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Protect Your Devices With Trend Micro This School Year {Giveaway}

Internet security is something that should be taken very seriously. I was a brand Ambassador for Trend Micro for a year as a “Digital Jones” family but even now, months after my contract ended, I still rely on them to keep my family safe. When I heard about their back-to-school sale I knew I had to share it with you because 1) it’s a great product 2) who doesn’t love to save money and 3) this is one of the most important back-to-school purchases you will make.

As you know, technology is changing daily, making it challenging for parents to keep up.  Parents are concerned not only with what their kids are sharing online, but also with what they are receiving and viewing online. Trend Micro want to help make parent’s lives easier.

Now through September 2, Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security is only $44.95 (usually $89.95).  This software will protect up to 3 devices (laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.), whether they are PC, Mac, or Android for an entire year: http://www.trendmicro.com/us/home/products/titanium/max-security/index.html

Here are just a few awesome features of Trend Micro Max Security:

  • Monitors and protects kids on social network websites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Restricts web content and access to desktop applications, and sets an access schedule for your kids
  • Identifies settings that may leave a family’s personal information vulnerable using the new Privacy Scanner For Facebook feature
  • Indicates dangerous links on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace, Sina Weibo and Mixi

Trend Micro also offers a free 30 day trial so you can see how you like the software before you buy it:  http://www.trendmicro.com/us/security/products/index.html

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky reader will win Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security software which will cover up to 3 devices for 1 year

HOW TO ENTER:

 {Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me why you want to win

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Trend Micro on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

5) Leave a comment on another blog post

Giveaway ends September 2, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or older and a US citizen to win.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I was a Trend Micro Ambassador for a year but that campaign is now over. I was not compensated for this post.)

Mobile Security With Trend Micro

As a family in the Digital Joneses campaign for Trend Micro we have a challenge to complete every month. This month’s challenge was focused on mobile security and staying safe while on the go. To complete the challenge we received smartphones and were told that we should try doing everything we need to do online using only a phone. Working from home I am online 70-80 hours a week so I knew that doing all my work from a phone was not realistic but I aimed to do as much as possible on it as I could.

The first thing I did after I set up my phone was to install some of Trend Micro’s android applications. The first was their free Android security app called “Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Ed”. This application will protect my phone from loss, malicious apps, and dangerous website. It includes an app scanner that will scan every application that I install to make sure it’s safe. It also includes a trial of some of their premium features including safe surfing, parental controls, call and text blocking, a way to find your loss phone using google maps, an alarm if your phone is lost and you are looking for it, and a way to lock and wipe the device if you lose it and you can’t find it. All of these extra features sounded great. I especially loved all of the features it offered for lost phones since that is one of the worst things that could happen to my phone.

The next app that I added was their Longetivity app to extend my phone’s battery life. It never fails that my phone dies within a few hours of me leaving my house, especially if I use it as a GPS to get to my location. I liked that this app was easy to use. The “Just-a-phone” mode can be used when the battery is low so that the phone can still be used for calls and texts. You can also see which apps are taking the most battery power which is helpful when you want to preserve your battery life.

The final application I added was their Backup and Restore app. This free app makes a secure copy of my contacts, messages, photos and videos and lets me restore them to any Android device I’d like to. We could have really used this feature in the past when one of Sinisa’s phones got broken. All the pictures that were on it from when our children were little were lost. Those images are something we can never get back.

Once I got the applications loaded I got started on my challenge. The first thing I did was check the longetivity application to see how much battery power my phone had. It showed 13 hours and if I used the “just-a-phone” mode I would have 15 hours of battery time. I kept this in mind so I could use this feature when I wasn’t using the internet or applications.

Trend Micro had challenged us to use our smartphones and try doing at least four items on a list of tasks. The first task of the challenge I wanted to complete was downloading a Pinterest app and creating a Pinterest board but when I went to the Android store on my phone and searched “Pinterest” there were 318 apps that came up. Looking through the list I didn’t see one that looked like it was from Pinterest so I moved on to another task. I figured I should probably check my emails so I setup my email account and was happy to find that I had no problem doing so. My last Android phone never let me setup the email feature with my hotmail address. Once I started checking the emails I found that I had to click on the message header and then wait for the message to download. After a few minutes of the message trying to download I gave up and moved onto a different task. The next task I tried was streaming videos on YouTube. I searched for videos on blogging and watched a few videos, including one by Darren Rowse on family/blogging balance. I loved how clear the picture was on this new phone. I then watched a live lip dub marriage proposal which had me cracking up. The last task that I did was downloaded a picture to Facebook.

This month’s challenge was fun. The majority of what I do on my phone is check my emails and Facebook so it was nice to do some other things that I normally don’t take time to do, like watch videos on YouTube. I am happy that I have some great Trend Micro applications to help me stay safe while I use my phone for work and entertainment. We received two phones so we decided we would give Jacob {our 3, soon to be 4 year old} one for his birthday so that he can watch videos, play games and take pictures instead of using mommy or daddy’s phones. With the ability to setup parental controls on his phone in addition to us sitting with him we feel that he will be safe while exploring the internet using this new technology.

Here are some additional safety tips from Trend Micro to keep in mind:

1) Enable your password on your mobile device. Make sure it is not an easy password that others can guess.

2) If you ever experience your mobile device turning off and on unexpectedly, or sending unauthorized messages to your contacts, you should know it is infected with a virus.

3) Trust the source, not the application. Make it a habit to download applications only from trusted sources.

4) Update your phone as soon as your phone alerts you that there is a new update.

4) Pay attention when installing applications. If an app asks for access to irrelevant data (like a game asks for access to your phone book) immediately stop installation and recheck the source.

5) Beware when using public wi-fi. Avoid accessing sensitive personal data while using it.

(Disclosure: As part of the Digital Joneses campaign I have received software and technology products from Trend Micro. All thoughts are my own.)

#SecureNewYear Twitter Party

This is the time of year to make resolutions. If there’s one resolution you must keep in regards to technology in 2013 it is this: Keep yourself and your family safe and free from security threats via your technology. With holiday spending at its highest in the past three years, Trend Micro is helping consumers start the New Year by protecting all their new tech gear against the latest security threats.

Start the New Year safe and join Trend Micro on January 15, 2013 for a Twitter party to talk about technology safety, keeping your family safe on the Internet, and tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from safety threats through technology.

DETAILS:

Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Time: 9 to 10 pm ET

Where: On Twitter following #SecureNewYear

Follow the Hosts: @girlslunchout and @fearlessweb

TweetGrid Link: http://bit.ly/10cyZMD

RSVP: You must RSVP to win. Click here to RSVP (your name is your @twitterhandle & your link is http://www.twitter.com/twitterhandle)

The Prizes: THREE winners will each win a Google Nexus 7-inch tablet with 32 GB of memory – a $250 value!!

Please complete the following requirements for a chance to win:

1. FOLLOW @girlslunchout and @fearlessweb on Twitter. Feel free to send us a tweet saying hello!

2. RSVP – You must RSVP to win.

3. PARTICIPATE during the party hour using #SecureNewYear

4. TWEET out a promotional tweet prior to party: “Join @girlslunchout & @fearlessweb to help #SecureNewYear and keep those tech gifts safe!! 1/15 9PM ET http://buff.ly/VQnjZ3 RSVP for prizes”

Eligibility:

1. COMPLETION of the above requirements.

2. WINNERS participating in the Twitter party with # SecureNewYear will be chosen at random.

3. RESIDENTS from the US are eligible only.

(Disclosure: This post is part of a study sponsored by Trend Micro that I am participating in. As a Digital Joneses family I have received assets from them to complete our challenges but all thoughts are my own.)

 

Internet Security In The New Year

Since March of last year my family has been a participant in the Digital Joneses study. This study is organized by Internet security company Trend Micro and follows seven bloggers {and our families} throughout the year as we complete monthly technology challenges. The goal of the study is to help improve and examine the struggles each family experiences with modern technology. Each challenge has identified and addressed one facet of digital security that is affecting living in a modern digitally-connected household.

I was asked to think about what I have learned so far and what I hope to learn in this new year. When I look back I realize that I’ve learned a lot about a variety of different topics relating to online security. I wanted to share a few things that I learned from each monthly challenge I have completed and also what I hope to still learn in the coming months.

The first challenge was to complete an online quiz called “Are You {Digitally} Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”. Having been online for years and “tech-savvy” I learned that I didn’t know as much as I thought I had. For example, I couldn’t even distinguish the real Facebook logo from three look alikes! It definitely made me think about the sites I frequented and how I would have to double check the address bar before I put any personal information or passwords in a site I thought I was on. Sinisa learned a lot in this challenge too, including the difference between “http” and “https” in web addresses. Do you know the difference between the two?

The second challenge was to talk to our children about online safety. Trend Micro had some great tips on how to talk to children about this topic and even had some ideas on how I could do so with my preschooler. My boys aren’t online a lot by themselves but they do like YouTube videos and so we talked about safety on YouTube and how they shouldn’t click on anything if they don’t know what it is.

The third challenge was to spring clean our digital lives. They provided us with a checklist so we’d know what kind of things they suggested doing. The main things that stuck out to me during this challenge were suggestions on tackling the email inbox. One suggestion from Trend Micro was to delete the attachments from my emails. Another task on the list was to delete any emails that had password or account information to keep would be hackers from getting confidential information. I really got a lot out of that challenge.

The next challenge was on mobile security. I didn’t even know that I needed security software for my phone so that was a huge thing I learned. I was told of a cool app called the “Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Ed” app that would scan every application I wanted to install to make sure it was safe. That was definitely something I wanted to do before putting any apps on my phone.

After mobile security, we learned about online gaming. I learned that 41 percent of homes with kids five and under have internet connected game consoles and that more kids access the internet through game consoles than through a computer. Five and under! That’s a lot of young kids online and it’s important that they are safe while playing. I learned a handful of tips but one I didn’t know about was parental controls. I knew that TVs had them but I learned that gaming systems had them, too.

In July we tackled scams surrounding the Olympics. I never knew how many fake sites existed surrounding the summer games and how many of them looked like the real thing. This was another reminder to use the “official” sites as resources and not go to sites I was unfamiliar with.

