Checking it Twice…

by | Dec 18, 2012 | Advent and Christmas, Christmas 2012, Favorite Toys | 100 comments

So, how is your Advent going?   It has been just a little busy around our home this past week!   😉

As I set out the O Antiphon House and Gifts late last night, and we begin to pray the O Antiphons this evening, I figured I had better take a look at my Christmas list and fill in any gaps while I still have time to place online orders!

I plan to keep the kids away from the computer this week, so I thought I’d finally share my list with you all (since so many of you have asked to see it) and ask for a little advice while I am at it…

Our children receive three gifts each on Christmas from their Dad and I, recalling the three gifts Christ was given, plus they wake up to discover their stockings filled as well.   Depending on the gifts, sometimes I combine multiple items into “one” gift package (i.e. clothing, shoes, etc, or various small toys).  You can see some examples in last year’s post about Christmas morning.   You can also find my 2009 list here:  Shh! Don’t tell them….

Even though we stick to “just” three gifts each (plus stockings, plus O Antiphon treats, plus St. Nicholas Day, plus  ðŸ˜‰ …)  with seven children it can add up quickly!    I have found that I have to be creative in order to purchase quality gifts for the children.   Some items were purchased on Black Friday sales, some were purchased on clearance, some were even ordered by the charter school (as “consumables” that tie into their history course – i.e. the craft kits for the girls).   The rest was purchased with gift certificates and the commissions resulting from all of your purchases from my Amazon and All About Reading affiliate links! I can’t tell you what an incredible blessing that has been this year…   Thank you all so very much!

So, now that I have clarified all of that, here is a peek at my list:  (Yes, I am going to make those of you who wanted to know do a little extra clicking, just in case! 🙂 Sorry about that!) *Also, while creating the links, I couldn’t believe how much some of the things have gone up since I purchased them… crazy!

Captain: This, This and This
Rascal:  This, This and This (We are saving this for his Feb. birthday!) 
Twinkle Toes: This, This, and These Kits (Saving the accessories for Easter Baskets!) 
Chiquita: This, This, and These Kits (which I’ve seen for 1/2 price at Michaels!) 
Snuggles: This, This, and These Wooden Toys (He can decorate the shield for Blue Knights!)
Rose: This, This, and a Handmade Gift (Which I still need to make!) 
Bud: This, This (only $20 at Costco), and ___?  (He is getting this after all – which is on sale for only $16.99 today, this, this, and some clothing for his birthday.)

Also, to keep the “mess” to a minimum on Christmas morning I try to get rid of as much packaging as possible when I am wrapping the gifts, and I also keep a big box close by on Christmas morning to fill with all the rest of the wrapping paper and trash.   I ran across a great idea to actually wrap the trash box and I think I might just have to do that this year!  I actually have almost all the gifts wrapped and ready for Christmas Eve.  We will be hosting a family get-together and then heading to Midnight Mass!

Now for a few questions of my own… I always like to include a book in each of the children’s stockings.  This year I was thinking it would be fun to do an audio book for each of them… I only have a couple and need some suggestions!   Here is what I have so far:

Captain:  Any Suggestions?  
Rascal:  Any Suggestions?  Perhaps The Hobbit?  Which is your favorite Audio version?
Twinkle Toes: Any Suggestions?  Maybe Little Women
Chiquita: Any Suggestions?  I’m leaning towards Little House on the Prairie
Snuggles: Blessed Miguel Pro – Codename: “Cocol” — Undercover for God (Brand New!!)
Rose: Cat Chat Vol. 5:  A Christmas to Remember
Bud:  One Night in Bethlehem (Board Book)

The girls have a lot of the American Girl Audio Books, and the boys never get tired of listening to The Chronicles of NarniaEnemy Brothers, The Winged Watchman, and the various audio books by Regina Martyrum Productions.    What are some of your family’s favorites?

I also still need to possibly purchase one more gift for Bud, along with some stocking stuffers.  Does anyone have some favorite suggestions for 1 year old boys, who have plenty of hand-me-downs from older siblings?  I’ve been considering one of these chairs, but not sure if it’s worth the expense… They have them at our Orthodontist office and my little ones all love them!  Thank you in advance for your help!  


