Advent Calendars 2016 – Toy Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers. To my fellow Canadians, Happy Thursday before Black Friday. I hope folks on both sides of the border score some really great deals!

With December 1st approaching, it’s time to talk about Advent Calendars. I really love the idea of Advent Calendars – the opening something everyday in the countdown to Christmas. Both Daughter and I are allergic to chocolate (serious hives and eczema) so here’s a round up of some non-chocolate, toy-based Advent Calendars that I’ve seen. Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list so be sure to add any that I’ve missed in the comments.

I’ve been seeing Advent Calendars since September, which always seems so ridiculously early to me. In the past, the really popular ones like Lego and PlayMobil sold out really quickly but now they are clearly making more as I saw them both in multiple places while I was shopping yesterday.

Lego has three varieties of Advent Calendars. Friends, Star Wars and Lego City. I could’ve sworn there was a fourth so if you see another, let me know. I’ve linked the ToysRUs website but I’ve seen them at Chapters, The Lego Store and Kite and Kaboodle as well (same price).

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All three images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

PlayMobil is the other really popular one that usually sells out pretty quickly.  This year they have five sets: NHL Advent Calendar ‘Rivalry on the Pond’1.2.3. Advent Calendar Christmas (for toddlers), Fire Resuce OperationChristmas on the Farm, and Dress Up Party. Again, here I’ve linked ToysRUs but I’ve seen them at Chapters, Toad Hall Toys, Kite and Kaboodle, and Hudson’s Bay.

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All images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

MegaBloks does two calendars: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Monster High. Strangely, ToysRUs doesn’t have pics of the box for the TMNT one, only what’s inside. *shrug*

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mega Bloks Advent Calendar

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Images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

Barbie does an Advent Calendar that includes shoes, purses, necklaces and even one outfit. I would’ve LOVED this as a kid. Daughter is still a couple of years from Barbies yet but I’m super excited when she gets there.

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Image courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

Preschoolers will get a kick out of any of these Advent Calendars: Go! Go! Smart Wheels Advent Calendar (both English and French available), Crayola Christmas Countdown Activity Advent Calendar, and Play-Doh Advent Calendar.

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Images courtesy of ToysRUs.ca

As of publishing time, all of these were still available but act quickly, they tend to sell out fast. Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – Nov 6

Hey folks! Sorry for the lack of Fashion Friday again this week but it’s been raining for almost two weeks straight which is unheard of here in the Prairies. Everywhere you go someone is commenting on how we’re having Vancouver weather, all rainy and gray. I’m still working out how I’m going to do Fashion Fridays in the winter as -30 isn’t exactly conducive to wearing cute outfits but I’ll figure something out.

So, a couple of fun things this week:

It seems to be some kind of toy sale conspiracy this weekend here in Winnipeg. Mastermind Toys is opening their first Winnipeg location on Kenaston and mailed out a 25% off coupon for any purchases made this weekend. The Disney Store is also having a 25% off sale this weekend. Print this coupon or show it to the cashier on your mobile device. Chapters is having 25% off Friends and Family event (instore only and it looks like you must print the coupon). Toys R Us has launched their Big Holiday Toy Book with many top Christmas toys discounted. Even Sears has offered a large selection of toys from 15 – 40% off. Retailers know that parents are starting to look at buying Christmas presents and are eager to get a piece of that action.

My niece came to Bring Your Kid to Work Day this week. Of course i wanted her to get the full experience of what it’s like to work, so we went to Starbucks at lunch and got our red cups.

Hanging out w @pschwab01 for Take Your Kid to Work Day #work #redcup #redcupcontest #starbucks #fall2015 #niece #auntie

A post shared by Tiffany Creaghe-Harder (@tlcshoppingwpg) on

 

Both Teavana and David’s Tea unveiled their holiday collections. I picked up Snow Day and Mulled Wine in cute 50g tins from David’s Tea.

 

And lots of Joy tea from Teavana in this beautiful limited edition holiday tin.