August brought a scary story about a man who had his digital life stolen in less than an hour because all of his accounts were hooked together. It really made me think twice before I hook up any accounts. I learned about two-factor authentication on email accounts to keep my accounts out of the wrong hands.

The following month we learned some internet security facts and how we could protect ourselves online. Having secure passwords was a big focus of this challenge. Trend Micro suggests using a phrase of random words that you can remember, instead of paraphrases or single words. Having passwords of at least ten to twelve characters is a good start and they recommend more characters for passwords that protect sensitive sites (like banks).

Last month‘s challenge was focused on cyber shopping and Trend Micro shared tips on how to stay safe online while doing our Christmas shopping. Being fairly new to online shopping I learned a lot about this topic. They stressed using reliable, well-known shopping sites and making sure that they offered secure payment options. Another tip was to use a credit card to pay since they offer better buyer protection.

When I look at what I have learned and think about what I still hope to learn in the coming months I think that most of it revolves around how how my children and I use the internet. I’d love to learn more ways to protect my boys while they are on YouTube since parental controls don’t block everything I’d like to be blocked. For myself, I’d love to learn how to stay safer while using social media- particularly when it comes to links on Twitter and while on blogs that have pop-ups that slow the computer down.

I’m looking forward to the next few months of learning and so thankful for this opportunity to work with Trend Micro. To end I just wanted to share four facts I’ve learned about digital security since becoming a Digital Joneses family (please forgive the fact that I sound like a frog!)

 

(Disclosure: This post is part of a study sponsored by Trend Micro that I am participating in. As a Digital Joneses family we are receiving assets to complete our challenges but all thoughts are my own.)

Christmas Shopping Online {And Safe Cyber Shopping Tips!}

I never used to like shopping online. I hated paying for shipping and waiting for my packages to be delivered. I liked touching what I was thinking about purchasing before I spent money and taking my finds home from the stores.

A couple months back I received some Amazon e-cards and I had been holding on to them for Holiday shopping. The week of Black Friday I put them into my Amazon account and took a look around the site. I discovered some great prices on things I had planned on buying for Christmas. I put a few items in my online shopping cart and then a little box about Amazon Prime came up. After reading about it I got excited because I could get shipping free and it would only take two days to arrive. I signed up for my free trial of Amazon Prime and was relieved that I had started my shopping early this year.

I have to say that I have fallen in love with Amazon Prime and won’t be cancelling it. I love that I don’t have to put a minimum amount in my cart so I’ve been watching for deals and crossing things off my list as I see them. And I haven’t just limited myself to Amazon. I’ve shopped Walmart Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and chosen site-to-store so all I have to do is run in and pick up my packages when they arrive. I also have shopped sales at Kohls, Old Navy, The Children’s Place, and Osh’Kosh Bgosh- all of which had amazing sales.

With all of the amazing sales online, some better than what I’ve seen in stores, I’ve been able to finish most of my Christmas shopping with only having to go into one store. Now that gifts for everyone else were handled it was time to shop for myself. I had been wanting a SLR camera since I was in high school and I told myself that I would finally get one this year. I decided I wanted a Canon Rebel T3i so I searched online because I wanted to find the best price I could. I typed in “Canon Rebel T3i prices” on Google to see if I could easily find a price comparison site. Towards the top was a link to cnet.com which is a reputable technology review site. Along with the review of the camera they gave a list of about 20 online sites that sold the camera and their prices.

Most of the prices were pretty similar with some sites being hundreds higher. The lowest one was about $530, $70 less than the average. I clicked through to the BPPhoto site without even thinking about it because the site I was on was well-known and I figured they wouldn’t be linking to a site that wasn’t trustworthy. While they didn’t have the camera that I wanted in stock, I looked around at what other items I did have since they had great prices on lenses and other camera accessories. I find that I am leery of sites that offer products for a reduced rate so I also checked for signs that the site was secure. I noticed that the site had a security validated button and a 30 day money back guarantee which is nice to have when making an online purchase and made me feel like this was an online retailer that I could trust.

In the end I ended up going with Amazon.com and buying a Rebel T3 {not T3i} because I found the best price on that site. 2-day shipping was free, I got 2% of my purchase back in Amazon credits, I got a free camera bag and memory card, and I got an extra lens for $150 off {which made it only $7}. I was so excited about the deal I found during the Cyber Monday sale and can’t wait to use my new camera to take pictures!

Are you shopping online this Christmas season? Here are some cyber shopping tips, courtesy of Trend Micro, to keep in mind:

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU CLICK:

1. Go with What You Know: Bookmark reliable online shopping sites, as search engines like Google can lead you to malicious sites.

2. Go with Your Instinct: Ignore suspicious emails and spam offering huge discounts and bargains as they may contain malicious links and file attachments.

3. If It’s too Good to be True It Usually is: Spam and online ads that offer mind-boggling promos and discounts can lead to web threats.

4. Double, Triple Confirm: Check a payment site’s URL. Phishers trick users into giving out personal information via spoofed pages. Two of the most commonly phished sites are eBay and PayPal.

5. Tried and True: Use reliable security software that helps you avoid visiting comprised sites.

6. Buyer Beware: Never use a payment method that does not offer any kind of buyer protection. Wire transfers and money orders are therefore off the table as there is no way of getting your money back. Pay with a credit card as it offers better protection.

7. Keep It Private: Don’t shop in a public “hot spot” or in places with unsecure networks. Limit online shopping to when you are at home, this assures uninterrupted and safe sessions.

8. Spot the Obvious: Legitimate banking or e-commerce sites’ URLs usually begin with https not http. The padlock icon at the lower right or near the address bar (depending on your browser) is also a good indicator of site’s security.

9. Keep Records: Always keep your transaction records to track your online purchases and avoid becoming a victim of online scams and other kinds of fraud.

10. Stay Aware: Stringently check your credit card billing statements to monitor all of your transactions. Immediately report any discrepancies to your bank.

 

(Disclosure: As a Trend Micro Digital Joneses family I received a gift card to shop online with but all thoughts are my own.)

Internet Security Stats & How To Protect Yourself Online

Trend Micro shared the above stats with me as part of my participation in the year long Digital Joneses family study. I have learned so much about internet safety in the past months but every time they share statistics with me I am shocked by one or two of them. This month was no exception.

I couldn’t believe that 6% of people friend everyone that asks to be their friend on Facebook, even if they don’t know them! When I think about everything people post on their personal Facebook pages including where they are, phone numbers, addresses, and pictures the amount of private information that our “friends” have access to could be dangerous. The person you “friend” could be waiting for you to announce a vacation so they can find out when the perfect time to rob your home is. Another issue I have with Facebook are the pages that say you have to “friend” them to view the information on their page. You don’t know who is behind the page and I don’t think there is any reason you’d have to give them access to your personal information to join the page.

So what can you do to protect yourself online when it comes to the statistics above? Trend Micro suggests the following:

1) Manage your online accounts with secure passwords. They suggest using a phrase of random words that you can remember, instead of paraphrases or single words. Having passwords of at least ten to twelve characters is a good start and they recommend more characters for passwords that protect sensitive sites (like banks). You should also avoid using the same passwords for multiple sites, especially if it’s a password that has been cracked by hackers before.

2) Know and use the privacy settings of your social networking accounts and mobile apps. The security settings are consistently changing and new ones are being added on a regular basis so it’s important to pay attention to information that social networks share with their members and update your privacy settings accordingly.

3) Regularly back up your data. Computers contain documents and pictures that hold valuable content and memories. Backing up your data ensures that none of that is lost.

4) Install a security software in all your devices.Trend Micro goes to great lengths to identify online threats and make it easy for you to protect yourself and your family from them with Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Security. Titanium is easy-to-use, yet comprehensive protection for what you do online every day – emailing, socializing, surfing the web — and it won’t pester you with alerts and pop-ups.

(Disclosure: I have received technology and software from Trend Micro over the past months as a participant in the Digital Joneses campaign. I use Trend Micro software to protect my computer and my mobile devices.)

5 Tips To Protect Your Online Identity

Think about all of the things you do online. You email, you save and share pictures, you connect with family and friends on social networks, you bookmark recipes and ideas you want to do in the future…now imagine if one day you logged in and everything was GONE. How would you feel? This is what happened to Mat Honan. Within one hour hackers were able to destroy Mat’s digital life, including erasing everything on his iPhone, iPad and Macbook. He shared the whole story, including his mistakes and Apple’s huge security flaws, over at Wired. Mat eventually got 75% of his hard drive back but it cost him over $1600 to do so and he still lost some important documents and emotionally valuable photos.

Trend Micro brought this story to my attention and asked me, as one of their Digital Joneses bloggers, to share Mat’s story with you all and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen to us. They also sent our family tablets and stressed the importance of securing our tablets like we do our laptops. Trend Micro shared 5 things we can do to secure our tablets {and really our digital life in general}:

Tip #1:

Tip #2:

Tip #3:

Tip #4:

Tip #5:

I thought these were great tips. Some I use already, like receiving emails when someone signs into my Facebook account from a location I never have used before and not saving my credit card info on sites. Some were things I had never considered before, like leaving my social media pages open on my computer and linking sites together. Those things that make it easy for me to quickly get things done online also make it easy for hackers to access personal details.

Do you follow all of the tips above? If not, which ones do you struggle with following?

Past Challenges:

Are you {Digitally} Smarter Than a 5th Grader

Talking About Online Safety With My Preschooler

Spring Clean Your Digital Life

Mobile Security

Online Gaming Safety Tips For Children & Teens

The Olympics, Scams & You

(Disclosure: This post is part of a study sponsored by Trend Micro that I am participating in. As a Digital Joneses family we are receiving assets to complete our challenges but all thoughts are my own.)

The Olympics, Scams & You

As one of the families in Trend Micro’s Digital Joneses campaign I get a new challenge each month that focuses on online safety. This month’s challenge has to do with internet scams that may come via email or be found on social networks. I get scams like this all of the time telling me that I’ve won money. I know better than to fall for any of these scams but people less familiar with the internet may not. According to Senior Threat Researcher Robert McArdle believes that “…attackers are still using these because these scams are still giving them successful margins. Social engineering has worked for years and there are little signs of that changing.”