  1. Anonymous

    Great list! Thank you for taking the time to share it, especially the link to the Little People Nativity that is on sale! What a steal! I really wanted to purchase one, but it was just way too expensive on Amazon. I didn't think to check TOYSRUS! I am off to order one for my own little one now!

    I'm curious to see what suggestions you are given from others, since I too need to find some more stocking stuffers. Thanks for all you do and share!

  2. Christine

    Thank you for sharing.

    Some of the audiobooks that my family has enjoyed can be found here. One of my daughters said, "Oh, tell her to get The Door in the Wall". It is good and was well liked by both my sons and my daughters. My older children liked the audiobook of "The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow". We all enjoy the specifically Catholic audiobooks.

    Over the years, my children have thoroughly enjoyed the Little People Nativity set. I'm sure that yours will too. sells various add-on sets that we have purchased on sale in November/early December several years running. This year, my youngest will be getting the "Lil' Shepherds".

    Schleich and Fontanini figures are standard stocking stuffers in our family and always well appreciated. Playmobil figures have also found there way into our stockings. The Schleich figures can also be found at Fred Meyer.

    It looks like we have some similar things under our Christmas trees this year.

    I pray that you and your family continue to have a blessed Advent.

  3. Jessica Gordon

    One of the things that I ordered for my little guy, though it's looking like it might not arrive in time, is the Lamaze Peek-a-Book Forest Book! My little ones have all loved the cloth books. I suppose I can save it for his Easter basket, unless it ends up back in stock soon! 🙂

  4. Jessica Gordon

    Great suggestions Christine!

    We have both The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (I think the only place I've still seen it for sale is at Rainbow Resource) and the Audible version of The Door in the Wall (which I need to remember to download to our itouch so we remember to listen to it… It has been awhile!!). Redwall is another that my boys have enjoyed via Audible… I miss our subscription!

    However, Swallows and Amazons is on Captain's reading list this year, so that might be a perfect pick for him!

    We don't have many of the Schleich figures other than the Nativity and a few animals and knights, but they do make great toys! I need to keep them in mind. Thank you! 🙂

  5. fadfd

    Little House in the Prairie is really good. The girls would enjoy it, I think.

    Swallows and Amazon, a favorite over here. From what the boys seem to enjoy; you may have lots of fun, and imaginative play from the book, coming your way ;0)

    Have a blessed Christmas!

  6. mel

    I bought audiobooks for my 2 nieces (1st and 4th grade) and nephew (11th grade) this year. The two girls are getting Little House in the Big Woods and Anne of Green Gables. Two big favorites of mine. 🙂

  7. mel

    Oh, and the nephew got Killer Angels, which is about the Civil War,…of course he is a lot older than your boys! 🙂 I'm not personally familiar with the book, just that it is on my own high schoolers MODG reading list and has great reviews…she is currently reading it for school.

  8. Aimee Landreneau

    I second the Little House on the Prairie books. We listened to the whole series over the summer and early fall, and it was a huge hit with all of mine. Even Annelise at 3 would talk about Laura! We also just listened to Anne of Green Gables. My big three LOVED it!

  9. Aimee Landreneau

    Also, the chair seems a tad pricey, but all of mine have had their own type of chair as toddlers, and they loved having a spot all their own. As long as you don't think Rose will want his spot, I like the chair idea!

  10. Sara

    I have never seen a good audiobook of The Hobbit. The only version carried by my library system is a horrible, dated (70's) dramatization that makes me crazy. I see there is only 1 unabridged (why would it need to be abridged??) audiobook, that's not readily available.

  11. Aimee Landreneau

    Oh…do you have Little House in the Big Woods? If not, I'd start with that.

  12. Cynthia

    Rascal's list looks very much like my almost 9yo's. Swap extra LoTR's mini figs for the Lego Creator set and you have what he is getting. For audio books, the Rob Inglis version of the Hobbit will be your best bet. What I've heard of his LoTR's has been good and the dramas leave so much out! Jim Weiss has some good audio books we've enjoyed. We listened to Carry On Mr. Bowditch which was great, and are part way through Swiss Family Robinson (which is so much more improbable than I remember from when I read it as a child, though still enjoyable!).

