Category Archives: That’s Three

What girls want for Christmas

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Maybe your kids don’t show you their Christmas List for Santa.  Maybe your kids are too overwhelmed to tell Santa what they’d like. If your kids are like mine, you might have to hit half a dozen Santas. Well, I’ve done that for you! (The real one is at Market Square.)

Girls really want Shopkins, Dragons, Kendamas, and Bunchems. So what are all these fad toys? And what are this mom’s picks?

Christmas picks

Watch my children’s wish list video and then read more below.

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What are Shopkins? Shopkins are tiny bits of plastic about the size of the top joint
of your middle finger. They look like grocery store items with a happy face painted on them. Kids collect and trade these plastic pieces of garbage (some are actually little garbage cans, so that comment isn’t just a comparison). The sparkly ones are worth more, so if you happen across a package of sparkly ones, your kids will love you that much more. Elementary school-aged kids love them. Parents hate them. At least I hate them. If you don’t hate them, wait until you step on a few.

Cost: Buy more for a lower price and you’ll pay about a $1 per Shopkin.

dragonFurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon

I panicked a little but when my daughter asked Santa for a fire breathing dragon that cooks marshmallows. Another mother let me know that it was “just a toy that costs over one hundred dollars.”

I chuckled at the kids’ lists, until Santa looked at me and said, “Santa delivers!” Maybe Santa should deliver, because over a hundred bucks is insanity! That was on a Friday night. The next morning, the toy dropped to less than half price at all the local stores, so I guess Santa did deliver.

What is this fire-breathing dragon? The FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon is a cute toy that you fill with water and he sprays an orangey mist to look like flames. He also burps, which kids adore. Kids can also pet his nose for a cute response. He comes with a marshmallow on a stick that changes color from the dragon’s “flames” to look like it is torched. It’s definitely a gimmick, but FurReal Friends are still better than Hatchimals. I certainly wouldn’t pay full price for one.

Cost: These are up to $120. Look for the half price sales, which likely will remain until the current batch is sold.

Kendama

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Kendama < $20

Kendamas are the toys every schoolboy and girl wants this year. They are built to last, require no batteries, and provide long-term appeal, so both you and your kids will be happy.

What is a Kendama? A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball. Kendama is a well-constructed toy and actually holds kids’ attention long term, unlike most of the battery driven toys. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

Cost: This classic costs less than $20.

bunchemsBunchems

These are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs that stick together to make whatever you can imagine.

What are burdock burrs? If you ever had a round spikey thing from a small bush stuck to your clothing, in your hair, or on your pet, you know what they are. The are so sticky and annoying that they inspired the invention of velcro.   Read more on wikipedia. So they serve their purpose, but can you imagine intentionally bringing these into your home?

Cost: Who cares what they cost. They are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs.

Mom’s picks

My standard Christmas shopping list is: Dress, PJs, Doll, Book, and Art supplies. The dresses arrive before the Christmas concerts. The PJs before all the Christmas parties. So that just leaves the Doll, Book, and Art supplies for Christmas morning.

I always start my shopping at L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square. Read more…

Gifts for Parents

And what about a gifts for parents? Everyone I talk to would love:

  • Furniture, especially shelves—Getting rid of furniture? Single, divorced, or new parents really need it! Offer it to them first, even if you are selling it. It’s hard to find affordable quality furniture. We’ll pay!
  • Free babysitting—This costs you nothing, but a few hours of your time.
  • Hats and mittens—This is actually for the kids, but really helps parents. Decent hats and mittens are pricey and kids always lose the last set long after they are out of stock in stores.
  • Anything else—Ask. It’s okay for Christmas gifts to not be a surprise.
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Christmas Shopping Uptown at L’il Shop of Science

I love Christmas shopping. I really do! I know that running around looking for gifts can be a nightmare, so I choose the easiest way to shop. I shop in uptown Saint John, which makes life a lot easier for me as a parent. Because I work uptown, I can also shop during lunch or on the way home from work. What could be easier?

My favorite store in Uptown Saint John

I love to Christmas shop in uptown Saint John. And my favorite place to shop has to be L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square! Carla Salazar greets everyone with a smile and provides the latest interactive educational toys for kids of all ages. She makes sure the store is well stocked with the standard goodies: Rockets, Telescopes, Chemistry and Physics sets, Rock Tumblers, Anatomy sets, puzzles, and games. She also brings in heaps of specialty items: Turbospoke bicycle exhaust systems, SmartPhone Science, and  Puzzle Lights kits, to name a few.