Scammers will use large events to target people and the Olympic games, probably the largest sporting event in the world, is no exception. To help consumers identify possible scams they will be susceptible to, Trend Micro created a fun little quiz to determine which type of viewer they are of the Olympics. There are four “types” of viewers: The fanatic, the loyal supporter, the avid social watcher, and the curious observer.

I took the quiz and was not surprised to find out that I ended up being a “curious observer”. I am not a big Olympic games watcher because I honestly don’t have the time to watch the games. In past years I have watched the opening ceremonies and really enjoyed them but this year I wasn’t home to watch them. I hope in future years to introduce the boys to them.

After the quiz I read through Trend Micro’s ebook for “curious observers” of the Olympics. It told me that I should be on the lookout for search result fraud and social media fraud. Something that may look like a valid link to scores, medal counts, or videos of the games could really be links to sites that will infect my computer with viruses. The suggestion from Trend Micro was to go right to trusted sources when looking for information on the Olympic games. I thought this was a great idea since I tend to use search engines for information I am looking for. Here is a link to the official site: olympic.org.

To keep up to date on current scams that have been found in regards to the Olympics you can check out the Trend Micro blog. They have a large list of scams that have already been found. The most common seem to be sites that claim to be live streaming the games so be careful and check the sites you are watching the games on! Looking at them I probably wouldn’t know that they are not legit because some of them look very similar to the official site. Smartphone users beware as well because there are some fake Olympics apps that have been found in the Google Play store.

Example of a fake website claiming to live stream the Olympics and sell tickets to the games!

Here are some more tips from Trend Micro:

Ignore any communication that asks you to reveal information, such as bank details or to pay any amounts of money up front. London 2012 will only ever use a secure website to collect personal or bank card details. Look for a padlock symbol in the browser window. The website address will begin with ‘https://’. If you click on the padlock, your browser will either give our full title (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd), or identify our sites as part of london2012.com. If you don’t see a padlock, or if the site name is not what you are expecting, then you should not enter personal or financial information into the page.

***
Have you seen any Olympic related scams yet this year?

(Disclosure: As part of the Digital Joneses campaign I have received software and technology products from Trend Micro. All thoughts are my own.)

Online Gaming Safety Tips For Children & Teens

A recent Trend Micro Digital Joneses survey found that 41 percent of homes with kids five and under have internet connected game consoles and that more kids access the internet through game consoles than through a computer, so keeping kids safe while gaming is more important than ever. 

Wow! I couldn’t believe that statistic. I even emailed to verify that it was really five and under and wasn’t supposed to say five and over. When it comes to online gaming it is very important to start the safety education at a young age. Trend Micro has provided me with some great tips on how to keep children safe while gaming and I wanted to share a few of them with you all.

Stay Involved – When I was growing up my parents kept the family computer in the tv room like the “experts” suggested. As children, we were always mindful that our parents were there and we could ask them questions or talk to them about concerns we had while we were online. I think any gaming console that has the capability to be connected to the internet should follow this same rule. Keeping your gaming console in a common area of your home gives parents an idea of how much time their kids are spending using it and what types of games they are playing without having to be invasive. Games are also a fun way for families to spend time together.
Rely on Ratings – Just like movies have ratings, so do video games. The entertainment Software Rating Board rates games and the ratings can give both children and parents an idea as to the content of the games. Each family can then decide which ratings are age appropriate for their children. It’s also important for parents to preview each game so they know what their children are playing. Some parents may be okay with violence but not language, or car chases but not violence, so it’s always important to see why games are rated how they are. {Common Sense Media is a great website to get ratings for games along with movies, tv shows, websites, music, and more.}
Use Parental Controls – Gaming consoles have parental controls so that you can block kids from accessing games that aren’t age-appropriate.  You can also set limits on how much time they spend gaming and who they play with. Parents can also disable internet access on some gaming devices so they can ensure that their children aren’t interacting with people that they do not know.

Want to learn more about online gaming safety? Trend Micro has created a great ebook called “Level Up and Secure Your Online Gaming Experience”. You can view the ebook here.

What do you do to keep your children safe while they are gaming online?

(Disclosure: As part of the Digital Joneses campaign I have received software and technology products from Trend Micro. All thoughts are my own.)

Spring Clean Your Digital Life

Every Spring people talk about spring cleaning their homes. The purging of unused items, organizing, and deep cleaning of the house is a great way to start this new season but what about tidying up the things others don’t see? Things like your email inbox, your computer’s storage files, and your online security measures?

As a family in Trend Micro’s Digital Joneses, our challenge of the month was to spring clean our digital life. I didn’t know where to start. With thousands of pictures stored online, even more unread emails in my inbox, and so many files with contents that are a mystery to me I was overwhelmed. Thankfully, Trend Micro has created a digital spring cleaning checklist. Being an avid to-do list maker and checklist lover this made me very excited :)

The first task that I wanted to do was to clean out my inbox. I have over 9,000 emails in my inbox folder and over 3500 of those haven’t been opened. I have been trying to go through it and either delete or sort emails but it’s a daunting task. Looking over the checklist I saw a few more things I wanted to do when it came to my inbox. One suggestion from Trend Micro was to delete the attachments from my emails. Another task on the list was to delete any emails that had password or account information. It’s a great way to keep would be hackers from getting confidential information.

The next step was to go through my web browser history. This is something that I have never done before. The checklist also suggested that I go through my bookmarks and delete ones I don’t need anymore. This wasn’t too hard since I don’t really use bookmarks that often.

After this I needed to sort through my documents. The checklist suggested sorting them into three categories- delete {documents we don’t need}, confidential {documents that need to be secured with a password}, and important {documents that should be backed up}. I had a lot of old documents that I didn’t need anymore so I was able to delete them. I only had a couple things that were confidential. Most of my documents are just things I wanted to keep {like pictures} so I need to back them up. That is still not crossed off on my list. Programs that are unused need to be deleted, too but I didn’t have any programs to delete since I only download what I need.

The next steps include running scans on the computer. I used to do this often since I’m used to my computers running slow and I have found that running troubleshooting and maintenance scans make it run faster. My new computer is running fine so I skipped this step.

One of the last steps is to make sure your digital life is secure by changing your passwords. It’s recommended that passwords be changed at least every three months. This is something that I often forget to do on a regular basis but probably one of the most important steps in this whole process. Trouble remembering multiple logins and passwords? Trend Micro has a product that will manage website passwords and login IDs in one secure location so you only have to remember one password!

Once your digital life is clean and your house is clean, imagine how amazing you will feel! Find out more about the Digital Joneses here.

(Disclosure: I am receiving technology and software as a member of the Digital Joneses blogger study but all thoughts are my own.)

Talking About Online Safety With My Preschooler

I shared previously that my family is part of a year long study with Trend Micro called The Digital Joneses. Each month we are given internet security related challenges. Last month Sinisa and I had to take a quiz to see how technologically savvy we were and this month we have to have “the talk” with our kids {no, not the one about the birds and the bees… the other important talk- the one about internet safety}.

Out of the seven bloggers in the study, I have the youngest children so I wasn’t sure how to approach the subject of online safety since Jacob is not on social networks and he doesn’t go online without my supervision. One thing he does do though is go on YouTube to watch videos. He is three so he is watching video clips from kid shows but occasionally a video will come up that was made by an adult. A lot of times it’s just the same clip of the cartoon with inappropriate music playing in the background but it’s still something I don’t want him watching. And if something like that can show up in search results for his favorite shows, it makes me wonder what other things can pop up.

In preparing for “the talk” I checked out the Trend Micro website and looked over the questions they had put together for parents to use as conversation starters. {You can find the questionnaire with questions for children of all ages here.} I knew that I would have to keep the questions really basic but they gave me good ideas on what to talk about.

The first question that I asked my preschooler was what he liked to do on daddy’s phone. {We don’t call it the internet and he usually uses his dad’s phone to go on the internet so that’s why I worded it the way I did.}

Jacob’s reply- “Watch Videos. Thomas game. Cars game.”

The next question I asked him was what he would do if something came up on the screen that wasn’t Cars or Thomas?

His reply- “Click it.”

Umm. That’s a problem. I explained to him that if something came up on the screen that wasn’t Cars or Thomas or anything he watches on television it was important that he show it to mommy or daddy right away. I also told him he should not click on anything but one of his shows.

The last question I asked him was why he thought that mommy and daddy needed to watch him while he watched his movies and played his games on daddy’s phone.

His reply- “Cause I want dad be happy.”

Well that was a good answer. I also added that there could be bad things on there so mommy and daddy needed to watch him so he didn’t see bad things.

He said- “bad things?”,  paused for a second, and then said “I go upstairs now?” I breathed a sigh of relief that further explanation of all the bad things he could find online was a conversation that could wait till he was older. And honestly? It’s one that I wish I never had to have in the first place!

***

Keep up with the Digital Joneses here.

(Disclosure: I am receiving technology and software as a member of the Digital Joneses blogger study but all thoughts are my own.)

Introducing The Digital Joneses Study

I have been waiting for about a month and a half now to share my exciting news and I’m finally able to– I will be participating in a study called “The Digital Joneses”. This study is organized by Internet security company Trend Micro and will follow seven bloggers {and our families} throughout the year as we complete monthly technology challenges. The goal of the study is to help improve and examine the struggles each family experiences with modern technology. Each challenge will identify and address one facet of digital security that is affecting living in a modern digitally-connected household.

Before I share about the first challenge I wanted to introduce the other bloggers that will be participating. They are Max from Attention Max, Lori from A Day In Motherhood, Stacie from The Divine Miss Mommy, Carol from NYCityMama, Michael from HighTechDad, and Stephanie from And Twins Make 5. You can learn more about the families here. I’m so honored to be part of such a wonderful group of successful bloggers!