  13. Karen

    My oldest has the lighthouse lego set and it's one of her favorites. The beach house will be under our tree this year, too along with Caroline.
    I have a lot of difficulty picking presents for our youngest because of all of the hand me down toys, too. Our littlest one got this bead maze(#3 on the list) for her 1st birthday and she loves it (her big sister's do, too).

  14. Anonymous

    Hi Jessica!
    When my kids had listened to all of the Chronicles of Narnia we started listening to The Redwall Series. These are a favorite in our house! Another huge favorite in our house (my husband and I along with all of our older children) have read the Rangers Apprentice series. There is a complete MP3 audioset for sale on ebay that one of my boys is going to get for his 10th birthday in June. I noticed that Captain is getting a Sopwith Camel. My 13yr old is a huge aviation, WWII buff. I found a great series of books by Don Patterson called Tales of the RAF. Not on audiobooks that I know of but a great series!
    Blessings to you all!!

  15. Cheryl Schroeder Basile


    Thank you so much for sharing that Etsy link on the girl's historical dresses. I've pinned it for future use–I have a little girl that would love to dress historically like her dolls!

    Audio Books: Both my kids loved "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett. We read it and listened to it on CD that my son practically could say the whole book by heart when he was 8 years old. (Aww, miss those days, now that he's a teen.) The Glory Stories (by Holy Heroes) are favorites around here too, especially with my daughter.

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Advent. You always inspire me with your great ideas–so creative!

  16. Anonymous

    Audio books- we love the Little House books read by Cherry Jones. We've listened to all of them and the Long WInter is especially nice to listen to in the winter!
    Little Britches series for the boys

  17. Sarah

    It looks like it will be a Lego-filled Christmas at my house, too. My 5yo is getting a set + 2 of my girls are getting "Lego Friends" … And my 2yo is getting a Duplo set 😉 I would love to know how you store your Legos. I can't wrap my head around a good system.

    Oh! And I LOVE the handmade AG dresses you are getting from Etsy. They are so pretty!! I added the Felicity needlepoint kit to my Amazon Wish List for another time, because my shopping is done! Now, onto the wrapping!

  18. Jessica Gordon

    Now I am curious! 🙂 I hope you have a blessed Christmas too, Elizabeth!

  19. Jessica Gordon

    I actually thought about Anne of Green Gables as I was going to bed last night! That was a favorite of mine, and my girls haven't read it yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

  20. Jessica Gordon

    We listened to the whole series many years ago, borrowing it from the library, and it was so good! I think my boys remember listening to it, but not the girls. And no, we don't have Little House in the Big Woods… I wasn't thinking when I added the link! Thanks for catching that!

    Do you know which version of Ann of Green Gables you listened to? I noticed that there are a couple… Maybe this would be a good one?

  21. Jessica Gordon

    I know… It really is! Other than infant bouncy chairs, I've never purchased a chair for our toddlers before. And I do think Rose will want to claim it… I'm not sure what to do.

    Sean & I were talking a little more about it last night, and started thinking that maybe a Ride-On toy would be the best for him, but there again I am not sure which one to choose. Have you seen the Wheely Bugs before?

  22. Jessica Gordon

    Have you listened to an unabridged version yet? I ran across a set at Costco, but I didn't buy it since it was abridged.. Since the boys haven't read it, I want to make sure I find the unabridged book, or just read it to them as a read aloud. My boys (especially the oldest) still struggle with reading (auditory processing challenges) so reading the book on their own would still be a little challenging for them, but they would love listening to the story!

  23. Jessica Gordon

    I never thought I would start purchasing so many legos, but my boys love them so much now! And now with Lord of the Rings and Hobbit themes… 🙂

    From all the reviews I had read it seemed that the Rob Inglis version was the best. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it could arrive by Christmas unless I can find it locally. We do have a birthday coming up in Feb though and Rascal has requested a "Hobbit" theme, so I could give it to him then!

    We also really enjoy Jim Weiss and have quite a few of his audio books. But I never thought to look into Swiss Family Robinson… I don't think I've ever actually read that one, just watched the movie!

