.99). Invented by a five-year-old and brought to market by his mom, this cool catch-all is a great place to store and display finished bracelets and the base makes a perfect home for all those loose looms, too.

So what toys are the biggest hits at your house?

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I did receive the Winx Doll and the Ninja Turtle products for review purposes from Nickelodeon.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gift Ideas (and More Gift Ideas) for Kids

One of the lucky perks of being a writer for parenting publications is I get to review toys, all year round and even more so in the holiday shopping frenzy that leads up to Christmas. I go to the annual Toy Fair in New York City and to smaller events throughout the year and find out both what's hot from the big players and what's cool from the smaller specialty companies.

So... if you're looking for gift ideas for kids this holiday season, here are my picks for the very best toys:

New Jersey Family Magazine Holiday Gift Guide - this gift guide has gifts in categories from WOW! Factor to Making a Difference. You'll find something for every kind of kid and occasion.

10 Best Gift for Kids this Holiday Season - I'm sharing my own favorite picks on for kids toys and gifts, most which have been personally tested (and approved) by my three kids.

I also have eight gift guides I wrote here, covering everything from the Best Wooden Toys to toys with the words a parent most likes to see: No Assembly Required.

And if you've already moved on to the gift wrapping portion of your holiday season, here are my tips for wrapping gifts without tape, and even without wrapping paper.

Note: The Happy Holidays blocks pictured top left are from Uncle Goose, these handcrafted wood blocks made in the USA are one of my favorites and come in lots of fabulous designs, including the Hebrew alphabet and the newly issued Stack and Scare.

Do you have a favorite kids toy? Share in the comments! And more importantly, if there are any to avoid let me know!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Finding the Funny - Share Your Funniest Post Here!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two Crazy Good Cyber Monday Deals

I don't care what deals I miss on Black Friday - and even less so about any on grey Thursday - because no deal is worth big crowds and mall traffic.

But Cyber Monday deals I can get from the comfort of my home or office? Yes, I'll take those.

Here are two Cyber Monday good deals I've seen this morning on Amazon, I'll add more later today if I find any as good as these.

HALF OFF Barbie 3-Story Dream Townhouse on Amazon

This house is sooo expensive (almost $200) that 50% really matters. At a little under $100 I don't even think it's that bad a price since you get the house and all the furnishings (no dolls, though).

My kids got this from their Aunt and Uncle for Hanukkah (who sadly I'm sure paid full price) and they love it. It took a while to put together, but wasn't *that* bad. There are lots of sounds, an elevator and other cool features, and at $92.49 a lot of play value.

JOOLA Inside Table Tennis Table on Amazon

This is on my kids wish list, so I've been watching the price. While it was lower last week when it was a featured deal, it's currently 44% off for a savings of more than $250 off the original price.

So those are the two good deals I've seen this Cyber Monday morning, now tell me what good deals you've seen.

This post is totally not sponsored, I just wanted to pass on these good deals. There are Amazon affiliate links embedded above which I'm hoping will fund a trip to Tahiti, or even just Starbucks.

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