For our first challenge, Sinisa and I had to take an online IQ quiz called: “Are You {Digitally} Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” Having been blogging since 2008 and online a lot longer than that I thought for sure I would ace the quiz. I ended up getting a score of 12 out of 16 and got the title of “security student”. Sinisa took the quiz and got an 8 out of 16 which was a “security wannabe”. Sinisa didn’t know the difference between “http” and “https” which I knew. On the flip side it asked to identify the Facebook logo and I got the question wrong. Seriously? I’ve been on that social network for years and have even gotten friends hooked on it but I couldn’t even pick the right logo out of four different ones. I also got a question wrong about networks that use cloud computing. I have heard of cloud computing but am not sure what exactly it is.

It’s obvious that I have a lot to learn about internet security still. Being online as much as I am it’s important to me to keep myself and my family safe as we work and play online. I look forward to the coming months and learning more about how I can do that.

How much do you know about internet security? Think you would get a better score than I did? Take the quiz and find out and then leave a comment below! I’d love to see how you all do on it.

(Disclosure: As stated above, this post is part of a study sponsored by Trend Micro that I am participating in. As a Digital Joneses family we are receiving assets to complete our challenges but all thoughts are my own.)

2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Gift Ideas For Everyone On Your List

If you are looking for gift ideas you are in the right place! I have dozens of ideas and there is something here for everyone on your Christmas shopping list. There are also some awesome GIVEAWAYS which you can enter at the bottom of this gift guide. More gift ideas and giveaways will be added in the coming month so keep checking back and stay tuned to the Making Time For Mommy social media channels for updates and gift ideas as well! This post contains some affiliate links to make shopping easier.

L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Winter Chill ICY Gurl Fashion Doll & Brrr B.B. Doll with 25 Surprises (GIVEAWAY)

Who doesn’t love surprises?! This set has 25 of them that you get to unbox, including L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Winter Chill fashion doll – Icy Gurl – and her sister – Brrr B.B. Icy Gurl who has highly detailed features, beautiful hair, and her own mountain-ready style. She’s the big sister to fan favorite L.O.L. Surprise! character, Brrr B.B., who is also included. The dolls come with a totally unique unboxing experience in a Winter Chill themed package. Open the side to unbox your fashion doll and reveal surprises. Icy Gurl’s fashions are ready to be unboxed from fabulous garment bags, her shoes have their own shoebox, and her hat box holds her accessories. Slide off the icy silhouette to reveal her picture. Find the ribbon and pull to spin around to find her bio and then reveal Icy Gurl in her dressing room, where she’s hanging out, ready to get dressed in her fierce fashions. Have her strike a pose to show her off on her included doll stand. The package becomes a reusable playset with a dressing room and chill zone. Each L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Winter Chill includes a fashion doll, her sister, fierce fashions, shoes, a shoebox, accessories, a hat box, purse, a brush, garment bags, a doll stand and a package that becomes a reusable playset. Collect all 4 L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Winter Disco fashion dolls.

Buy this L.O.L Surprise! set on Amazon here or enter to win it at the bottom of this post.

Pictures on Gold Locket (GIVEAWAY)

I love the lockets from Pictures on Gold! I have gifted one to my mom and made one for myself and this year I’m giving one to my daughter. I’m also giving one of you the chance to win a locket you design yourself so when you are done going through this list of amazing gifts make sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom to enter to win!

Pictures on Gold offers a variety of personalized jewelry that can be created online (via mobile or desktop). They make it simple to create custom jewelry pieces and to design your own locket with their step-by-step instructions that guide you through the process. Pictures on Gold has images put into the lockets with a laser, making the images 100% waterproof and scratch-proof. They offer a lifetime guarantee on their laser engraving and the quick shipping turnaround time makes it the perfect last-minute gift.

Create your own locket here and use the code ‘FESTIVE10’ to save 10% off.

Ballpark Blueprints (GIVEAWAY)

Ballpark Blueprints is the site to check out if you have a sports fan on your Christmas list! This company makes original handcrafted architectural art of more than 140 iconic stadiums, arenas and ballparks across the country. Favorite venues from baseball, football (pro and college), basketball, hockey, golf, and more are all part of its extensive collection. Your loved one might be missing out on in-person sports this year but Ballpark Blueprints offer a sophisticated and classic way for sports fans to reminisce and display their love of the game with a variety of gift ideas at every price point: from high-end framed, canvas, and metal art, museum-quality unframed art prints, and wall murals, to golf headcoversfleece stadium blanketst-shirts and hoodiesceramic mugs and metal travel mugs, among others. I received a cozy fleece blanket with my favorite stadium- Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play- on it and I absolutely love it!

Enter the giveaway at the bottom of this gift guide for your chance to win an unframed print of your choosing. You can also use the code MOMMY20 for 10% off all orders at ballparkblueprints.com.

Little Tikes My First Pet Checkup Set

Toys that encourage make-believe provide so many benefits to kids and this one also promotes empathy and might even lead to aspirations of becoming a vet or working with animals. I was excited to get this for my daughter because I think it will lead to hours of fun! This pet vet role play toy features three pets, plus tons of interactive play features: a pretend play ‘x-ray’ station; a working scale; a sink; a folding checkup counter; an adjustable, working overhead exam light; vet tools to examine and treat pretend pets and more. The built-in ‘x-ray’ station inspires kids to get creative by drawing on the 3 included translucent ‘x-ray’ slides. There’s also a lot of built-in storage which is great for all the accessories and any other vet or doctor items your child mighht have.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Loungewear from Sunday Citizen

Since we are all spending more time at home, perhaps the most useful gift is the gift of comfort. Sunday Citizen’s new Siesta Modal line of Lazy Pullovers, In & Out Joggers, In & Out Hoodies, and Weekend Shorts is possibly the softest Loungewear on the market (perfect for lounging around the house all day!) but also chic enough to wear outside. I was amazed at the softness when I received my pullover and hoodie in the mail. It’s definetely the softest sweatshirt I’ve ever had! And I just love the mint color that they offer….so pretty. I also appreciate that Sunday Citizen offers free shipping, returns, and a 90-day trial.

See all the products in their clothing line here.

TOPPIN Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

As a mom I tend to ask for small appliances and other things for our home as Christmas gifts so if “vacuum” is on your list- or a loved ones’- this TOPPIN cordless stick vacuum is a great, affordable option if you have hardwood floors. Since it’s cordless and lightweight it’s quick to grab to clean up crumbs after my toddler eats! It’s detachable battery provides up to 35 minutes of runtime before a 4-hours recharging is needed. It features a 35mm-wide roll brush that combines soft wool with carbon fiber wool to resist and reduce hair wrap and attachment while vacuuming, ideal for families with furry pets on hard floor. I also like that it easily converts from stick vacuum to a handheld vacuum with versatile attachments, allowing you to reach corners, stairs and crevices for a full deep cleaning.

Buy it on Amazon here or buy it on toppin.com and save 20% with the code Alicia20.

Christmas Books

Books are always a great gift idea for kids and during the holidays I like to give Christmas themed books. I have a roundup of Christmas books here but this year we added a couple more to our bookshelves: Christmas is Joy and Mouse’s Night Before Christmas. Both books are for the older toddler/preschool age so my almost 2 year old will be able to enjoy them for a few more holiday seasons. In Christmas is Joy, Emma Dodd imagines the joyful celebration of this wonderful time of year, as seen through the eyes of two reindeer. Mouse’s Night Before Christmas is a beautiful picture book that brings to life the warmth that comes with receiving the best gift of all – a new friend.

Buy them on Amazon: Christmas Is Joy & Mouse’s Night Before Christmas

Nooie Smart Home Gear

Give the gift of security with Nooie Smart Home Gear – affordable, stylish, and intuitive home security to protect everything you care about. The Nooie Cam Outdoor has a full HD camera and night vision, a broad view, two-way audio, motion/sound detection, theft-deterrant alarm, and is waterproof and UV resistant. They also have indoor cameras, smart plugs, and lightbulbs as well – everything one needs to make their house a smart home!

Shop all Nooie products here.

ANIMAL ISLAND Aila Sit & Play Virtual Early Preschool Learning System  for Toddlers

For parents working from home while juggling young kids this device is a lifesaver. Animal Island Learning Adventure (AILA) Original Series for toddlers (12-36 months) is high-quality educational content developed by educators and innovators for early learning when it matters the most. It’s hands-free, worry-free, ad-free and subscription-free with automatic updates. There are three play modes with curated playlists: broadcast for exposure, session for learning and lullaby for sleepy babies. Engaging and fun content blended automatically for a toddler to sing along, dance, and learn ABC’s, 123’s, colors, shapes, words, stories and music together with their animal friends in the virtual preschool on the Animal Island so that parents have the peace of mind. AILA keeps track of the curriculum milestones and delivers the right content at the right time.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Say What You Meme Game

Say What You Meme is the hilarious new party game in which players create their own memes – pictures with hysterical sayings found on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social media sites – and choose which are the funniest, wittiest meme for the win! In each round, players get the chance to try their hand at this 21st century art form by combining hilarious images and witty text. It’s perfect for family game night with social media savvy tweens and teens!

Buy the first edition on Amazon here.

Kayo Body Care

Women can always use more lotions and other body care products making them the perfect gift for a number of people on your list! Kayo developed a suite of over 15 premium products and beauty tools that tackle full-body healthy aging including a line featuring High-Performance Hemp. Kayo’s Face Grade Body Care formulas contain the same high concentrations of powerful, quality ingredients as luxury facial skin care, but they’re made just for the skin below your chin. They adhere to the European Union’s skincare ingredient standards, which are stricter than those in the US, and they don’t contain any sulfates or parabens.

Buy Kayo Body Care products here.

Lilly Tikes Sing-Along Ami Doll

Dolls are some of the most played with toys in our home so I was excited to give Ami to my daughter. The new Sing-Along Ami doll brings kids’ vibrant imaginations to life as they play all day. Holding both the Sing-Along Ami doll’s hands makes her sing her own version of “Ring Around the Rosie” and speak 10 unique phrases for tons of interactive play. When they’re done playing and singing, kids can enjoy teatime with Ami using the included, doll-size teacup, saucer, two cookies, and bunny doll. Ami stands 12 inches tall, has fully articulated arms and legs, a turning head, and changeable clothes so kids can have her sit, pose, or do just about anything they can imagine. Best of all, Ami’s soft hair is brushable and kids can style it with the included brush and two hair clips.

