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Our Toy-riffic Cyber Week Wish List Shopping Spree!

This post brought to you by Toys“R“Us. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Kimberly Michelle.

Now that the biggest shopping days of the season are here, it’s time to act on those Wish Lists and bring home the presents for the holidays! Find deals online at Toys”R”Us this Cyber Week!

This year, we decided to take Miss L on a shopping trip to Toys”R”Us to help her fill out her personal Wish List so that everyone in the family could jump in during Cyber Week and grab all of the toys on her list! 

Now that she’s 6, she’s more aware than ever of what toys and goodies are out there, so we wanted to make sure that WE knew exactly what she wanted this year instead of just guessing. I mean, that’s what we do as adults, right? 

We headed into Toys”R”Us one rainy weekend day in November and let her loose to see just what she gravitated to throughout the shopping trip. 

The first thing that caught her eye: the new American Girl collection at Toys”R”Us! Miss L has lots of friends that have their own American Girl dolls, but never realized exactly what they were or where they came from. She instantly gravitated to the display with all of the “Truly Me” dolls and started looking for her favorite doll. After a few minutes of serious contemplation, she asked to add doll “53” to her Wish List, and then started checking out all of the clothes and accessories as well. And then we added some more of those items to her Wish List too. 

We made our way up and down all the aisles of our local Toys”R”Us… 

… stopping to play a little bit along the way as well! (These Marvel Superhero stations light up when you pass through them!)

The next toy to catch her eye was a Little Live Pets “My Dream Puppy” toy. Maybe it was the furry puppy, or the fact that it wiggled its nose when when you touched it, but she asked to add it to her list right away. This was one of those toys that was overlooked in the Big Book, but in real life she gravitated straight toward it at the end of the aisle! Guess it was a good thing to check everything out in real life! 

We turned a corner and found all of the new Rogue One Star Wars toys and Miss L couldn’t be more excited! I mean, the movie hasn’t even come into theaters and she already wants all of the toys to go along with it!

And finally… we found all of the Super Hero Girls dolls! Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Batgirl… oh my! Miss L had seen these dolls in advertising before, but never in person, and once again she was enthralled. She wanted a Wonder Woman shield, a Super Girl cape, and all of the fun dolls to play along with her in a superhero world! 

With that, Miss L’s Toys”R”Us Wish List came to a close and we left the store without buying anything that day. But we have everything on her list to jump in and buy online this Cyber Week!

So go ahead and be like us! Get your child to make their Big Book or in-person Wish List and then Shop Now at Toys”R”Us to take care of all of your toy needs! 

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say hello to Furby Connect!

This post was sponsored by Furby Connect as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

We’ve got a furry new friend in our house. He’s pink, cuddly, and he speaks a strange language known as Furbish.

Say hello to Furby Connect!

Miss L got to open her surprise this weekend, and she hasn’t let Furby Connect out of her sight since! He was ready to play straight out of the box (once his batteries were added of course) and they’ve been playing together non-stop.

We grabbed the small instruction sheet from the box and took its advice on how to interact with Furby Connect. The first thing we did was give Furby Connect a good tickle to get him to laugh, because who doesn’t love a toy that giggles when it’s tickled! Miss L kept petting him (“He’s soooooo soft!”) and we went to grab her Kindle Fire to open up the Furby Connect World app.

Once he was connected to the app, it took a few minutes to update him with all of the latest content. At the time, I thought it was just like a software update to fix issues, but it’s actually so much more. Furby Connect gets downloads to allow him to sing along to the hottest new songs and know new facts as the world changes around him. When his little antennae glows, you know that there’s a new update for him to download via Bluetooth!

The app itself is also full of games that let Miss L interact with Furby Connect. The app lets you feed and groom Furby Connect, and earn points that hatch eggs that release little baby Furblings. You can even go to the theater and watch silly new videos with your friend. Miss L had the app and the toy to herself for just one day and figured out how to do everything on her own and was teaching me how to use all of the features by that evening.

So what was Miss L’s favorite part of the app? It’s when Furby Connect requests to relieve himself… on the giant toilet app.  You literally hold Furby Connect above the device, squeeze him a little, and… well… you know. I’ve never heard my child have a giggle fit quite like that… and she’s told every single friend/relative/person at the market that she’s run into in the past week about this exact feature and how awesome it is.

Check out our Facebook LIVE the other day where we shared all the fun of our Furby Connect with my Facebook page followers.

[Be sure to follow Furby Connect’s Facebook page as well!]

Now, if you’ve owned other Furby toys in the past, you may know that they were a little hard to go to sleep. And that they’d wake up on their own, or just start talking to themselves when no one else was around. This comes to my favorite feature of the new Furby Connect….

… the sleep mask! Just click on the sleep mask and your Furby Connect will instantly lull itself to sleep. Then remove the mask and wake him up to play. It’s just that simple.

I think Furby Connect would make a great toy for your child this holiday season, as it does a great job of marrying tech toys with app-based fun. It’s perfect for Miss L to play with all on her own at 6.5 years old, and I love the fact that updates will carry on the fun beyond what Furby Connect can do today.  I’d grab one on Black Friday to make sure you can throw it under the tree!

geeky

2016 Holiday Family Matching Pajamas

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‘Tis the season to stock up on this year’s matching holiday pajamas for your family!  This year there are TONS of options for you from the bargains at Target to the luxe designs at Hanna Andersson!

