Classic Christmas Toys Available Today

Toyland Tuesday

Classic Christmas Toys Available Today

Oh, sure, you can go into mounds of debt to pay for the holiday extravaganza of buying the latest electronic gizmos only to see them strewn about the house while the kids are yelling about how bored they are.  Isn’t that a fun family tradition?  Well, once upon a time children had imaginations and toys that helped to fire that creativity. Here are some great suggestions to return to those simpler days.

Board games are classic crowd pleasers. Favorites include MonopolyMonopoly, Hi Ho Cherry-OHi Ho Cherry-O, LifeLife, Trivial PursuitTrivial Pursuit, ChessChess or CheckersCheckers. There are also great card games like Old Maid, Go Fish, Crazy 8’s, Matching, Slap Jack, MemoryOld Maid, Go Fish, Crazy 8's, Matching, Slap Jack, Memory or UnoUno.

Puzzles are great for developing minds and hand-eye coordination.  You can find puzzles that are made from many different materials: wood, cardboard, or plastic. They can also be flat, round, square or 3 dimensional. My son really enjoys the Perplexus maze ball.

Train sets are a real treat for the whole family.  They come in all sizes and for any age group. You can find a set to fit any budget.

Wooden toys are great because they are kid powered by muscle and imagination.  In the same vein, imagination driven toys also fall into the categories of dress up, play kitchens and playhouses, puppets, and books.

Get $10 Off Orders of $50+ at Magic Cabin when you use Code: LSMCTENOFF

Get $10 Off Orders of $50+ at Magic Cabin when you use Code: LSMCTENOFF

If you have older kids, crafts are always a big hit. There are some wonderful craft clubs where your gift will be appreciated all year. You can also make up your own kits by looking through craft magazines or books, copying down the instructions, making a list of the materials needed and then go shopping for what you need. Make up 12 crafts and then put each one in its own separate box. Wrap each box and put the name of a month on each box. Put all the boxes in one huge wrapped box and Tada! A perfect Christmas gift that will last all year.

Here’s a list of places to find Safe Toys for your family’s needs:

Magic Cabin, Childhood’s Purest Treasures
This is a wonderland of classic toys and activities that will fire your child’s imagination.  You can save $10 off orders of $50 or more when you use code: LSMCTENOFF

Babesta, for trendsetting tots
You will find all kinds of gift ideas besides toys here.  You can also find clothes, accessories, crib decorations, books, CDs, DVDs and gift sets.

e-Beanstalk, Expert-Selected Toys Matched to a Child’s Development
They have developmental toys categorized by age. These educational and learning toys are hand picked by child development experts following both American and European safety standards.

Heirloom Wooden Toys
You can find toys here that are top quality and safe for kids. They also have games, furniture and kids decor. You can also search specifically for toys made here in the USA.

I also wanted to give you some tips for buying toys on a budget:

Explore auction sites like eBay for great buys (used and new). You can check out the Daily Deals for gift ideas for the whole family.

You can also search on Google using the key words “wholesale toys“, or “closeout toys” or “discount toys“. You will find a variety of companies that do not require a minimum order.

Another way to save on Christmas shopping is to hit the stores right after the holidays to take advantage of clearance sales.  Doing this will make it easier for the following Christmas, but if it’s later in the year you may wish to check the outlets and thrift stores for savings on your gifts.

Random Acts of Christmas

Merry Monday

Random Acts of Christmas

It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercial side of Christmas that we forget that it’s all about giving and togetherness. It is best to instill good morals in children while they are still young and to teach them the practice of giving back to others. It’s a great way to keep Christmas in your heart any time of the year.

Explain to your children that there are so many people out there who don’t have a warm house to sleep in or presents under the tree.  Some don’t have family members with whom to share their holiday or even health to carry them to next Christmas.

You aren’t trying to depress your children with this message, but you need to remind them that there are always those worse off than us.  After you have discussed this as a family, tell them that you can and will help those in your community who aren’t as lucky as you are.

Teaching children the meaning of Christmas


Encourage them to list ways they can bring cheer to those that sorely need it. This list can involve anything from donating old toys to thrift stores, volunteering at your local soup kitchen or holding a canned goods drive for a food pantry.

When every family member has written their list, decide on those that you can do as a family every day. It can seem daunting because it seems so time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.  I think we could all agree that helping others, as well as teaching our children to do the same, is far more valuable than the time it takes to do so.

Bring baked or canned goods to your local homeless shelter. Take your children caroling at your local nursing home or to elderly shut ins at their homes. Help a single parent in your neighborhood by cleaning their home, hanging lights or babysitting the children. Just get out in your community as a family and make it better in some way, whether big or small.

We only have our children for a short time. They will soon have children and homes of their own.  This way, you can pass on a tradition that reaches beyond the four walls of your home and embraces your community in a warm, holiday hug! I guarantee you will not regret it!


Fried Chicken for Sunday Dinner

Sweet & Savory Sunday

Fried Chicken for Sunday Dinner

Fried Chicken for Sunday Dinner

So, I promised recipes way back when the site began and it’s about time I gave you some.  We’re going to start with a delicious fried chicken recipe that is great for any day of the week.  That being said, there’s something really special about Sunday Dinner.  Sitting down around the table with the whole family to have a nutritious meal is a special treat and a time to enjoy the company of your whole family.

1 whole chicken or any combo of chicken pieces
1 to 2 cup of flour for coating
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. shortening
2 beaten eggs
2 cups of milk
2 tbsp. parsley

1) Wash and dry chicken partsNutrition Facts on Fried Chicken for Sunday Dinner

2) Combine salt, pepper, and flour and coat chicken

3) Dip each piece in egg mixture and brown each side in hot, melted shortening and butter

4) Lower heat and cook for about 15 minutes more on each side

Note: Use heavy iron or aluminum frypan if possible

5) Remove from pan and drain on paper towels

6) Pour all but 3 tablespoons of fat from pan and return to heat

7) Add 3 tablespoons flour to pan and stir with fat until lightly browned

8) Add 2 cups of milk and some parsley or parsley flakes and cook on medium heat until thick

9) Put in gravy boat and serve with the chicken that you have arranged on a platter

So, there you go.  You’ve got a marvelous fried chicken dinner that you can serve with your favorite sides.  Bon appetit!

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