Buy Sing-Along Ami on Amazon here.

SWAGTRON K7 3-in-1 Ride-On Balance Trike, Tricycle and Balance Bike

The SWAGTRON K7 is the best way to get your toddlers engaging with the world around them, all while developing their balance, strength, endurance and coordination. Start them as early as 10 months on a balance trike to improve balance. As they grow in confidence and skill, quickly and easily transform the balance tricycle into a pedaling tricycle before being converted into its final form – a balance bike. This is a natural learning progression, for kids and parents alike. This comes in pink or blue.

Buy it on Amazon here.

The Clockwork Crow

I’m always on the hunt for new books that will interest my two tweens. Evoking the classic fantasy adventures of Joan Aiken and Eva Ibbotson, this darkly delightful new novel from New York Times best-selling author Catherine Fisher glimmers with winter magic and is sure to enthrall the youth of today. The Clockwork Crow comes highly rated so it’s perfect for any middle schoolers on your shopping list and will give them something to do over the long winter break.

Buy it on Amazon here.

LEGO Trolls World Tour Pop Village Celebration Set

If you have a child who loves building with LEGO bricks and is a fan of Trolls, this Pop Village Celebration Set would make an awesome gift idea! With amazing detail, this building set opens a world of imaginative play for young Trolls fans. From the branches of this super-cool tree hang two pods: one for the glitter-tastic exclusive LEGO Trolls characters Guy Diamond and Tiny Diamond, plus another for Cooper. There’s even space to add an optional third pod – Poppy’s Pod. There’s so much for kids to discover in this Trolls playhouse. With lots of interactive features and accessories, they’ll love creating their own stories. They can even take the fun with them since the Trolls’ pods close and are portable! Each set includes printed instructions and comes with Instructions PLUS to help youngsters build.

Buy it on Amazon here.

This is a Book of Shapes

Looking to add to your toddler’s board book collection? This is a Book of Shapes is an unexpected delight and definetely not what I expected when I picked up a book about shapes to read to my daughter. Written by Kenneth Kraegel for 2-5 year olds, what begins as a concept board book about everyone’s geometric favorites soon defies expectations with a series of funny and imaginative twists.

Buy it on Amazon here.

TENZI Dice Party Game Bundle

A friend recently told me that TENZI was one of her family’s favorite games so I knew that I had to add it to our collection for our family game nights. TENZI is a fun, fast dice game for ages 7 and up. To play TENZI you must roll your 10 dice as fast as you can which makes the game instantly competitive and fun for the whole family. In addition to the original TENZI dice game instructions that give you 9 different ways to play, the game bundle includes an add-on card set that provides 77 different ways to play TENZI. This set is small so it’s perfect to take with on family trips or to sleepovers and there are so many ways to play it’ll provide hours of fun.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Totally 90s Coloring Book

This is the perfect gift for 80s babies! They will relive their youth with this coloring book that’s chock-full of the best the 1990s brought us! Flipping through this coloring book I was reminded of all the things I just had to have during that decade- from scrunchies to fanny packs to outdated tech like walkmans and see-through landline phones. 2020 has given us plenty of time at home so this coloring book is perfect for adults looking to do something other than binge-watch tv and it will serve as a great escape back to better times.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Love Board Book

This baby board book by Casey Rislov is inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and celebrates the power of love. This board book wraps little ones up in the embrace of gentle words and sweet illustrations while reminding us that–during hard times and loss– with love, anything is possible. The messages of Love rings true now more than ever as our world faces division, turmoil, and chaos from the COVID-19 pandemic — and teaches children compassion and kindness at a young age.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Camera Roll Game

Tweens and teens are on their cell phones 24/7 anyway so why not incorporate it into a game that gets them a bit of face-to-face interaction while playing!? Players search through their camera roll (or on social media for Search Up cards) to find a photo that matches the card and get points for the photos they find. I also love that this game can be played while social distancing over video chat!

Buy it on Amazon here.

Little Tikes First Washer Dryer

If you have a little one who loves to “help” you around the house this miniature washer dryer from Little Tikes might just be the perfect gift for them! This toy washer-dryer has a realistic design so kids can pretend they’re doing the laundry for hours of pretend play fun. It’s packed with realistic sounds – dial turning, spinning drum sounds, beeps, cycle changing, and more- and kids can even turn the dial to activate the spinning drum and watch it as it goes through a wash/dry cycle. My toddler was so excited to play with this right out of the box (and I hadn’t even put the batteries in it yet!)

Buy it on Amazon here.

When I think of skateboarding, Tony Hawk comes to mind because he was the best skateboarder out there in the 1990s. I used to love watching him do all his tricks as I dreamed about being a “skater girl” and going to watch him at the X Games. For all the gamers in your life who also enjoy skateboarding, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 would make a great gift. The quintessential series that brought skateboarding to the mainstream is back and this ground-up remaster breathes new life into the classic franchise that I have loved since the late 90s.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Back the the Roots Growing Kits

Back to the Roots, an organic gardening company, has two amazing new products for kids just in time for the holiday season:  the Terrarium Kids Grow Kit and the Self-Watering Grow Kit. Kids will be excited to get their hands dirty and get their creativity flowing off-screen! Easy and fun, they will love growing different plants, that they can decorate and make their own.

The Terrarium Kit comes to life with the magic of organic microgreens in just 7 days! Kids can ave fun building and decorating their own edible terrarium, and follow along in the included Discovery Booklet to learn about the magic of nature’s ecosystems. Everything is included – just add water and watch it grow! The Self-Watering Grow Kit is a mini hydroponic system that works with all popular cacti and succulents and takes the worry out of watering! It comes with everything you need – just drop in your favorite plant ($5 rebate included!) and add water to the jar. The reliable wicking system brings water up to your succulent or cactus only as needed — so you can keep calm, and grow on!

Light up your kid’s holiday season with magic, with a gift they will watch grow to life. Back to the Roots also has a number of gift ideas for all the adults on your list, too! And it’s okay if they don’t have a green thumb because Back to the Roots offers zero-risk gardening! They’ll send you as many seeds as you need to get growing or they’ll give you your money back. Sounds perfect for people like me who can’t keep plants alive :)

See all their growing kits here.

Will You Be My Friend? Book

If you love the book Guess How Much I Love You, you will be just as delighted with the sequel to the heartwarming picture book classic. Twenty-five years after we met the Nutbrown Hares, this enchanting new tale about friendship is bound to capture the hearts of Guess How Much I Love You fans—and everyone else—the world over.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Boppy Newborn Lounger

If you have a new mom or infant to shop for, the Boppy Lounger is hands down my favorite gift for them. The lounger was the most used baby item in my home during the first months after my third child was born. The Boppy Newborn Lounger is the perfect place for baby to hang out during awake time when you need a hands-free moment. I used it often while trying to get some work done or to put Emma in while my older two fed her a bottle. The uniquely recessed design gently cradles baby during supervised awake time. It is lightweight with a simple carrying handle making the Newborn Lounger easy to move from room to room. You can watch baby and get things done while satisfying baby’s curiosity by providing different views and environments.

Buy it on Amazon here.

 

MasterChef Electric Tortilla and Flatbread Maker

Those who enjoy cooking seem to always love checking out the newest kitcen gadgets and appliances so gifting the MasterChef Electric Tortilla and Flatbread Maker is just a no-brainer! My husband was really excited to receive one. It makes homemade, 10-inch flatbread, pitas, tortillas and more in just minutes. This appliance is heavy duty, has a non-stick coating for easy cleanup and its plates are designed to distribute heat evenly for uniform baking. It includes a ready light to indicate optimal baking temperature and a cord wrap for convenient storage. Best of all, it’s easy to clean! Give the gift of kitchen creativity when you leave one of these under the Christmas tree!

Buy it on Amazon here.

CuBirds

Need a new game to add to the family game night rotation? CuBirds is a perfect small group game for those evenings you want to fit a quick game in since it can be played in just 20 minutes. It’s a trick-taking game for two to five players ages 8 and up that challenges players to be the first to build their flock of cards adorned with beautiful artwork of birds. It’s easy to learn and there’s even two different ways to play.

Buy it on Amazon here.

HamiltonBuhl Animation Studio Kit

If your child loves to create stop-motion videos this animation kit will help them do so. The simple and easy to use Animate It! software has an intuitive interface with stunningly powerful features. The Animation Studio Kit includes a 5MP, 30FPS, gooseneck webcam with a non-slip base and Animate It! stop motion animation software, developed by the award-winning makers of “Wallace & Gromit.” Almost any topic can be made more interesting using stop motion animation, and students will learn from this exciting teaching technique. Simply plug in the included USB webcam, grab an item – a toy, a fruit, a book, anything at hand – and get animating! This fun product teaches kids multimedia skills, which help develop essential skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration capabilities. It also demystifies media and IT technologies and might just introduce kids to a new career!

Buy it on Amazon here.

GingerSnap Wishes Clothing

Looking to support a small business this holiday season? I love GingerSnap Wishes and their line of inclusive clothing. Their mission is to create clothing that makes children feel happy, confident, and empowered so they can be comfortable in their own skin and be their true selves. Love it! If you have a girl who likes construction vehicles, dinosaurs, or other sterotypical “boys” themes you will find the perfect gift in this shop. My favorite outfit is the “Sundays are for football” outfit that Emma received (anyone who knows me could have told you I’d pick the football outfit lol!) but I also really like their newest “Children of the Revolution” skirt.

Use code ‘MAKINGTIMEFORMOMMY’ for 10% off when you shop her site- https://gingersnapwishes.com/?ref=8z-ptewtsujk

Laser Battle Hunters

I have a cool toy your kids are going to love! Laser Battle Hunters Remote Control Laser Tag Vehicles perfectly combine old school car play with the fun of laser tag! They are great for siblings or small groups to play (get additional cars to compete against up to seven opponents) but they also allow a child to play safe and solo with an autonomous single player mode against the computer using both vehicles which is great for social distancing. Laser Battle Hunters give kids an amazing laser tag battling experience. Choose Shadow or Reaper then Game On! Ready, aim and fire…attack or be attacked. Three hits and you win. The vehicles have hi-tech Omniwheels for side-to-side driving in tight spaces, wide open racing, or tough terrain and laser-like lights and sounds. Sneak attack or come in blasting with blazing wide turns and epic drifting. The two-pack Laser Battle Hunter with infrared cannons comes with 2 controllers and are great for kids ages 5 and older to be played indoors or outdoors with an operating range of 50 feet.

