18 Month Old Holiday Gift Guide

This is the age of exploration and discovery.  If it can be opened, it will be.  If it can be banged on, it will.  Over and over again. Kids at this age love to play, and they don’t always play with things in the way that you might expect them to.  Kids at 18 months are just starting to get into imaginative play, so you can set the stage for years to come with some bigger purchases like a dollhouse or playhouse, a play kitchen or a craft table.

1. Melissa and Doug Band in a Box - Most kids like music.  Or should I say love music?  While they may have been making music for some time by banging things against walls, now they can really use musical instruments to start tap-taping to a beat and interact with mommy or daddy. 

2. Shape Sorting Bucket - Though this toy seems simple (and is very inexpensive) toddlers can play with it for hours.  They learn their shapes and sort them, count them, stack them and of course throw them into the bucket.  With the top on kids can shake the bucket, and the handle allows for small and pudgy hands to be able to carry this around with them.

3. Play Kitchen - The nice thing about a play kitchen is that your little one can make their own “meals” and “snacks” in their kitchen while you make some in yours.  

Kidcraft Uptown Kitchen matches the more modern stainless steel and dark-wood kitchen perfectly and the Kidcraft Vintage Kitchen in red is fun and really makes a statement.  What kid does not like red? 

The Pottery Barn Kids Red Retro Kitchen Collection may cost as much as some of your furniture, but it sure is beautiful and well-made!  This is the kitchen featured on NBC’s the Parenthood in pink.

4. Shop and Play First Food Set - with or without a kitchen set, this is a fun way for a toddler to play with their food without making a huge mess!

5. Green Toys Dish Set and Green Toys Chef Set For your aspiring chef!

Have you ever tried holding a 25 pound squirmy and hungry toddler while near a hot stove or cutting veggies?  It is not fun.  Here are two options to make cooking more fun for both parents and toddlers:

6. Learning Tower by Little Partners - The Learning Tower creates a secure environment to stimulate a toddler’s imagination in the kitchen or at the counter (or really any elevated surface) and has two add-on accessories: the two Playhouse Kits feature a puppet show/popcorn stand and an ice-cream/lemonade stand and the Little Partners Art Easel which has a blackboard and a magnetized dry erase board. It also features a movable space for art supplies.

The Learning Tower adjusts to four heights to accomodate a growing child, and can hold up to 500 pounds - so you can safely put two kids in the Tower at once.  A child can use the Learning Tower for years!

7. Matching Lovie and Toddler Blanket - Every toddler will love this gorgeous and plush Button NYC lovie and matching toddler blanket set by Button NYC

8. Ride-on Toys - Two favorites are  the Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug or the Pewi Y-Bike.

9. Pediped Shoes - Pretty much the most adorable and comfortable shoes a kid can wear.  Available in three different collections to grow with each child.  They are machine washable and mimic the way kids walk with bare feet.

10. Joovy Tricycoo - A pushtoy to stroll a stylish tot around the block that converts to a tricycle when the child is ready.  Just wait for thr grin on a little one’s face when they see this and ride it for the first time!

11. Step2 All Around Wagon - This wagon is perfect for a little one for a stroll around the neighborhood, playing with friends and more.  Comes with a canopy, places to hold drinks for parents and kids, a scret compartment and the seats fold flat to make a table or bed.

12. Skip Hop Travel Luggage - Kids love to wheel things around.  Just the site of this luggage is sure to elicit a smile from your child, and they impose an easy rule when traveling - you can only take as many toys as fit in this suitcase.  Genius!



Tweens and Teens Gift Guide

In search of a holiday present for a tween or a teen?  If you are like me, you know everything there is to know about bottles and blocks but absolutely nothing about bigger kids.  That’s why we asked our Fave MomMe, or as she is known to everyone else FaVe Mom, for her help in assembling a great holiday guide for this very picky crowd. 