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Inside Out was released this week. If you haven’t seen this latest Pixar movie, you should definitely put it on your list. While it was a little above my toddler’s head, she enjoyed it and there were so many jokes aimed at adults, I can guarantee you’ll chuckle at least a few times. I bought one copy for our house and one for another niece having a birthday soon.

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What did you get up to this week? I’d love to hear about it. Happy Shopping!

2015 Advent Calendars

Hey folks! How was your Halloween? Ours was so great. Since Daughter is now 3, she actually understands what trick-or-treating is all about. We went out with another mom and daughter. The other toddler was 2 and kept trying to eat the candy while we were walking around. Needless to say, they were both adorable.

November seems to signal the beginning of the Christmas season. Decorations have been lurking in the corners of stores for a week or two already, hidden slightly behind the Halloween decorations. Now they are front and centre or were being unpacked by staff. I went shopping yesterday and was surprised/impressed by the quick change over that stores were making into the biggest holiday season of the year.

I have been debating getting Daughter an advent calendar over the last couple of years. It seems fun to have something she would be able to open each day to count down to Christmas. However, being that she is still small, I haven’t been crazy about feeding her a chocolate every day. Yesterday I found several non-chocolate advent calendars and thought I would share them with you.

  1. First of all is the coveted Lego advent calendars. I saw both the Lego City and Lego Friends calendars and Google assures me there is also a Lego Star Wars one out there too although I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. (ToysRUs.ca, $39.99 for Friends and City, $49.99 for Star Wars)LegoFriendsAC LegoCityAD
  2.  Playmobil advent calendars seem to be as equally popular and hard to find as the Lego ones once the season gets underway. Toys R Us has five sets: Christmas Room; Santa’s Workshop; Fire Rescue Operation: Unicorn Fairyland; and Playmobil 1.2.3 Advent Calendar. (ToysRUs.ca, $29.99)PlaymobilGirlACPlaymobilAD
  3. I had no idea that Play-Doh did advent calendars until I found this one yesterday. It comes with five small cans of Play-Doh and several stampers and cutters and lots of other small items needed to make Christmas cookie-like shapes and patterns. Super cute! (ToysRUs.ca, $21.99)PlayDohAC
  4. Not to be out-done, Mega Bloks makes an advent calendar as well. This year, the theme is Minions/Despicable Me. It doesn’t seem to be based on one particular movie or theme but just randomly mixing Minions and Christmas. Which I’m sure will be fine for the Minion-maniac in your house. (ToysRUs.ca, $39.99)DespicableMeAD
  5. The last toy one, the Little People advent calendar, was the one I was most interested in for Daughter. It seems to be the only one specifically geared towards toddlers. And while it is super cute, it doesn’t seem to coordinate with any of the other sets that you can buy regularly, which is a bummer in my opinion. (ToysRUs.ca, $49.99)LittlePeopleAC
  6. If you aren’t interested in giving your kids a bunch of stuff to countdown to the holidays, you might like this one by Melissa and Doug. The sturdy wood Christmas cutout allows you place the ornament of your choice on each day until you have a fully decorated tree on Christmas. (Chapters, $24.99)MelissaandDougAC
  7. And no Advent Calendar list would be complete without mentioning the David’s Tea advent calendar. This 24 piece tea gift has cute, gold tins hidden behind each door. Each tin holds enough tea for 2 cups and includes both seasonal and everyday teas such as Snow Day, Hot Chocolate, Cardamom French Toast, Mulled Wine, Sweet Almond Green, Santa’s Secret, Sleigh Ride, and Gingerbread Cookie. This one does sell out quickly so if you are thinking about buying it, I would get your hands on one soon. (DavidsTea.ca, $40)DavidsTeaAC

Those are the ones I felt were worth mentioning here. I know there are also some makeup ones but there either wasn’t enough information on them at this point or you couldn’t buy them in Canada yet. (Head over to see Julie’s sneak peeks of some at Swatch and Review). Starbucks has one (and it is gorgeous) but it’s filled with just chocolate, so I didn’t include it.