Get the two-pack of Laser Battle Hunters at Walmart here.

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away

From Newbery Medalist Meg Medina comes the bittersweet story of two girls who will always be each other’s número uno, even though one is moving away. The tenderness of Meg Medina’s beautifully written story about friendship and change is balanced by Sonia Sánchez’s colorful and vibrant depictions of the girls’ urban neighborhood. This book about friendship is also available in Spanish.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Resident Evil 3

My husband couldn’t wait to get his hands on Resident Evil 3! He loved the first two games and this brings back a lot of nostalgia for him since the first game came out when we were teenagers. This latest entry in the 103 million unit selling Resident Evil franchise bookends the Raccoon City saga using Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine to deliver vivid high-definition graphics and modernized gameplay mechanics. Resident Evil 3 is presented through the perspective of one of video games’ most iconic heroines, Jill Valentine, as she tries to escape Raccoon City in the completely reimagined, action-backed survival hooror game Resident Evil 3. Experience her harrowing escape while being pursued by Nemesis in the panic-stricken hours leading up to and following the events of the acclaimed best-selling Resident Evil 2. Players can also participate in previously untold Umbrella experiments on the outskirts of Raccoon City in the included online asymmetrical multiplayer game Resident Evil Resistance. In this 4 vs. 1 online multiplayer game, four Survivors must work together to escape an insidious experiment and outsmart the twisted Mastermind behind the scenes. Resident Evil 3 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Puffy Blanket

I am always cold so I love a nice warm blanket that I can cuddle under and this one is so soft! The Puffy Blanket is a gift that’s perfect for everyone this Christmas with it’s luxurious comfort mixed with classic design that will suit any style of bedroom décor or look great draped over their favorite chair. With soft faux fur on one side and velvety soft micro mink on the other, the lightweight Puffy Blanket is ideal for staying cozy during the cold winter months.

Get the Puffy Blanket and save 15% until the end of the year!

Club Eimmie Doll Accessory Monthly Subscription

If you have a little one in your life who loves dolls they would enjoy getting this monthly subscription package in the mail each month. I get it for my daughter’s dolls and they have such cute items. Each month your child will get doll clothes, doll accessories and/or doll playsets. The first box came with a cute romper, pajama set, and doll hair brush and last month they had a fun little roller skating set.

Subscribe on Amazon here.

Sok-It

I found the perfect stocking stuffer for the coffee lover in your life: reusable iced and hot coffee sleeves from Sok-It™. JavaSok™ cold sleeves fit most major brands like Dunkin®, Starbucks®, McCafé® Cups and many other similar sized cups, and not only retain ice so your beverage stays cold longer, but leaves you happy with dry hands, no mess, puddles or watermarks to worry about and HotSok™ sleeves shield your hands from extreme heat and fit most disposable cup sizes. Made from thick, insulating, 4MM coated neoprene fabric on its inner and outer sides to provide natural barriers to various elements, JavaSok and HotSok are also washable. They come in a lot of fun prints, too, so you can find the perfect one that fits the gift recipient’s personality!

See the different prints on Amazon here.

The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears

One of my favorite things is football, and more specifically the Chicago Bears. This beautifully put-together Bears book is a must-have for any Chicago Bears fan! In Chicago, the Bears’s grip on the city spans generations and cultures, endures disappointments, and impels celebration of triumphs great and small. From the team’s humble beginnings to its century-long status as the flagship NFL franchise, the Chicago Tribune has documented every season. The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears is an impressive testament to Bears tradition, compiling photography, original box scores, and entertaining essays from Hall of Fame reporters. This expanded second edition includes updated writing from the past five years, and was released to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the NFL–and the Chicago Bears. The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Bears is a decade-by-decade look at the team, beginning with George Halas moving the team to Chicago in 1921. The Bears soon became known as the Monsters of the Midway, dominating the sport with four NFL titles in the 1940s, seven winning campaigns in the 1950s, and a final title with Halas as coach in 1963. Their 1985 Super Bowl championship transformed the city’s passion into a full-blown love affair that continues today. Professional football was practically born in Chicago, nurtured by Halas through the Depression and a world war. The NFL game was made for Chicago, in Chicago, by a Chicagoan. Now the award-winning journalists, photographers, and editors of the Chicago Tribune have produced a comprehensive collector’s item that every Bears fan will love.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Imaginext

Out of all the toys I bought my boys, I’d say that their Imaginext sets and figures were the most played with. From preschool through 2nd grade or so, these toys were played with on a daily basis. They have a lot of different characters, from Spongebob to super heroes to Toy Story to Scooby Doo. They are also well made and last through rough play, which my young boys definetely put them all through. There are dozens of sets available at big box stores and on Amazon but my favorite that’s in stores right now is the giant DC Super Friends Super Surround Batcave. This thing is huge! (Check out the stock photo of the kids sitting next to it.)

See all the Imaginext sets available on Amazon here.

Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition

2020 has been the year of family time. Most of us have stayed close to home and had a lot of time to bond but have done a lot of the “same old thing”- from baking to watching movies to family game night. Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, an amazing scratch off family adventure book, is here to change that and will definetely help you shake things up in 2021!

This book will spark your family’s sense of adventure. Say goodbye to the ‘ordinary’ and vow to do something different. Use the interactive family book to bond through excitement, to make discoveries, to fuel your imagination, and to venture into uncharted family fun territory. With 50+ hidden challenges, tear-out surprises, and interactive elements, this is the ultimate scratch-off family adventure book. Every challenge is designed to bring your family closer together, doing things you never would have done without this fun-inspiring book. Family adventure categories include: Explore, Create, Learn, Spread Joy, Cook, Move, Get Silly, and more. The adventures can take you to an undiscovered trail, to your kitchen, or to your own backyard.

Commit to an adventurous 2021 and buy the book here.

Watchdogs: Legion

Here’s another game on the list for older gamers! My husband was excited to get Watchdogs: Legion to check out. In Watch Dogs: Legion, London is facing its downfall. Amidst the growing unrest of a restless London, an unknown entity named Zero-Day has framed secret underground resistance DedSec for coordinated bombings across London. In the aftermath, criminal opportunists from every corner of London took hold and filled the void left by a defeated government. As a member of DedSec, players will be going up against those criminal opportunists in Watch Dogs: Legion; sadists, mercenaries, cybercriminals, and more; they’ll have to be prepared for a variety of situations. Players must recruit members into their DedSec Resistance to take on these criminal opportunists, liberate London and uncover the identity of Zero-Day.

Buy it on Amazon here.

1MORE ColorBuds True Wireless Earbuds

Anyone that loves listening to music would love these new ColorBuds True Wireless Earbuds by 1MORE. These comfortable earbuds are water and sweat resistant and deliver premium sound in a lightweight, portable earbud. They even have an auto play/pause feature so that when the earbuds are removed the built-in infared sensors will automatically pause the music and resume it once you put them back on. They also have four powerful microphones combined with noise cancellation technology that produces crystal-clear voice talk. I love that they have a pocket-sized charging case, too.

Buy them on Amazon here.

All Aboard! Great Lakes Board Book

Living in the Chicago area for most of my life means I’m blessed to have explored the great lakes often and I love traveling to other lakeside towns. Since 2020 has kept us home I haven’t been able to take my toddler to see all the sights I’d like to so I was excited to hear about this book that lets toddlers explore the amazing Great Lakes- Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario and all the interesting places along the way such as Niagra Falls, Mackinac Island (one of my favorites!), Cave Point, and Chicago. The authors engaging writing and delightful illustrations will have little outdoor lovers and baby explorers enthralled with every page, encouraging little ones to always be adventurous!

Buy it on Amazon here.

Trendhim Lealand Green Foldable Duffle Bag

Sometimes men can be so difficult to buy for but Trendhim, an international brand based in Denmark, that sells accessories and other cool stuff for men makes crossing off all the men in your life a snap. I love this army green duffle bag which would make the perfect gift for anyone who loves to explore. This lightweight, water-resistant duffle bag is also ideal for weekend getaways or trips to the gym. It blends functionality with design and the spacious large zipped compartment is great for packing your gear, while the 2 side pockets hold smaller essentials and secure with snaps. It comes packed folded in a small pouch

Find the perfect gift for the fashionable man in your life here.

Blitz Champz

Yes, if you are counting you will know that this is the third football related gift idea on my list…I can’t help it! I love football :) I am super excited to share about this gift though because it combines two of my passions: football and education. BLITZ CHAMPZ is a fun and competitive card game, based on the sport of football, that teaches strategy and reinforces math skills. It takes two minutes to learn, can be played by 2-6 people at a time, and is perfect for ages 7 and up. It can be used at school as an educational activity, and at home for fun, family bonding time. It’s very portable as well so it’s perfect to take camping or to the park.

Buy the game on Amazon here.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Here’s another gift idea for the more mature gamers on your Christmas shopping list! The critically-acclaimed Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is the massive expansion that built upon every aspect of Capcom’s best-selling title of all time, Monster Hunter: World. The title has continued to receive a bounty of free post-launch content including the addition of new and exciting monsters, seasonal events, new armor, weapons, cosmetic options and more. The title recently launched Title Update 5, which brought two new monsters to the game, including Arch-Tempered Velkhana and the Black Dragon Fatalis, new armor sets, the Fun Fright Fest in-game event, and more. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Juju Bug & Co. Mother & Daughter TShirt Subscription

I couldn’t put together a gift guide and not include my newest favorite- a tshirt subscription for moms and their daughters! My toddler and I wore coordinating shirts yesterday for Thanksgiving that we got from this subscription and I loved being able to fulfill my dream of matching mother/daughter outfits after having two boys.

Sign up for the monthly sets here.