FaVe Mom is the mom of a 9 and 13 year old, proud military wife, Founder of Celebrate the Military Child which provides gear, clothes, support and services to military children, and an all-around favorite MomMe of Club MomMe’s Founders.

Here is FaVe MomMe’s Guide:

Tweens and teens are the most difficult to buy for and you might be asking me why. Well, let me see. They’re coming into their own, ten times pickier than anyone else, they’ve outgrown the dolls and Duplos and they’re not ready for the older teen stuff. I remember a time when the box the gift came in resulted in hours of fun. Not anymore…I need to buy the perfect gifts for my 9 and 13 year old or it will result in arguments about who mom loves more. For the record, I don’t love either child more than the other. Although I’ve loved one almost four years longer, not more!

Some of your tweens and teens will love video games and high tech gadgets while others will love movies and arts & crafts. Either way, I’ve rounded up some TERRIFIC holiday gift ideas that will keep them happy and entertained for hours. If you’re having trouble figuring out which toys to buy, can help with that. They’ll help you pick toys that you’ll love as well as your children. There must be something magical in the quiz. They help match me to items and recognize the most important things to me, that I didn’t know where the most important to me. Try it out and be entered to win a $500 shopping spree toward your Lela list. Contest ends November 30th. Enter NOW before it’s too late!

1. Heelys – You’ve all seen tweens and teens in your local malls or supermarket rolling around in what looks like shoes but, au contraire, mon frère, they’re not just shoes, they’re shoes with a removable wheel in the heel. What is even more amazing is that these come in youth, teen and adult sizes. Oh yes, I have a pair if you must ask. The socialites. I’ve got kid size feet for a reason.  More importantly this is a gift that gets your kids, tweens and teens moving!!! 

2. eReaders – Some of you will buy the Kindle Fire HDs and some will choose to buy more affordable options like the Kobo – Vox eReader or the Pandigital  Star 7” Android™ Media Tablet but either way, these make the perfect gift and they encourage reading. That’s a win-win. Technology that encourages reading, I’m pretty sure you can’t beat that!

3. Nintendo 3DS – I know that I try to avoid game systems but this is a beloved FaVe of both girls and boys, from tweens to teens, so I couldn’t have a 2012 Holiday Gift Guide and NOT include this item. You can choose from four different color options too.

4. Griffin Helo TC – this free app turns your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad into a remote control for this super high-tech chopper. It makes your kids get outdoors so, yet again a good gift idea. For only $50 you’re guaranteed hours of fun. Don’t steal it from your children. I know you’re going to be tempted too.

5. Legos – What CHILD in America or anywhere doesn’t love Legos and Building Blocks of any kind? Not any child that I know. They all love them. From a LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0, to a Lego Space Shuttle, to a Lego Star Wars Minifigure Clock, your child is guaranteed to love anything Lego period!

6. MINECRAFT – DO NOT BUY the iPhone version unless your child has their own iPhone. Otherwise, don’t expect to be able to use your iPhone for hours at a time. This sandbox game allows children to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world. My child loves this game and compares it to Legos and how you can use different cubes to build different things. They love this game.

              7. Konexi – the gravity-defying word game takes Scrabble and Words with Friends to a new dimension. You literally build your words into a three-dimensional tower using the grooves in each letter piece. Brain power alone won’t be enough. You’re going to need finesse to create the words and it is guaranteed to keep you all on the edge of your seats. J

                8. Digital Camera – My tween and teen constantly want to use my camera to take photos. They’re old enough now to take care of a digital camera all their own. I suggest the Olympus VG-160 14MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom. It is only $63 and comes in four colors.    

                  9. Genetics and DNA Kit – As a child I was completely perplexed by the fact that my mom, dad, brother and sister all had brown hair. Everyone had green eyes but my dad. I was the lightest blonde haired, blue eyed girl in the world. Perhaps I was adopted or kidnapped at birth. (No, they would have given me back. Trust me. LOL) The neat thing about this kit is that you get to investigate your family tree and heritage. You learn how traits are passed down from parent to child.

