Christmas Gift Ideas for Frenemies

Hi friends! So far I’ve offered up my ideas for stocking stuffers, baby’s first Christmas, and gifts for little kids…and now for the best list of all, gifts for people you don’t really like. Let’s face it, we all have people who just rub us the wrong way for whatever reason. Well, now you can passive-aggressively get your feelings out by gifting their kids any of the items on this list. You’re welcome. ūüėČ

Ever have someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way? Here are over a dozen ideas for gifts you can give their kids. ;) Also fun ideas for White Elephant exchanges or gag gifts. | Running With Spears #GagGifts #WhiteElepant #glitter
1. A recorder! Any one will do but this Frozen themed one with a songbook will just really take the cake when it comes to its ability to annoy!

2. Glitter! This set of 24 glitter shakers is sure to get glitter everywhere!  Yay!

3. NON washable Crayola markers Рthis is a sneaky one because they look just  like the washable ones so parents will have no idea what horribleness they are about to unleash when their kids go crazy with these!

4. Tiny, individual foam stickers with white backinghere’s a 1040 piece option!!!! Sooo many tiny pieces of trash to be scattered everywhere!

5. Anything with 100s of pieces, like this Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Beads with over 200 beads¬†–¬†great fun for your ¬†friend’s 3 year old….to DUMP

6. A¬†special doll whose hair you’re supposed to cut, like this one….give them the idea to cut all the dolls’ hair, maybe even their own!

7. A realistic looking snake toy! This one looks nice and terrifying.¬†Kids will love hiding it under their parent’s pillows! Fake spiders work, too.

8. Kids radio programmed with annoying songsthis one¬†would be a great choice accoring to reviews like,¬†“my little girl has to stand at full cord length away to prevent high pitched feedback.” Awesome!

9. Baby alive! This doll drinks and wets! Yay water everywhere! Plus if the kid falls in love, the parents will have to keep buying more diapers for it!!!

10. A trading card starter pack, like this Disney Frozen one¬†– get the kid hooked so they’ll keep begging their parents for more!

Bonus item –¬†A Dino-Roar.¬†This toy makes the most annoying sound I’ve EVER heard when you squeeze it…only downside is it’s not longer made, so you’d have to shell out the big bucks. I suppose any toy that makes an annoying sound when you squeeze it will work, though.

Also consider: a creepy clown mask, a harmonica, a whistle, a toy puppy that barks, and fake vomit or poop.

P.S. These would all work for great gag gifts or white elephant gift exchanges, too. ¬†ūüėÄ


Gift Ideas for Little Kids

For my girls, we decided awhile ago to give four gifts each on Christmas.

Something they want.
Something educational.
Something to wear.
And a book that’s not dull.

Here are the tops ten items I’ve brainstormed to choose those four gifts from this year for Smiles, my three year old! ūüôā

Ten fun gift ideas for toddlers or preschoolers - specifically girls but most would work for boys, too! | Running With Spears #christmas #giftideas1. A learning experience. Maybe a fun art or science class for preschoolers at a local rec center.

2. An outing. Taking a trip to the zoo or aquarium or some such.

3. Art supplies. Smiles loooves watercolor paints and markers and whatnot.

4. Puzzles. Smiles loves peg puzzles and even 12 piece wooden jigsaw puzzles.

5.¬†The Wonderful Things You Will Be ¬†by¬† Emily Winfield Martin.¬†I’ve heard this beautiful book is one you’ll love reading to your kids, it’s definitely on my list of choices for a book. If I didn’t already have¬†The Jesus Storybook Bible¬† by¬†Sally Lloyd-Jones, though, I’d probably get that, because we absolutely love it!

6.¬†Dr. Suess board books. We already have a few, but I might get more because for all my girls they’ve been the books they choose most often to have me read.

7. Magna-Tiles. We got a big set for my girls to share for Christmas last year and they are still ¬†played with nearly every day, so this year I think I’ll get¬†an expansion set or two.

8. Fox socks like these. Because they’re just the cutest thing ever.

9. An alphabet stamp set. She’s been working on learning her letters, plus she loves all things arts and crafts.

10.¬†A ¬†Microscope for little-bitties like this. She already has a Science Lab Set and she plays with it all the time, I think she’d love a microscope, too!

Other gifts we’ve given our girls around ages 2-5 in the past that have been huge hits include a play kitchen¬†with play food, a reindeer to bounce on, a simple¬†swingset, soft non-sticky clay (Crayola Model Magic), Stikits¬†– little blocks you¬†moisten and stick together to create sculptures, small backpacks (no clue why, but my all my girls have been ridiculously fascinated with putting stuff in backpacks and wearing them around at this age),¬†Mega Bloks,¬†Seashore Baby¬† a board book¬†by Elise Broach – two of my girls have been completely obsessed with this book, and a babydoll with a care set of bottles and such.

Also, fyi, some items we had high hopes for that turned out to be duds included a¬†LeapFrog Tag Junior, Play-Doh accessory sets, a special¬†Warmheart Rag Doll, a¬†Radio Flyer My 1st Scooter, and a majority of all the stuffed animals that somehow manage to just constantly cover the floor of the girls’ room.

