Keeping kids entertained in the backseat of the car is a challenge. When my sister and I were little, my mom used to speed up on a particularly bumpy stretch of the Hutchinson River Parkway so that her VW Beetle would bounce, and our heads would hit the roof of the car. Back then, it was a riot. Today, it would probably result in a call to Child Protective Services. I don't have kids, but if I did, I would definitely get Tales2Go. For $24.95/year, you can stream great audio stories that will make your kids think, laugh, giggle and ask questions. Browse and select stories by age, story type, length, publisher, and user ratings, and you can bookmark your favorites. I highly recommend it -- especially for those of you who might end up seated near me in an airplane. Read more about it at Tales2Go.com.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it's time to start thinking about the dreaded holiday travel. Crowded airports, long security lines and winter weather delays all conspire to make the best laid plans go awry. It's hard enough for experienced savvy fliers like me, but even harder for families with young kids in tow. I really do feel for you, despite the occasional impatient sigh that might escape my lips as you hold up the TSA line in front of me. I just remind myself that as trying it is for me, it's worse for you. Well, here's one way to make it easier. Trunki is lightweight, wheeled luggage for little people that helps keep them entertained, comfortable and mobile in transit, because they can sit on it, ride on it -- self-propelled with their feet, or get pulled on a tether. Affordable ($40-48) and colorful, Trunki comes in a basic and upgraded "Towgo"
model, which features locking catches, teddy bear seatbelts (that's internal straps for grown ups), and a convenient carry handle. Buy it in the US with free shipping from Amazon.com.
If someone on your holiday gift list is slated for a radio controlled flying toy, save big
bucks (up to 70%) by ordering it today from ThinkGeek.com!
From the Dueling Galactic Marines Copter Set, to the Micro Hovering UFO -- about the size of a silver dollar (or a casino chip, for those of you who've never seen one of those), these toys (including both of these mentioned) start at $14.99. But hurry! At these prices, these toys will be gone long before we start counting down the shopping days 'til Christmas.
I have no idea what mailing made me a target customer fo my twinn, or quite what to make of it. My twinn lets you customize the skin tone, eye color, hair color and texture -- even freckles, birthmarks and moles -- to create a twin doll that looks a lot like the girl (or boy!) who's getting it. Then they sell matching child/doll outfits. It seemed a little eerie to me -- until I got to the page where they sell doll crutches, casts, wheelchairs and hearing aids. I know how hard it can be for kids who are different, and if having a doll who shares those difference - like a big mole and a hearing aid for example -- eases that burden, well then I'm all for it. Order online at mytwinn.com by November 17th for Christmas delivery and a $20 discount.
If you're looking to score the perfect kid's gift this season, look no further than Snap Circuits. These electronic projects kits are fun, entertaining, educational and safe. Just follow the
colorful pictures in the manual to build exciting projects such as AM
radios, burglar alarms, doorbells and many more. No tools or soldering required -- all parts are mounted on plastic
modules and snap together with ease. Kids will enjoy hours of educational fun
while learning about electronics, and you'll enjoy hours of peace and quiet with the TV off! The kits are priced from about $15 to $85 at Amazon.com.
Here's the thing about insect repellents. Pretty much everyone agrees products containing high concentrations of DEET work better than anything else. But DEET comes with health risks, especially for children, and can damage fabrics. DEET-free insect repellents seem to have varying efficacy, depending not only on the circumstances, but also on your own personal body chemistry. Two people using the same product can experience very different efficacy. Which may explain why thousands of people swear that Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil is the only thing that works for them, despite it never being proved to work as such. As an Avon Representative, the only thing I'm allowed to tell you about Skin-So-Soft is that it's America's #1 Selling Bath Oil. Why, you might ask, would a bath oil come in a spray bottle? I can't tell you. What I can tell you is that Avon has been at the forefront of marketing non-DEET repellent products in the U.S., including two that seem to work really well (for me). Both contain active ingredients that have been tested and used extensively in Europe and around the world. Picaridin is recommended by the CDC and by the World Health Organization. It also works (for me) against the biting flies we get here on Fire Island where nothing else does -- including DEET. Avon's Bug Guard Plus Picaridin contains 10% picaridin. IR3535 works (for me) great against mosquitoes, and is safe enough to not be require children washing it off when they come indoors. It's found in Avon's Bug Guard Plus Expedition, which is also unscented, another plus. They also both contain vitamin E, and are on sale this week for 50% off at avon.com.
My friend Sara asked me for some insider travel information for Walt Disney World. Once upon a time when I was managing New Haven Travel/American Express, I had lots of specific recommendations, but now I have only two. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is filled with tips, advice, ratings and reviews for every aspect of a Disney trip, including tested, patented touring plans that allow you to beat the crowds and shorten your wait times. Buy it for $11.96 at amazon.com. Find additional information at their web home, touringplans.com.