Any other that I missed? Leave me a comment. Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – Oct 3rd

Happy Friday! How does it feel like it’s always Monday and then Friday? Where does the rest of the week go? Got a few exciting things to talk about this week:

1. It was picture day at daycare this week and I picked up the cutest dress for my daughter at The Children’s Place. It’s not normally a place I shop at for her but they were having a sale and you know how much that lures me in a store. lol. I picked up both the dress and tights for $20.

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The shoes are Sketchers Twinkle Toes high tops that I bought at Gordman’s when my SIL and I went to the States in June. Kids shoes are so much cheaper in the US than here.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.49.27 PMIf you love nail polish as much as I do, you should enter The PolishAHolic Serum No5 giveaway. It’s international and includes the five polishes pictured above (all of which GLOW-IN-THE-DARK). Click here to enter.

I was at Polo Park on Tuesday night (before their relaunch, more on that later) and I ran into Boes Ltd (they also have a location at St. Vital Centre) and picked up a gorgeous purse that was a helluva deal!

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In the back, they have a discreet sign that says, “Sale Items Extra 45% Off.” This purse was already marked down 75% off. And extra 45% off that made it 86% off the original retail price. They practically paid me to take it home. I highly recommend checking it out. They still have some great purses, both on sale and regular price, and their jewellery is truly unique. All costume but definitely funky and interesting pieces.

Speaking of Polo Park, I went on Thursday night to check out the expanded area. It is gorgeous and amazing that all that  space was previously Zellers. I remember Zellers being huge but this expansion is massive. You cannot stand at one end and see the other end (this is also because it’s U-shaped). Some great stores that are now at Polo that weren’t in Winnipeg before include Nine West, Thomas Sabo, Fossil, Journeys shoe store and the Disney Store (the one in St. Vital Centre closed five years ago) and several chains have opened new locations in Polo Park including Teavana, Mexx, Mexx Kids and Swarovski. Still to come is Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. And a little birdy told me they are trying to get a Lego Store and a Toys R Us but that neither would be open before Christmas. Here are some of our pictures. Of course, we were mostly focused on the Disney Store. I will go back and check out some more stores when I don’t have a toddler in tow.

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Yes, that’s my toddler throwing a blurry fit at the bottom of the picture. I can’t blame her. By the time I took this, even I was tired of the mall and everything we’d seen. Luckily Mommy didn’t have to buy her anything at the Disney Store as Auntie had already picked her up an Elsa toddler doll.

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Aren’t they cute? Thanks Auntie. Elsa was an immediate favourite and I highly suspect there will be a matching Anna under the Christmas tree.

Starting in October, I’m going to be doing mini reviews to try and catch up on all the things I want to tell you about but forget or don’t bother writing a full review of. I’ll probably initially post them on Instagram and then do a weekly round up of any mini reviews that I did. I’m also going to be doing more OOTDs and a weekly round up of those as well. Rebekah has suggested (several times) that it would be great for me to do this and I totally agree, so now I’m going to start.

How was your week? Check out the Polo Park expansion? Keep an eye on the blog this weekend, I promise they’ll be something interesting. Happy Shopping!

Cross border shopping

So, this week I am SUPER ecstatic that I got an Anna doll. My kid is CRAZY about Frozen. She sings the songs, she asks to watch the movie, it’s ridiculous. I had no idea someone who wasn’t two yet could get so hooked on a movie. And just in case you think it’s the only movie we’ve shown her, she’s seen Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. Nope, Frozen, every time.

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So, since this is her favourite movie I have been wanting Anna and Elsa dolls. Apparently, so does every other Mom and Dad in the world. My friend Deanna just got a new job with Teavana (uh, so jealous!) and has been travelling all over the US and Canada for her orientation and training. And she has been amazing at checking every Disney store she comes across for these dolls. Seriously she has been to 6 or 8! Nothing, nadda, zip, zilch!

