The Best Toys of 2018

It’s that time of the year again; the time for which children all over the world (and more than a few adults, too) have been waiting: the gift-giving season! In particular, as an adult and parent, you are well aware of the months’ approach, given how often the little one clamor about your feet asking questions about the toy budget this year. Instead of having to conduct hour-long searches on Google, we’ve compiled here a selection of the best toys of 2018 – with a wide range of costs so as to be inclusive of most peoples’ budgets.

Not surprisingly, some of the toys from last year crept on to this list, because of the simple fact that the craze for them has yet to die out. Fingerlings are one of them, and stores constantly complain of being out of stock when new requests come in, despite the feverish pace of manufacturers in keeping up with their end of the supply and demand curve. With that set, let’s jump right into the top toys.

The Fingerlings As Advertised

These little monsters and cute, adorable creatures are still near the very top of any kid’s list of toys this year. The Raptors Untamed is the latest incarnation in the line of finger-attached action figures, which successfully combines dinosaurs with the caricatures that have been thus far reserved for sloths, monkeys and other relatively cute critters. Fingerlings are recommended for ages 5 and up.

Plush Toys With a Twist

It’s not surprising that plush toys would be a big hit with kids within a certain age range; even many adults appreciate their large, plush and furry nature. The thing about the new brand of plush toys known as Grumblies – which are making waves across the nation – is that they’re losing a bit of their cuteness and gaining a rougher edge. For some reason, though, kids are taking to them as a replacement for the unrelentingly cute furries of yesteryear. Just wait until you get a look at their faces! Things sure have changed since you were a kid.

Dinosaurs Are Taking Over – Imaginext Jurassic

Not surprisingly, the reemergence of Jurassic Park on the Big Screen has spawned a resurgence of toys related to the franchise. The Imaginext Jurassic World Jurassic Park, for example, is a definitively hot ticket item that’s certain to fly off the shelves for months to come. It’s large and substantial, which means that it will take up lots of play time as your little loved one cycles through all the permutations and makes his little slice of Jurassic Park come to life.

Pet Vet Play – The Examine and Treat Play Set

For your fledgling veterinarian; this adorable playset starts him on the road to becoming a doctor for the sick animal someday. It’s no wonder that this is one of the best toy sets of the year – toy maker team Melissa and Doug has stocked the bag full of all the little elements that real pet docs use. You even get a pet toy dog and cat in the bag, on which to carefully run your health examinations. With two dozen pieces in all, your little one won’t want for examples of what to do. It comes with a diagram and a checklist, too.

Make Mine Marvel With The Avengers Training Kit

There hasn’t been a comic book franchise as successful on the Big Screen as Marvel’s recent movies, with characters like Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor and Black Panther capturing the imaginations of fans of all ages – especially the young. This toy set lets them use various odds and ends from their super-powered heroes and pretend to shoot repulsor blasts from the lifelike Iron Man gauntlet, or snake through the advanced jungles of Wakanda with the Black Panther mask.

Nerf N-Strike Elite Gun

Never to be confused for a real gun, this colorful projectile toy carries quite the punch – and it’s all in fun, guaranteed to provide the children with hours and hours of fun in any moderately expansive space. Nerf guns tend to dominate the Christmas season among a certain age group, and the company has responded with advancements that will have your boys (and some girls) clamoring for upgrades like the speed-load tech that automatically loads the next foam clip and lays waste to the opponent’s dreams of escaping untouched. Always be sure to get extra darts – they are inexpensive since it’s just colored foam.

We could of course go on and on with the toys that are available this year, but the above are definitely some of the very best.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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6 Unique Gift Wrapping Ideas

Six Unique Gift-Wrapping Ideas

The art of wrapping gifts happens to be one among the things having a great start but then gets worse over time. One will not only use the wrapping papers on heavy rotation but also fall short of incredible ideas in a short time. Due to this concern, many people end up relying more on gift bags than they should. Therefore, great ideas to transform the gift-wrapping lives of such individuals are necessary.

This year, you expect to make even the least valuable gifts to look uniquely-sterling. The process can never be simplified further than the following outstanding ideas meant to transform the whole wrapping process and make all gifts eye-striking.

  1. Nametags Done Creatively

Source: Man Made DIY

It is not uncommon that few people would recycle the wrappers they had before. If you are one of them, then you have to use a plain paper to wrap your gift, and write on top of it the name of the receiver in a flaring way.

You need to use an Xacto knife and a stencil to dexterously cut out target-letters from a printed paper or a newspaper and glue them on your package. If this process is a tedious one for you due to the long time you will consume, then you can alternatively get stick letters from the nearby craft store and save all the time you would otherwise spend cutting the letters from newspapers. Eventually, the final piece you will get is an incomparable one regardless of the method used, as long as every detail is emphasized and unmatched clarity is employed throughout the processes!

  1. The Black and White Technique

Source: Going Home to Roost

This is a trick that is fast-growing and many people all over the world are fast-adopting it for the efficiency it offers. You only need a black craft paper, which your gift should be wrapped in, and then a white paint pen is used to write the names of the recipient on it. With this method, you will indeed use the shortest time possible and still manage to bring out the elegant look it deserves. However, the short length of time you will use means you employ meticulousness on every detail to make the work quite a masterpiece in the end.

  1. The Colored and Patterned Bow with White Paper

Source: Perfectly Imperfect Blog

It is the favorite for many people due to its explicit elegance. It has a clean appeal owing to the white background. When you add the brightly-colored bow, you will have a gift that is eye-catching for its beauty. You can enhance its specialness by using the simple tricks of the boldly colored satin or patterned bows.