GIVEAWAYS

Shopping for others is fun but winning free things is even more fun :) Enter below to win some amazing prizes thanks to our awesome sponsors! Please note that each prize is a different form so make sure to enter all the giveaways that you are interested in winning! Follow me on social media to be notified when more new gift ideas and giveaways are added to this gift guide!

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2013 Toys“R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List

As much as I want to deny it, Christmas will be here soon. For those of you who like to shop early I have the 2013 Toys”R”Us Holiday Hot Toy List. I’m excited to be working with Toys”R”Us this Holiday season and will be reviewing some of these hot toys! Here is the list representing the top new toys of the year in each age group:

THE 2013 #TRUHotToyList

Baby’s First Christmas
Grow with Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit
 
from Infantino®
Little ones will “have a ball” with this action-packed, grow-with-me activity gym, which has pop-up mesh sides so it can convert into a ball pit. Featuring an adorable sea turtle shape, the set is complete with 4 plush toys children will fall in love with, as well as 4 colorful balls. No batteries required. Ages 0 years and up.

13 Months to 2 Years
Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car
 
from Fisher-Price®
Baby can take the driver’s seat with this fun-filled learning vehicle and let the adventures begin. With different play modes, little ones can get a head start on learning everything from their ABC’s to colors. This cruising machine can also help tiny tots develop gross motor skills as it encourages crawling. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 months to 3 years.

Rollin’ Tunes Zebra from Fisher-Price®
The more baby rolls, the more fun they’ll have with this interactive Zebra, which is sure to become any baby’s best pal. The music grows louder as little ones keep rollin’ along and fun phrases keep the ride exciting. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 12 months to 3 years.

2 to 4 Years
Big Hugs Elmo
 
from Hasbro®
Little ones are sure to fall in love with the first feature Elmo toy that can hug them back. When kids give their red, furry friend a hug, the interactive plush moves his arms to return the love. This cuddly, 22-inch lifelike Elmo has flexible arms and a soft head, plays 3 fun songs, features more than 50 animated sounds and phrases, and encourages pretend play. When little ones are ready for naptime, Elmo will even sing a lullaby and make sleeping sound effects to help soothe them to sleep. 4 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 18 months to 4 years.

Despicable Me 2 Minion Dave, Agnes and Gru Collector’s Edition Figures from Thinkway Toys
The quirky and lovable characters of Despicable Me 2 are here to make the holidays bright. These highly detailed Minion Dave (9-inch), Agnes (11-inch) and Gru (14-inch) interactive figures (sold separately) feature moving heads, eyes and mouths. Sure to ignite bouts of laughter, each character recites at least 30 phrases from the comical movie in their original voices and each responds to sound for back-and-forth conversation. 3 “AAA” batteries required for Agnes (not included). 4 “AA” batteries required for Minion Dave (not included). 3 “AA” batteries required for Gru (not included). Ages 4 to 12 years.

Disney Planes Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Remote Control Plane from Mattel®
It’s time to tilt and fly. Kids can have high-flying fun recreating the action seen in the Disney movie Planes, with this RC vehicle that offers role-play remote control, making the plane move as they do. This plane is fully equipped with sounds and phrases that amp up the action for a thrilling air venture. 2 “AAA” and 4”AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 3 years and up.

Doc McStuffins Deluxe Get Better Check-Up Center from Just Play
Kids will have all the tools they need with this set to enjoy imaginative play as they heal toys and give checkups just like Doc McStuffins. When the included Lambie is placed on the check-up table, tiny caretakers will delight in lights and sounds. Plus, future physicians will enjoy using the electronic Big Book of Boo Boos to make a diagnosis, slide in play x-rays to activate lights and sounds, use the cell phone for “chats” with Hallie and more. Kids can also use the portable scale to check their patient’s weight and take the ouches away with bandage stickers from the dispenser on the clinic door. This exclusive set includes 14 bonus pieces, including Doc’s child-size lab coat and new First Aid Kit with fun accessories, perfect for on-the-go checkups. 3 “AA” batteries required for Check-Up Center. 2 “AA” batteries required for play cell phone (not included). Ages 3 years and up (not included). This item will become available in October.

Imaginarium Mountain Rock Train Table from Toys“R”Us®
This wooden train table set delivers big play value for little ones with over 100 pieces and 23 feet of track, plus, lights and sounds bring playtime to life. Mini conductors can take the 8 included trains on a journey through 5 play destinations. From the two-tower bridge and two-level mountain pass, to the working swivel crane, train station and 4-door roundhouse turntable, kids will enjoy hours of train play. Plus, this ultimate set is compatible with other select wooden train sets and features a large storage drawer, so kids’ collections can continue to grow. 2 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 3 years and up.

Imaginext® Batcave from Fisher-Price®
Kids will love helping Batman and his sidekick Robin with this secret command center equipped with superhero gadgetry, including a Batcomputer, secret walkways, a Batwing, elevator, jail and more. Turn the included Batman and Robin figures on any of the 3 activation disks to make cool things happen throughout. Plus, young superheroes can use the included launcher to blast projectiles at approaching intruders. And, when Batman needs to race into Gotham City, kids can place him on his Batcycle and send him off. To bring the fun of this Batcave to life, a complimentary, downloadable iPhone® Imaginext Batcave app is available. No batteries required. Ages 3 years and up.

My Little Pony Feature Princess Twilight Sparkle Pony from Hasbro®
Now, the magic of Equestria is in kids’ hands with this interactive pony. With one touch of her cutie mark, she will move her head and blink her eyes as she awakens. Brush her mane and Twilight Sparkle will hum songs and speak whimsical phrases as she’s being pampered. Plus, her iridescent turquoise wings and unicorn horn illuminate with a touch, creating enchanting patterns of light, and kids can push her along and watch as her wings flutter. 4 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 3 years and up.

Sofia the First Royal Talking Vanity from JAKKS Pacific®
Princesses in training can get ready for a royal dance with this gorgeous vanity inspired by Sofia the First. Standing over 3 feet tall, this vanity features 6 princess lessons from Sofia and lots of hidden surprises including a jewelry box that appears with a push of a magical button, hidden animal friends and a storage drawer to store trinkets. The vanity features 8 beauty accessories to complete the play including two perfume bottles, a comb, lipstick, necklace and a mini tiara. The set also comes with a complimentary magical lesson card to use with the Talking Magical Amulet, (sold separately). 3 “AA” batteries required. Ages 3 years and up. This item will become available in October.

You & Me Tub & Toot Doll from Toys“R”Us®
Little ones will love to splish splash in the bath with this Toys“R”Us-exclusive doll. Simply by lifting the interactive doll’s left hand while bathing, kids will be in for a fun surprise, as she giggles and babbles away. 3 “AA” batteries required (included). Ages 2 years and up.

5 to 7 Years
Battroborg 3-in-1 Battle Arena
 
from TOMY®
Let the battle begin! This one-of-a-kind set offers kids action-packed play using motion-controlled battling robots. The newest innovation in robot gaming technology, this set features Nunchaku motion controllers, allowing players to control the action in the ring by maneuvering robots to match their own motions. With 3 competitive game modes, competitors will enjoy head-to-head Battroborg battle, can practice their moves with training drones or master the art of combat against a self-propelled Battroborg robot. Includes 2 robots, 2 Nunchaku motion controllers, arena, 4 training drones, 2 sticker sheets and 2 face sheets. 8 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 years and up.

Boom Boom Balloon Game from Spin Master
Pressure mounts with each roll of the dice as players take their turn to poke the balloon. With every roll, the balloon stretches, squishes and strains, wondering if the next poke will make it pop. There are 12 silly-faced balloons inside the box and players can contact Spin Master to order additional balloons. No Batteries Required. Ages 8 years and up.

Disney Infinity from Disney Interactive
The worlds of Disney and Pixar collide for the first time ever with this all-new gaming platform. Integrating collectible figures featuring beloved characters from movies like Monsters, Inc.Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibleswith an immersive video game experience, players can bring their favorite characters to life in the virtual world by placing the figures on a Disney Infinity base, which transports them into the game. Players have two gaming options to choose from, including “Toy Box,” a mode where players can build and customize their own unique environments, and a story-driven experience, “Play Set,” which allows players to solve challenging puzzles, battle enemies and explore iconic Disney locations. The game launched with an initial line of 18 collectible interactive figures and 21 Power Discs that unlock special in-game powers, gadgets, vehicles and more. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up (figures). Ages 10 years and up (game).

Flutterbye Flying Fairy from Spin Master
Children can experience the magic of real fairy flight with these enchanting Flutterbye Fairies. After magically rising and gracefully flying across the sky, guided simply by kids’ hands, she will rest on her display stand. 6 “AA” batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.

FurReal Friends® Cuddles My Giggly Monkey Pet from Hasbro®
Youngsters will go bananas over this interactive, giggly monkey. With over 100 realistic sounds and phrases, from laugh-out-loud silly to super sweet, responds to many classic play patterns like feeding, diaper changing, cuddling, tickling, swinging, and being rocked to sleep. She’ll move her mouth when children feed her from a banana-shaped bottle, and is ready for playtime, saying “whee,” when swung upside down. After a long day of play, this lovable pet will slowly close her eyes and start to snooze when rocked to sleep. Comes with a bottle, pink bow and removable diaper. 4 “C” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 years and up.

InnoTab® 3S Exclusive Bundle from VTech®
Kids can learn, create and connect with the latest generation of the popular InnoTab learning tablet. Complete with Wi-Fi, this tablet opens up a world of interactive game play and educational fun. Included games teach reading, math, social studies, science and much more. Plus, children can play videos and music, take pictures and share their creations and messages by connecting to other InnoTab 3S tablets and smart phones through VTech Kid Connect. Equipped with a kid-safe browser, children can view pre-approved websites and connect to the Learning Lodge for hundreds of software cartridges and downloads for more learning fun. Also includes a rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter, plus a bonus folio case and headphones. Ages 3 to 9 years.

