Archive for December, 2009

Last minute holiday shopping for toys

Holiday Gift Guide

What to buy this holiday season, and for whom 

Laurie Schacht’s last minute toy suggestions
December 21, 2009 | 10:11 am

Laurie Schacht, founder of, is known as the “Toy Insider Mom” and has been in the business for more than 20 years. Between her professional experience and having girls of her own at home, she knows the importance of getting that one special toy on your child’s wish list.

For procrastinator parents and caregivers, or for those who just haven’t had any luck finding hot toys and games on store shelves, Laurie offers the following last-minute online toy-shopping tips.

One toy does not fit all. First, remember that that one child’s “hot” toy is not everyone’s favorite. Know the children you are shopping for and what will make them happy. While we all know how easy it is to get caught up in the hype of a new hot seller, if your child never wanted a hamster and hasn’t asked for a Zhu Zhu Pet by name, then that’s one hot toy that you might not want to add to your list.

Looking for cheaper alternatives? Knowing which brands your child likes will go a long way, as toy companies have made multiple items in product lines to fit every budget this year. Some of Hasbro’s latest games (from new Clue board games and more) are a great example: They offer a variety of similar items at prices ranging from $10 to $30.

Was the hot item you’re looking for sold out? Many sites have suggestion pages that list similar items in product categories. is an example of a site that that lists toys by categories that are easy to quickly search through and find an alternative. So, for example, if you couldn’t find that one special LIV Doll on your little girl’s list, you can find other similar “fashion” dolls to suit her fancy.

However, you should only search for a similar toy if it is in a category that is meaningful to the child and then stay within that category. So whether it’s dolls or action figures, you’ll find a great alternative that will make them happy.   


Still stumped on the best gift? Go with a classic game. Games are always a great gift, offering great play value at an affordable price. They can also be the gift that keeps on giving, since a different experience occurs each time they is played.

Finally, check retailers shipping deadlines. Many retailers have their last-minute shipping dates listed clearly on their site. There are also websites (such as Coupon Sherpa) that list all of the major retailers’ shipping deadlines, making the last-minute rush for orders a bit easier to understand.
This year, and every holiday, remember that it’s the thought that counts. But if that gift doesn’t get the desired reaction from the little one on your list, don’t be harried when looking for new options. Just remember that almost all retailers have great return policies for items you bought online. Happy holidays!

— Sarah Ardalani

Photo credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press


December 21, 2009 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

Sold Out Toys……

So many sold out toys….what will you do?

First….take a second and remember, it may feel like the most important thing in the world, but it’s a toy!  And there are great ways to make your kids happy if the one they wanted isn’t exactly what they get!

So..the toy is on your child’s wish list and they have been begging for it, in fact they HAVE TO HAVE IT!  (my oldest used to tell me she NEEDs it, lol! ) But because you didn’t purchase this a month ago, it’s now sold out.  What’s a mom (or giftgiver) to do?

First…go to  You’ll find toys with lots of retailers links so that you can check a variety of retailers so see if they might have that item.  Most of the time the retailer will also tell you when and if they are expecting a shipment.   Consider calling customer service as well…they will give you a heads up as to whether a not a shipment is expected.

If you have a local specialty store, and they know you, ask them to call you when they get the toy in.  Chances are, they will.

At  you can also search for toys by category.  So, if the Liv doll they are begging for is sold out…and you don’t want to wait till January, look through the doll section and see if there’s another that your child might also love.  Same goes for activity sets, action figures…you get the picture.

Remember that that one child’s “hot” toy is not everyone’s favorite. Know the child you are shopping for and what will make your child happy. While we all know how easy it is to get caught up in the hype of a new hot seller, if your child never wanted a hamster and hasn’t asked for a Zhu Zhu Pet by name, then that’s one hot toy that you might not want to add to your list.  I used to be the first in line for Beenie Baby’s…and my kids never asked for them…it was all me (crazy).  We’ve given them all away…hundreds of them.  Make sure it’s what your child wants.

Games are always a great gift, especially when you’re not sure what to get.  They offer great play value at an affordable price. Games typically bring not just friends..but family together, and is a toy that is often brought out.  For every age, you’ll find games that will work for everyone.

Need more ideas for toys?  Go to  This holiday guide will break down the best of the season for everyone.  While not a site to purchase toys, expert recommended items for everyone, broken down by age, might just be the answer when you’re stumped.

 Remember the best part about giving a gift to a child, is knowing that they will love the item and enjoy it (not throw it at the bottom on the toy chest).  Also remember that beyond the toys and gifts, this is a time to be with friends and family and reflect on all you have, especially if it’s health and happiness.    Happy Holidays!