  1. Using Natural Means

Source: Apartment Therapy

You can use little effort to acquire the highly-coveted brown-wrapped packages that bear a spring of evergreen, which identifies it with nature. Creativity is all that is needed here, and when you use your fresh foliage to enhance the look, it will turn out both appealing and unmatched at the same, and the people who look at it will love the work put in the process as they appreciate nature as well. Even though the cost put in the process money wise is negligible, the receivers of these gifts will hardly forget your creativity and they will keep appreciating the unique presentation you did for quite a long time.

  1. Stacking the Packages

Source: Interesting Stuff

One may be having several parts to their gift, and it is highly advisable to make them all look like one gift instead of dealing with each of them as a separate entity. When you apply this trick, it will eliminate the bulkiness of the entire package and as well as add some unimaginable pomp to it. You can use tricks such as the Snowman and Santa stacks or any other applicable stack bearing the same model through the entire package. When done correctly, it will put smiles to many faces that will behold the sight, especially under the trees. However, you should know the process requires a little more effort as compared to the aforementioned ones, but it is all worth the hassle.

  1. The Use of Holiday Decorators

Source: Hometalk

The idea of using the holiday decoration-enhancers to beautify your package is quite a lovable one. These include the lights, the tiny ornaments, and candy canes. All these add some little but an extra value to the appeal of your package. The package will be attractive from both the inside and outside, and it will indeed match the merry-making occasion! Also, it will create a serene appeal by the way it looks even to those who are not meant for the present, and they will all leave at the end of the day with the memories of your strikingly-appealing piece of art lingering in their minds.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

 

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It’s Christmas in July!

Technically, Christmas is in December, but now might be a great time to start thinking about your annual Christmas or Holiday card you send out to your friends and family. Get yourself ahead of the busy season of gift buying, your out of state family and never ending festivities and start your Christmas in July with Basic Invite. So bust out those sweaters in this St. Louis sun and get ready to start spreading that holiday cheer!

Basic Invite has many options to choose from when it comes to capturing your perfect personalized Christmas cards. Just about any color, custom prints, foils, and even a variety of colorful envelopes! And because St. Louis Dad likes giving his readers and advantage, if you use Basic Invite today you can save 30% with this exclusive coupon code: holi30 

Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what we feel sets us apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what we feel is our biggest draw.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes – Basic Invite is just as colorful with our envelopes as we are with our invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of our envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders.

Foil – Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

Don’t forget! Right now Basic Invite is offering 30% off with coupon code: holi30 

So get a jump start and make an impact with your holiday photo cards this year with Basic Invite! I know I am, because that’s what smart dads do. Actually, this will be my first year ahead of the game and it’s all thanks to Christmas in July. Check out Basic Invite on the various social media platforms for more exclusives!

This is a collaborative post with Basic Invite and St. Louis Dad

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Making Snowflakes and Singing Christmas Songs

IMG_7190Sometimes we try to pack as many things into one weekend as we can just so we prove how we are super parents. Not exactly, but sometimes that’s how it feels. This weekend was no different. We had a packed schedule and did not have any time to mess around. Friday and Sunday nights were probably the easiest of the bunch. We didn’t have much to do then but we were still busy. To kick off the weekend after work I went over to my brother’s house and got my brakes changed in my car. It didn’t take as long as other repairs so once we had that finished I headed off to grab some dinner and ice cream with my niece. I had not realized that the elementary’s Christmas concert had just finished and families were piling into the local Dairy Queen for a nice treat.

We waited for 20 minutes for our food. It was still delicious but 20 minutes was a long wait. Once we finally got out of there we headed home to play for a bit before it was time to go to bed because Saturday was a busiest day and we needed plenty of rest. I turned on Disney’s The Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey and all of the kids were out before Scrooge was visited by the ghost of Christmas past. I myself was dozing off so it was about time for me to go to sleep as well.

IMG_7169The next morning was busy. We all had to get ready to head downtown to the St. Louis Marriott Grand for the #DoYouWannaBuildaSnowflake event for the Children’s Miracle Network. The event was a lot of fun and the kids made a bunch of snowflakes. Anna and Elsa even stopped by and sat with the kids while they worked on there snowflakes. After making several designs Anna and Elsa got all of the children rounded up and played a few games with them. There were also snacks, music, and hot chocolate! You can stop by the Marriott Grand all through-out December to see all of the snowflakes that were made and even take a few minutes to make one of your own.

After making our snowflakes we headed back towards home but instead of getting back inside of our warm house we had to go to my daughter’s kindergarten Christmas concert. She had been practicing her songs for a few weeks now and was ready for her show.

I was a little worried about Abby IMG_7220getting up there with her class and singing in front of a large crowd of people, but she managed and did a fantastic job. We got some pictures and some video from her performance and our family was just so proud of that little girl. We almost had the entire crew there and seeing Abby’s smile up on stage was worth the busy day.

We kept our evening fairly light. Picked up some dinner for ourselves and the kids and spent the rest of the evening working on some projects and watching Christmas movies with the kids. Sunday morning was busy for me. I had a support call to go out on. I decided to take my son with me and we went out and were able to finish within an hours time. We stopped for some lunch and then headed back home. It was one of those weekends that you second guess yourself as to why you planned everything for a single day but after it’s over you look back and are happy you did it all anyway.

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