I'm not "on the ball" this year, I'm just kind of munching a cookie and trying to ignore the mess in my family room. So on that note, I'm not going to break down stockings vs. regular gifts, but I will share the super cool stuff I discovered this year in case any of ya'll need a last-minute gift.
Affordable (especially if you have a RedCard), beautiful play tent with lights included! Time will tell if it's sturdy enough for the Nugget, but B. Toys has never disappointed me in durability before. I'm hoping he'll use it as a peaceful retreat in his room with his iPod and beanbag chair. If he doesn't, maybe I will.
Adorable whistles by Plan Toys that make a squeaky sound. Spork and Tater got these from St. Nick, and the Nugget is jonesing for his own. They say 3+, but I've supervised both tots carefully and they do not seem to pose a choking hazard, as they are pretty large.
Tater received a Plui rain ball, and it is really fun and cute in the tub. Use your finger to plug the top hole, and you can "control the rain"! Our Barnes and Noble carries them in the toy section, so if you need a nice yet inexpensive gift, use one of their emailed coupons to snag one.
Spork is on a horn/whistle kick thanks to his OT, so I'll also recommend the Ambi trumpet with the caveat than while one of the sounds it makes is pleasant, the other sounds like a ticked off duck with a megaphone. But otherwise, extremely sturdy, well-made, easy to clean, and the price is right.
I've discovered Tater's hair styling kryptonite - Curious Buddies. Adorable puppets, live-action babies, and catchy songs. It's not on Netflix, and the dvds are dirt cheap.
Backyard Safari makes a line of sturdy toys and tools for budding scientists. The Nugget loves his Field Compass he received from Grandma and Papa for his birthday and the Birdwatcher Set from my cousin K and family, so I pointed relatives that direction again for him this Christmas. While I'd still keep these for the older kids, his sibs have borrowed the binoculars and have not managed to break them yet.
After a long hunt for a well-made doll bed, I had to share it with you. Nova Natural always impresses me with their quality. While it seems spendy, there are many flimsier wood doll beds at similar prices. With this one, I won't worry so much if Spork sits in it or if the Nugget rams it with a Tonka truck. The stroller we got here last year is still going strong and looks brand new despite the fact that all 3 use it both as a battering ram and as a vehicle for drag racing.