I took my kids shopping at L’il Shop of Science during Uptown Sparkles and aside from Goo, they were most interested in the following : That’s Gross Science Lab, Spa Day, and Kendama.

MUST HAVE TOY!

Kendama
Kendamas in every stocking this year!

Kendamas are all the rage right now and my girls begged me to buy them that very night. I insisted we wait to see what Santa would bring. A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball.

Personally, I was excited to see the pogo sticks. Yes, that’s a hint. There are only so many years I’ll be able to hop on one! Hopefully, Santa will remember me this Christmas!

My shopping excursion at L’il Shop of Science

I asked Carla Salazar if I could vlog while Christmas shopping at L’il Shop of Science to help other parents decide what to buy. She was nice enough to agree! So enjoy, like, comment, and share! Support businesses in uptown Saint John. Brunswick Square has so many wonderful businesses. Let me know what your favorite stores are and what you’ve bought for your kids this year.

Why I started a YouTube channel

How was my YouTube interest sparked?

My smart, sweet, sassy niece Kate Audrey invited me to VidCon last year. Since she was a highschool graduate, I decided I had to go! How many more chances would I have to be her embarrassing aunt? I was pretty happy that her parents kicked in some air miles, because my original plan was to cash in some RRSPs and rely on Kate to care for me in my retirement. It’s always good to take a little pressure off of her. The topic of money is always tough for college kids. She’s pretty good with money and works on top of studying, so I am pretty sure that when I move in with her someday, she can handle it.

What is VidCon?

VidCon is a conference about creating online content put on by YouTube for Community, Creators, or Industry! I registered as a Creator for two reasons. 1) I make online content for a living, which includes creating online videos. 2) I registered so late that I couldn’t afford the late registration fees for Industry.

  • Community is for YouTube fans. Fangirls and fanboys that make up most of the demographic. They run after YouTube stars, outstretch their hands dramatically, and squeal. Many scream.
    From VidCon site: For people interested in online video, its creators, and its culture. Q&As, discussions, concerts, interviews, Expo Hall, parties, VidCon Prom, movie nights, meet-ups, and more.
  • Creators create videos.
    From VidCon site: Perfect for anyone looking to make better content, grow their channel, enter the industry, and meet fellow creators. Includes extra access to a ton of panels, networking, and workshops as well as all Community activities except the Meet & Greet Hall.
  • Industry is the next step.
    From VidCon site: For attendees working in the online video industry beyond content creation, including anyone who is part of a production company, network, channel, or who works in talent management, software development, venture investment, etc. This track allows access to all Industry, Creator and Community track content.

Was it Work or Fun?

When I told my manager I wanted time off to go to the conference, she told me it was training, not vacation. The best part of that was it meant I still had days left to use as vacation time after the conference. But it also meant that I had to do at least one presentation about how to improve our online videos at work (Spoiler: My presentation went well). 

My expectation for the conference was that it would be a lot of fun and I was not disappointed. I am someone who loves to learn and try new things. I got to meet and learn from a few stars including Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks. I loved talking politics and discussing the differences between the parties at the provincial (state) and federal level. People ask what he’s like and I reply, “As expected.” You already know what you think of him and that likely wouldn’t change in person. He’s authentic. As far as learning about online videos, I learned the most from the industry professionals. Between the sessions, there were meet and greets, cool hangout rooms, and entertainment. And, of course, I can’t forget to mention swag. There were a lot of freebies throughout the event.

New Friends

The best part is that I met some great people and expect we’ll remain friends for life (at least online). The Kate Audrey (YouTube) and I shared a room with YouTubers Get Messy and Frequently Falling. I hung out with another chaperone Kevin Williams, who was there with his daughter Awkward Amanda.

I couldn’t believe how much fun it was and want to go again in 2017. Now to figure out the money part…

Videos out of VidCon 2016

AJ Arseneau: Eat at In-N-Out restaurant for the first time

AJ Arseneau: Last Day in California

Our last day in California shopping in Downtown Disney, visiting Hollywood, and finally flying home. We missed our connection and flew standby, so we were sleepless.

AJ Arseneau: VidCon Tips

Useless fun.

The Kate Audrey: VidCon 2016

Kate’s video about our trip.


This is a Blog Site to accompany my YouTube channel, Instagram account, and Twitter account.