LeapPad Ultra from LeapFrog®
Built especially for little learners, this kid-tough tablet features a 7-inch hi-res touch screen, Wi-Fi with LeapSearch, LeapFrog’s kid-safe browser created with Zui and access to a library of more than 800 fun and educator-approved apps, games, eBooks, videos, music and more. The tablet includes 11 apps, 8GB of storage and a built-in rechargeable battery so the learning fun never ends. Front and back cameras and video recorders allow kids to take pictures and video, while the Photo Fun Ultra app provides cool picture effects. No batteries required. Ages 4 to 9 years.

Magic Jinn from Hasbro®
Children of all ages will love outsmarting this magical mind reader. All it takes is a touch of Jinn’s nose to begin, and through a series of questions, the intuitive creature will try to guess which animal kids have on their mind as they answer with “Yes,” “No,” “I don’t know” or “Maybe.” No one can tell what he’ll say next! 3 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 6 years and up.

Skylanders SWAP Force from Activision Publishing, Inc
Skylanders is “mixing it up” with the newest game in the award-winning, top-selling franchise. This one-of-a-kind game builds upon the success of the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, adding an all-new dimension to the “toys to life” innovation. The game introduces a compelling play pattern – dynamic swapability – that lets gamers transform 16 SWAP Force inter-action figures into more than 250 unique characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys. Fans also can play with their entire collection of more than 100 characters fromSkylanders Spyro’s Adventure® and Skylanders GiantsTM. No batteries required. Ages 10 years and up. This item will become available on October 13 on Nintendo Wii™, Wii U™, 3DS™,  Xbox 360™ and Xbox One™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system.

tabeo e2 from Toys“R”Us®
The next generation of tabeo, this all-new Android™ Jelly Bean 4.2 Wi-Fi tablet was created especially for kids. This unique 8-inch tablet is bigger, better and faster, featuring lightning fast performance to handle even the most action-packed games, sharper graphics, advanced parental controls, expanded storage and so much more. This tablet comes complete with high-impact screen protection, dual-facing cameras, an tabeo App Store packed with thousands of free, kid-friendly applications, plus dozens of preloaded premium apps. With included fan-favorite kids’ apps like Need for Speed™ Most WantedBejeweled® 2The Game of LifeTemple Run 2Fruit NinjaCrayola DigiTools Effects,Cartoon NetworkWWE and Playrific, children will enjoy hours of entertainment, fun and education. Available in a blue, pink or clear protective case, the Bluetooth™ enabled device also features an extensive ecosystem of products, including speakers, docking stations and licensed accessories. No batteries required. Ages 6 to 11 years. Available for pre-order now at tabeo.com.

The Ugglys from Moose Toys
Introducing the ugliest dogs around. These farting, burping, barking and growling interactive electronic pets are ready to start trouble with kids of all ages. In addition to making over 30 rude, repulsive and hilarious noises, each mischievous mutt with an attitude can be “tuned” to further amuse kids big and small. Using a button on each pup’s collar, kids can warp the sounds of their mischievous friends to disgust or delight. And, when the Ugglys are left alone, they’ll snore away until it’s time to play. 3 “AAA” batteries required (not included). Ages 5 years and up.

The Zelfs™ from Moose Toys
Collectors – big and small – will love this group of whimsical and quirky dolls. Each Zelf has its own unique persona and Zelf power represented by a Zelmark. The dolls also have matching charms and hair accessories that kids can use to style and tame their Zelfs’ colorful and spike-tacular hair. Imaginations will go wild, during endless hours of hair-raising play with these super cute characters available in 3 collectible sizes. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.

8 to 11 Years
Crayola® Melt N’ Mold Factory
 
from Crayola®
Look forward to creating unique, multicolored crayons and rings with this one-of-a-kind craft kit. Add a custom combination of colorful crayon bits to the melting tray, then turn it on and watch crayons melt together. With an included crayon and ring mold, pint-sized Picassos can pour the melted wax to transform crayons into custom multicolor creations – no two crayons or rings are the same. Includes melting tray, 24 crayons, 2 molds and 1 mold holder. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.

Ever After High Royal & Rebel Dolls from Mattel®
Ever After High introduces the children of famous fairytale characters. These 4 spellbinding teenage dolls will choose to either follow their parents’ footsteps or discover their own happily ever after. With Apple White, Raven Queen, Briar Beauty and Madeline Hatter (each sold separately), kids will love discovering the untold stories of the “Royals” and “Rebels.” No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up. These items will become available in November.

Kurio® 10s from Techno Source
Following up the best-selling, award-winning Kurio 7, this all-new, Android™ 4.2 (Jellybean) Wi-Fi enabled device truly takes family tablets to the next level with a new design, faster Quad Core processor and a larger, high definition 10.1” IPS touch screen. Great for games, movies and family fun, this exclusive tablet combines the advanced features kids expect from a cutting-edge tablet with Kurio’s unique, built-in parental control features that allow parents to set up customized profiles perfectly suited for each member of the family. Parents can adjust Internet access to ensure kids surf the web safely, manage applications by profile and even set detailed time limits by day of the week. Kurio 10s comes preloaded with more than 60 educational games and apps out of the box, and families can access hundreds of thousands more free apps through the Kurio Store and the most popular Android app stores. Available in black with an included blue protective bumper. Micro USB power adapter included. Ages 3 years and up.

LEGO Legends of Chima The Lion CHI Temple from LEGO®
LEGO lovers can engage in an epic battle for the CHI at the majestic temple with this 1,258 piece set. Kids can create different tribes with the 7 included figures and their weapons, as they fight to reach the CHI orb, or embrace the challenge to restore peace to Chima in a battle at The Lion CHI Temple. No batteries required. Ages 8 years and up.

MEGA® Bloks Call of Duty® Heavy Armor Outpost from MEGA® Brands
Kids will love recreating scenes from the wildly popular video game series with this 685-piece set. The main battle tank measures 12” (L) x 5” (W) x 4” (H) and comes with a large, rotating turret and tracks that really spin. This direct-fire, heavy-armored vehicle is nearly unstoppable during play combat. The buildable, improvised outpost and the camouflage mesh canopy can attach to the heavy tank to offer troops protection from hostile targets or weather conditions. The included Captain John Price and his team of 2 special ops troopers are highly detailed with extreme pose ability, and come with authentic interchangeable accessories and weapons that allow for mission-specific customization. No batteries required. Ages 14 years and up.

Monster 500 Toxic Terror Trap Playset from Toys“R”Us®
Unleash the fiendish fury! Kids and kids at heart will enjoy the twisting, toxic, monster action this ghoulish, exclusive playset has to offer. With one included character, Evil Clownevil, daredevils can smash through the doors of the freaky factory and topple the toxic, terrorizing monster, while avoiding being gobbled by the mutant gator all at the same time. Then, cars can be placed on the elevator before the hazmat mutant brings each vehicle up again. For additional fun, playset includes one Monster 500 trading card, which can be used to unlock a creepy character in the Monster 500 app available on Android and iOS. 3 “AA” batteries required (not included). Ages 4 years and up. This item will become available in October.

Playstation®4 (PS4) from Sony®
This next generation computer entertainment system combines rich content, fan-favorite apps and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics, speed, intelligent personalization, social capabilities and innovative second-screen features. PS4 places the focus on gamers, enabling them to play when, where and how they want. The bundle includes the console, DUALSHOCK®4 wireless controller, HDMI cable, power cable, wired mono headset and USB charging cable. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up. This item will become available on November 15.

Shimmer N’ Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker from Cra-Z-Art®
The hottest craze to hit kids’ wrists this year, Cra-Z-Loom is the ultimate rubber band accessory maker with over 600 included mixed-color rubber bands. Children of all ages will enjoy designing colorful rubber band bracelets, rings, belts, pendants and more, including single, double or triple loop rubber band combinations. Ultimate fashionistas can use their imaginations and enjoy hours of totally trendy bracelet and accessory making fun. No batteries required. Ages 6 years and up.

Xbox™ One from Microsoft®
Introducing the all-in-one entertainment system. Where the best games and your favorite movies, music, sports and live TV come together in one place. Xbox One games look and feel incredibly real, with cinematic gameplay that rivals Hollywood. Watch TV or chat with friends on Skype while you play. With Xbox One, you can snap two things side-by-side on your TV, and switch from one to another instantly. Users can also watch movies and play games in HD with a Blu-ray playerAnd, with Xbox Live Gold membership (sold separately) users can access online multiplayer, Skype and additional features for the family. The starter kit includes console, Kinectsensor, wireless controller, HDMI cable and chat headset. Advanced TV hardware required. Games, add-ons and media content sold separately. No batteries required (console). 2 “AA” batteries required (wireless controller) (included). Ages 6 years and up. This item will become available November 22.

Y Fliker™ Carver Scooter from Yvolution
Kids are in for a smooth ride with this all-new, three-wheeled, all body-powered scooter featuring FLEX technology. Using the same motions as downhill skiing, riders only need to move their hips and legs from side to side to get going and keep moving. Thanks to the patented FLEX technology, kids can perform cool carving actions and master even the tightest turns. To put mom’s mind at ease, padded handgrips and a quick-response hand brake ensure every ride is a safe ride. No Batteries Required. Ages 5 years and up (C1 Model). Ages 7 years and up (C3 Model).

Zoomer from Spin Master
The perfect, playful family pet, this robotic dog will quickly steal kids’ hearts. Just like a real dog, children will be responsible for teaching him everything a puppy needs to know – and sometimes forgets. With life-like expressions and voice activated commands, this dog can learn dozens of tricks including laying, rolling, sitting and more. He even follows kids’ movements with his cute puppy eyes. Families can download the free iOS or Android app to learn everything there is to know about training this silly, interactive dog. No batteries required. Ages 5 years and up.

Big Kids
Crazy Cart
 
from Razor
Kids will love this ultimate drifting machine, which will allow them to drive, spin or drift like a pro. With the unique ability to drive forward, reverse, sideways, diagonally and spin in place, riders can cruise around like a go cart or lift the Drift Bar to kick it into Crazy Cart mode. Crazy drifts. Crazy spins. Crazy FUN! 2 “12V” battery system (included). Ages 9 years and up (up to 140 pounds).

**For those of you with children who have Special Needs make sure to check out the Toys”R”Us toy guide for differently-abled kids. You can find that here. Big thanks to Toys”R”Us for creating the awesome guide!**