As always… it’s best to shop early for the best selection in all the sizes you need! I’ll be sure to share any sales that pop up so that you can outfit the whole family for the best price on Christmas morning!

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Hanukkah Family Matching Pajamas ($12.99 – $24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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#HollaDays Family Matching Pajamas ($12.99 – $24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Nutcracker Family Matching Pajamas ($12.99-$24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Striped Family Union Suit Matching Pajamas ($12.99-$24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Bear Family Matching Pajamas ($12.99-$24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Elf Family Matching Pajamas  ($12.99-$24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Santa Family Matching Pajamas  ($12.99-$24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Rudolph Family Matching Pajamas  ($14.99-$24.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Organic Cotton Plaid Matching Family Pajamas ($16.95-$34.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Organic Cotton Striped Family Matching Pajamas ($16.95-$34.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Organic Cotton Fair Isle Matching Family Pajamas ($16.95-$34.99): Baby, Toddler, Kid, Mom, Dad

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Dear Deer Matching Family Pajamas ($38-44)

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Red Striped Pajamas with Green ($36-48)

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Star Wars Fair Isle Matching Family Pajamas ($40-46)

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Mickey Mouse Matching Family Pajamas ($40-46)

family, geeky

how to save for college: years down the road with our 529 plan

[Updated for OCTOBER 2017]

Now that it’s been SEVEN years since started Miss L‘s college savings fund, I thought I’d provide another update on the progress of her 529 Plan! [I’ve previously posted a 4-year update as well as when we started the fund.]

Just as a quick review, we decided to invest our money in the Utah Educational Savings Plan based on the information and availability of plans back in 2010. It had great ratings from Bankrate’s Savingforcollege.com (comparison of all state plans), and stuck out as the best option for us. [It’s worth noting that California now has a 5-star plan of its own, Scholarshare, which actually gets slightly better ratings than Utah.]

Now, what does 7 years of consistent investing actually look like?

Currently, Miss L’s funds are valued at 152% of our net principal contribution. As you can see, we’ve invested the same amount every year (we have an automatic monthly withdrawal from our checking account), but thanks to favorable market conditions, Miss L’s money is growing pretty nicely. This February, we chose to increase the monthly contribution by 10% and will hope to do that on an annual basis going forward.

Here’s the annual breakdown:

  • 2010 = 105% of principal contributions
  • 2011 = 90% of principal contributions
  • 2012 = 112% of principal contributions
  • 2013 = 129% of principal contributions
  • 2014 = 136% of principal contributions
  • 2015 = 124% of principal contributions
  • 2016 = 135% of principal contributions
  • 2017 = 152% of principal contributions

As for administrative costs, we’ve currently paid a total of 0.75% of our principal contributions over 7 years.

It’s really nice to know that we’ve started this school fund and have it growing for whenever it’s needed. And it truly is “out of sight out of mind” until those quarterly statements show up! If we got a tax break for doing it, we’d be even happier, but so far all efforts on that front have failed.

Will we hit the target expenses?

Well, right now, a college that is currently $30,000/year is expected to cost $222,148 for four years by the time Miss L starts her freshman year! Ouch! So every little bit now counts!

Some people have asked about how this helps/hurts for financial aid when a student goes to school. If a parent owns the fund, then up to 5.6% of the fund’s value can be counted toward FAFSA inclusion. Those are the rules now… who knows what they’ll be in 12 years!

So here we are…7 years down and only 11 more to go! Ooooh boy! If those first seven years are any indication, then they are going to just FLY by!

Anyone else have any thoughts on a 529 plan or college savings?

Here are a few handy links if you’re looking to invest in a 529 plan:

geeky

a star wars gift for every type of star wars fan

While some families are counting down the days until Christmas, my family is happily counting down our early Christmas present: the next Star Wars movie! And if you’ve got someone in your family who is doing the same, chances are they’d be more than happy to receive anything Star Wars-y this holiday season. But, as you may know, Star Wars fans definitely come in all ages/shapes/sizes… so one gift definitely may not fit all. Here are some unique gifts to give every type of Star Wars fan:

For the fashionista who loves a side of Star Wars to carry their designer goods:

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Bloomingdale’s Star Wars Rey Tote & BB8 Tote

For the Star Wars fan who crushes on R2D2 and robots of all sorts:

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Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

For the crafty Star Wars fan:

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Star Wars Crochet

For a family of Star Wars fans who like to liven things up at night:

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Nerf Chewbacca BowcasterNerf First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster & Lightsabers oh my!

For the Star Wars fan that loves Calvin and Hobbes or Winnie the Pooh:

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Snow Wars sweatshirt & Wookie the Chew t-shirt

For the most active little Star Wars fans in your house:

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UNICEF Kid Power Band

For the ultimate Star Wars gamer:

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Darth Vader PlayStation® 4 Limited Edition Star Wars™ Battlefront™ 500GB Bundle

For the Star Wars fan who loves all things cute at Christmas:

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Hallmark Star Wars Christmas Itty Bittys

For the Star Wars fans who love to bake:

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Williams-Sonoma Star Wars Cookie Cutters

For the shoe-loving Star Wars fan:

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C3PO loafers

For the Star Wars fan/kid at heart that never got that giant LEGO set they wanted:

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LEGO Millennium Falcon

For the Star Wars fangirl who loves gold:

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Death Star gold ring & Tie Fighter gold necklace

For the Star Wars fan that just wants to cuddle with a wookie tonight:

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Chewbacca Build-A-Bear (and you can give him Chewbacca sounds!)