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Anyways, she advised me to keep an eye on the website as the Disney Store periodically releases Frozen stuff during the day. So yesterday, I happened to be checking around 2 pm and BAM, some Anna dolls became available. I jumped on one and some stuff I had saved in my favourites in case I put in an order (they are also having a pretty great 50% off sale). But as I was putting in my credit card information, I realized they wanted to charge me $30 to ship to Canada! Um, the doll only costs $20. Why in the heck does it cost $30 to ship it to me? And I bet that does not include duty.

So, I quickly typed in ‘Pembina Parcel’ into Google to get their address. Pembina Parcel in Pembina, ND and Connie’s Depot in Walhalla, ND are two shipping depots that specialize in deliveries for Canadians just across the border. Have your order shipped there, run across the line, pick it up, and come home with your items. Pembina Parcels charges a flat rate of $5 per parcel where Connie’s Depot charges $2.50 for small packages and $5 for large ones (at least they did the last time I used them a couple of years ago, couldn’t find accurate quotes on any of the websites that Google turned up). Keep in mind that it’s up to border guards to decide what, if any, duty and taxes to charge. I have found that if you don’t go during peak periods (i.e.. Sunday) they tend to wave you through and not bother charging you. Always better to be prepared to pay and not have to though.

I have used Connie’s Depot two separate times and my dad uses Connie’s all the time, especially for motorcycle parts and they are always great. I’ll let you know how Pembina Parcels goes but all the reviews are pretty good so I’m expecting it to be fine. Btw, I already love it because when I typed in their address, the Disney Store decided to only charge me $7 to ship instead of $30. Plus, I’ll take the day and head over to Grand Forks with my SIL, do some other shopping, have lunch and head home.

And I’ll have an Anna doll. Happy Shopping!

Totally Random Friday – Dec 20th

So, are ya ready?? I’m sure you’ve heard that about a thousand times this week. For those of you who aren’t, this is the last weekend before the BIG DAY. And for those of you who are, sit back, relax and eat some more cookies. (This is my plan… and wrapping.)

Here are some totally random pictures and thoughts of things I’ve bought for myself and for Christmas. I’m not too worried about blowing any big Christmas secrets. My daughter can’t read yet, lol.

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Weekly Manicure: Quo by Orly in Star Formation

Gifts for my 15-month-old:

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Little People Disney Princess Castle. Honestly, I think I’m going to be more excited to play with it that she is. When you put the princesses in different areas it sings songs from the movies. And it’s soooo cute!

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Vtech iDiscover App Activity Table. You can put your iPad in it and the controls around the table interact with several games on the iPad. Also works with Android tablets. When you don’t want your tablet in there, this other piece fits in and babies can play with it. I think her dad is excited for the racing game on this one. And I know she will like the music game that is available.

Note that while I’ve linked the pictures to the Toys R Us website, I noticed both were on sale at Target earlier this week (and cheaper, too).

My lame, dark attempt at a selfie at the office in my boss' tiny bathroom.
My lame, dark attempt at a selfie at the office in my boss’ tiny bathroom.

Sloan pants I picked up on Black Friday from Banana Republic. Love these pants. Totally buying them in at least one other colour and maybe a back-up black pair. Super soft and extremely comfortable.

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Chocolate Peppermint Cookies recipe from Bakerella, made by yours truly. I used the milk chocolate mint M&Ms instead and omitted the instant coffee crystals. Delicious!

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My fireplace all decorated. Misplaced our tree when we put it away last year (actually, we think we might’ve thrown it out thinking we would buy a new one this year), so this is all the decorating I could do. Not exactly sure where to put the presents.

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My Christmas look. Been seeing a new stylist who came up with this gorgeous idea for a mixture of warm and bright reds to glam up my look. Totally loving it!

The beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Legislative Building
The beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Legislative Building

And lastly, if you are looking for a place to get some Christmas family or engagement pictures done, I highly suggest heading over the Legislative Building. The staff there do a great job of decorating the main staircase every year and it’s a gorgeous building if you’ve never been there. Click on the picture to get the full size one.

I still have some time left if you need some last-minute things picked up or wrapped. Please give me a call or send me an email! Happy Shopping!