December 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Excited Mom….(still the toy insider mom)

Yeah…my oldest is coming home from college for a month..and arrives tomorrow (among the snowstorm, so yes, I’m already worried about her driving).

And we’re all going to Costa Rica to swing through the treetops with the monkeys, jetski with the dophins, and catch (and release) those beautiful Sailfish.

 And, had the best twitter party (with the help of Complicated Moma) where we gave away amazing toys. We had two grand was (of course) a full Zhu Zhu pet collection (won by Sarah of Md) , and the other Discovery’s Wonderwall (fabulous if you haven’t seen this yet) won by Debra of Mi.. We gave away the full set of Liv Dolls..all four girls to Kristina of Ar., Battle Strikers Turbo tops (with extra tops) to Christine of Wi. and a full Ben 10 collection to Sara of Tx. (and this is just a sampling of what we gave away) Our party actually began at noon…with a preparty (love those). We gave away Air Hogs Zero Gavity Laser to Terry of Tn, Printies Design Studio to Kirby of Tn, and Style Six to Shelbie of Ca. Monica from NY won the Eye Clops Night Vision Goggles From noon till 9 at night…a winner each hour! Pary was planned from 9-10…but we kept going till 11.

Not only do I love the pre-party….but the after party is just as much fun. Look out for our next Twitter party…and remember to finish your holiday (and all your kid shopping) on

December 18, 2009 at 9:40 pm Leave a comment

Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Hottest Toys of the Season – 2009 Guide for Suffolk County, Long Island (NY Metro Parents Magazine)

Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Hottest Toys of the Season – 2009 Guide for Suffolk County, Long Island (NY Metro Parents Magazine).

December 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm 1 comment

#TheBigToyBook Twitter Party!:

 Alternative toys to this years hard to find items.December 14, 2009 by adminIn the greatest follow up to our “200th post” ever, I’m honored to announce that this Thursday, December 17th we will be working with the fine people of The Big Toy Book on their site launch by hosting a twitter party along with a day full of fun giveaways every hour on the hour beginning at 12 noon leading up to the big event at 9pm eastern! The Big Toy Book sound familiar? Well it should! For years, it has been kicking off your holiday season by arriving in the mail filled with the years hottest toys. Stepping it up a notch, moms and toy experts- Laurie Schacht and Reyne Rice have turned the book into an online resource that allows you to easily search for those perfect kid gifts with 4 filters: Type, Brand, Age and Company. The other great feature of It allows you to comparison shop as well as leave feedback for other Moms.

So here is the scoop on the party… When: Thursday, December 17th 12pm- 10pm ! Giveaways begin every hour on the hour starting at 12 Noon, eastern time. Including the below:

Eye Clops Night Vision Goggles    Air Hogs Zero Gravity Laser     Printies Design Studio Girl Gourmet Candy Jewel Factory    MEGA Bloks Play ‘n Go Table    Star Wars Captain Rex Electronic Command Helmet       Vtech Kidizoom Plus       Bakugan Battle Brawlers 7-in-1 Maxus Dragonoid        Style Six Silk Screener

At 9pm join us for the official party where we will be talking about some great Alternative gifts for this years hard to find toys. How to participate? RSVP below in the comment area with your twitter handle and follow your party hostess‘ @complicatedmama @thebigtoybook & @ToyInsiderMom to look out giveaway questions using hashtag #thebigtoybook *My 2 cents: You may want to study up on the site ;)– there are going to be some great prize packs… including 2 grand prizes : HUGE Zhu Zhu pet prize pack and a Discovery Wonderwall Entertainment Projector. You must RSVP and follow all 3 hostess’ to qualify to win

December 15, 2009 at 8:34 pm Leave a comment

Sesame Street Launches E-Books

Sesame Street Launches E-Books

Sesame Street E-bookSesame Workshop has launched its first eBook collection in which Impelsys will be the exclusive licensee/seller of the television show’s ebook content at A selection of Sesame Street eBooks is now available to read online for free, with new titles to be added in January. The online reads will be available in three formats: eBooks, audio eBooks, and interactive eBooks in which readers can look and listen to stories, and engage in activities.
In spring 2010, Sesame Workshop and Impelsys will offer individual titles readers can purchase or an annual subscription that will allow readers to access more than 100 books. Visitors to the website will also be able to download a rotating selection of five free eBooks, one being featured on the website each week.

December 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment

The Big Toy Book Take advantage of an innovative Web site to finish your holiday shopping –

December 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

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