                    10.  Crayola – You might be wondering why Crayola made the list for Tweens and Teens. Their Crayola Digital Light Designer and the Crayola Marker Airbrush Set. My children played with both of these for hours. They don’t come with the batteries so, my suggestion is to buy the Energizer® MAX® Batteries with Power Seal Technology.



                    MomMe-to-Be Holiday Gift Guide

                    Looking for a present for a MomMe-to-Be?  We hand-picked 10 of our favorite things perfect for the expectant MomMe on your shopping list or for a baby shower or even hospital gift.1. Mama Glow - The Hip Guide To Your Abundant Pregnancy for before, during and after pregnancy.  This book will leave you looking and feeling your best, and help you start motherhood in the healthiest possible way. 

                    2. Posh Push - Posh Push is the modern Girl’s Secret to a More Natural Birth by Sara Smildzins and revered Southern California childbirth educator Patricia Grube, this book will help any MomMe-to-Be prepare for a more natural birth.  Use code Momme for $5 off your Push Pack.

                    3. For Two Fitness - Workout apparel with adorable phrases like Training for Two (or Three!) and Body By Baby.  A favorite of our expectant mom fitness expert Sara Haley, For Two Fitness is made from high quality materials and will allow your body to grow and continue to workout in comfort.  And you may just wear their black pants for your entire last trimester!  Save 20% with code MOMMEGIFT through Jan 1st.

                    4. Ruby Loves Baby Book - The most beautiful, thoughtful and innovative baby book you will ever find.  Using fabrics from Dwell Studio and other high-end companies, these books have removable pages so your writing will never ever be ugly due to writing on the back of a picture.  This will be a baby book you will be proud to show off for years to come!

                    5. Push Pack - The pre-filled hospital packing bag with all of the essentials to make sure you get to the hospital with everything you need and want!  Think it can’t happen to you?  One of Club MomMe’s Founders somehow forgot shampoo and conditioner even though she owns about 20 bottles at home!!  Don’t make the same mistake!

                    6. Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra - Must have hands-free bra if you plan to pump.  This will save you hours of leaning forward and getting a sore neck and back, spilling milk, and having a crying baby next to you with no way to pick them up.  Make a soon-to-be-MomMe very happy and get her this bra (or two for when one is being washed!).

                    7. Boppy Prenatal Cuddle Pillow - There is no such thing as comfortable sleep when you are very pregnant.  And by very pregnant I mean as early as 20 weeks.  The Boppy Company makes a great pillow to provide support for your growing belly and knees without a huge bulky pillow that I have heard called things like “The Great Wall of China” by some daddys-to-be.

                    8. Fit Pregnancy Subscription - Even if you are not a super fitness-minded MomMe-to-Be, Fit Pregnancy Magazine is filled with helpful information about what to eat when you are expecting, labor advice, hospital packing lists, the best new baby gear, stories from other moms and more.  This magazine will get you moving and feeling good before and after baby!

                    9. Netflix Subscription - Love it or hate it post price-change-gaffe, Netflix is a great way to entertain yourself when you are stuck at home, sitting in a chair and nursing for several hours a day.  Also great for MomMes-to-Be on bedrest or just seeking a touch of the outside world after being stuck indoors, Netflix shows like Up All Night and Parenthood for some new parent bonding.

                    10. Food Delivery Service - Having a tiny new baby involves so much work, you won’t have time to sit down, much less cook, for weeks.  Gift a local meal delivery service specially desiged for new moms like MotherBees.  Or gift healthy food that is healthy, simple to cook and defrosts in minutes like Simply Fine Gourmet (a Club MomMe Favorite!).  Or assemble a group to deliver meals using a site like Meal Train.

                    11. Expecting More DVD by Sara Haley - Workout DVD by Sarah Haley.  This DVD will get you moving in a safe yet challenging workout that will get you in tip-top pregnancy shape.

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