Blue Ribbon Awards – Best Products from the Homeschool Review Crew

I can’t believe the year is coming to a close! I’ll be sharing my final review very soon, and then it’s Christmas and the new year! I’ve reviewed over 25 products this year, and found at least a dozen great gems for homeschooling (and life) that I’m so glad I had the chance to try! I can’t wait to see what awesomeness awaits me in the Crew next year! We had a chance to vote last week on our favorites from the year. You can check out the results here:

Our favorite products from the 2016 Homeschool Review Crew - everything from best math and reading programs to art, foreign languages, and non-school related products that have made my life easier! | Running With Spears #bestof2016 #hsreviews #homeschool

I wanted to share with you guys my personal picks for the different categories that products I reviewed this year fell into. It was seriously soooo hard to pick a favorite for most of the categories. Especially the overall favorite. There are a couple products that I really enjoyed that didn’t make any of the categories. I added my own “honorable mention” at the end, but even so, there are more products we enjoyed than just these. I’m linking each of the products to my reviews so you can read more about what I had to say about them, and you can follow links in¬†those posts to the actual vendors. ūüôā

Favorite Reading Curriculum РMaxScholar *Since the time of my review, Boo has continued using this and made really great progress with reading!!!

Favorite Spelling Program – Essential Skills Adavantage

Favorite Math Curriculum – CTC Math

Favorite Science Supplement Р 

Favorite Science Curriculum РApologia Educational Ministries: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition. 

Favorite Christian Education Product РChara Games: Commissioned and  3 Seeds

Favorite Fine Arts Product/Curriculum – ArtAchieve

Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum –¬† Elementary French 1: Grades 3-5 course from Middlebury Interactive Languages

Favorite Parent Product –¬†GREEMU by Devonian *I need to update my post, this was the ONLY thing that healed my baby’s diaper rash!

Favorite Elementary Product – ArtAchieve

Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed – MyFreezEasy

Best Online Resource –¬†MaxScholar

Favorite Book, Novel, Audio Book, or Audio Drama –¬†Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz

Just for Fun! –¬† Kwik Stix 12 pk from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

Kids’ Choice (Ages 0-12) – Boo:¬†ArtAchieve, Artist:¬† Rainforest Journey by EdTechLens

All Around Crew Favorite – CTCMath

Honorable Mention – (Didn’t win any of the categories above, but we love it).¬†¬†

homeschool-review-crew-favorites-for-2016_zpsgp6ffythOf course coffee is on my list of favorite things for the year…and every year, but I didn’t get to review any (that would be such a fun review – can somebody make that happen for me?). ¬†What where your favorite things in 2016? I’d love to hear! ¬†Hop over to ¬†the 2016 Homeschool Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards post to find out who the official winners were, and check out the link-up to ¬† hear from some of my fellow Crew bloggers about what their favorites were. ūüėÄ

Family Fun Friday – 3 Seeds

Today’s fun family game is 3 Seeds by Chara Games.

I was excited to receive it to¬†review after we discovered how much we love, Commissioned, which is also published by Chara Games. (I shared¬†my review of it earlier this week). ūüôā

3-seeds-reap-where-you-sow-3_zpswpje7juh3 Seeds is a light-strategy card game that we were able to learn how to play in a matter of minutes, yet is complex enough to be fun and engaging. It’s completely different than Commissioned, with pretty much the only similarity being that they are both fun family games with a Christian theme.

In 3 Seeds, you have seed cards that are divided into time, money and labor. You play these on crop¬†cards and receive a harvest once the crop has received the necessary seeds. You can also play event cards, peek at the hidden value of harvest cards once per turn, or switch your harvest card with another, and play your seed cards on another player’s crop to get some points when it is scored (and get yourself an event card). It sounds pretty simple, but we discovered that there’s a good amount of strategy involved.

The game can be played in about half an hour, sometimes a bit more, and is for two to five players.

3 seeds card game - fun light strategy card game for ages 8 and up! | Running With Spears #familyfun #gamenight

I first pulled out 3 Seeds with Artist, my nine year old, so we could¬†learn to play. She insisted on being the one to read the instructions and manage the set up. It took us maybe about ten minutes or so to be ready to dive into the game, and then the first ten minutes of playing were spent re-checking various things in the instructions. From then on the game was smooth sailing, and we had a blast. (Side note, I took the picture right after setting up the game and before Artist told me I dealt the cards wrong and each person was supposed to have all six of their color seeds, not a mix of colors…oops.)

3 Seeds is such a fun¬†game, Artist has been begging me to play with her every day. It’s a nice balance between intensive strategy games (that are also typically rather time intensive) and quick and easy games that don’t have much to them. Artist says, “I love it.” (She also claims that she’s the all time winner, so¬†apparently I need to go play again with her asap and beat her so I can knock that chip off her shoulder.) ūüėČ

Because it’s a competitive game. not cooperative, Boo can’t really play this one quite yet. The recommended age for it is 12+ but I think many kids 8 and up could have a blast with it, especially if playing with an adult or older sibling. It’s nice that this game is truly enjoyable by just two players. I feel like we¬†don’t really have that many games that are fully enjoyable when you don’t have at least three playing, and Artist really loves it when I play a game with just her.

I expect that we’ll be playing 3 Seeds quite a bit…especially if Artist has anything to say about it. I can’t wait for it to be available to everyone so you guys can all snatch up a copy for yourselves. ¬†Be sure to follow Chara Games on Facebook and Twitter so you can be in the loop when 3 Seeds hits retailers! ūüėÄ