  24. Julie

    The All of a Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor are wonderful on audiobook and I think your girls would like them. They are about a family with 5 girls at the turn of the century in NYC. They would tie in very nicely with the Samantha American Girl books.

  25. Patty

    Christmas book suggestions based on the review of my children's likes :

    Girls – Happy Little Family Series (Seton catalog) Bethlehem books, Author: Rebecca Caudill. Similar to Little House series.

    Boys – The Winged Watchman, (Seton catalog ) Bethlehem books, Author: Hilda van Stockum. Note: my daughter in 6th grade had to read this for a book report. She said, "This was THE BEST book I have ever read!" Based the trials and struggles of a Catholic family during WWII in occupied Holland.

    Bethlehem books has a HUGE assortment of historic novels for both girls and boys.

  26. Jessica Gordon

    Aren't the historical dresses great! I purchased our first one from Ashley's Attic for Chiquita's birthday earlier this year and it is beautiful! It is made well, and will fit for a number of years, since there is a hem that can be let out on the bottom. My girls are going to be so excited when they open their new dresses!! 🙂

    I've never heard of "My Father's Dragon" before. I will have to look into that one too! We also love all The Glory Stories. I think we have almost all of them, and I'm looking forward to listening to the new Blessed Miguel Pro CD with the kids! 🙂

  27. Jessica Gordon

    I'm still working on a system for the lego. I haven't purchased any for our girls, so they all stay in the boys room. Some are on a wall shelf (I want to get a few more), others are displayed on their bookcase and dresser, and the rest are in boxes in the closet.

    I love Charlotte's Lego Trays, but my boys have under bed drawers, otherwise I would have made some by now!

  28. Jessica Gordon

    I didn't have plans to buy my older girls additional AG dolls, and then Caroline had to come out! She is my oldest's new favorite and she's already read through all the books a couple times. I figured Kaya would be a prefect one for Chiquita, especially since St. Kateri was canonized this year! And Rose… she is always trying to play with the big girls dolls, so a Look Like Me will be fun for her. When she is older I'd like to get Marie-Grace for her.

    My children all love playing with bead mazes whenever we are somewhere that has one, but I have never purchased one for our home. I've always considered one of the Learning Cubes… hmmm….

  29. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks for letting me know about the MP3 Rangers Apprentice Audio Set! That might be a good gift for Rascal's birthday too. And I will have to look into Tales of the RAF!

    I'm really enjoying hearing everyone's suggestions!! Thank you all!

  30. Jessica Gordon

    We have that book. Is it available on audio? Thanks for the recommendation!

  31. Jessica Gordon

    You are right, the girls would love those! Thanks!

  32. Jessica Gordon

    I think my boys would agree with your daughter! We have The Winged Watchman book and the audio and they listen to it constantly! It is so good!

    My oldest daughter is reading through the Happy Little Family series this year as one of her literature assignments.

    The Bethlehem Books are all excellent!

  33. Cheryl

    My Father's Dragon is on Sonlight's read-aloud list for the earlier years (perhaps kindergarten, I don't remember). It is about the adventures of a young boy who goes to an island to rescue a baby dragon. It was a runner up for a Newbery medal in 1949, so it is an older book written in a very unique tone.

    Our cassette has worn out from being played so much. I was thinking about upgrading to the CD. Then I just noticed that it can be downloaded from LibraVox (for free!)

    You might find some other free audiobooks on LibraVox, too.

  34. Courtney

    We love the Wheely Bug! Last year, my then one year old got the Haul and Totes Ride On from Land of Nod and it is still his favorite! The basket in front is perfect for transporting all his indispensable toddler treasures.

  35. Cynthia

    It might be worth a quick audible foray? It is one audible credit and you would have it…not to wrap, though!

  36. Anonymous

    We are reading aloud the book Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan. I read it in fourth grade, and I think your oldest 4 would enjoy it. It is a WWII story of Norwegian children who heroicly smuggled gold past the Nazis.
    I also loved, loved reading the Family Under the Bridge (set in Paris). Very heartwarming. Finally, have you read the Good Master? (Set in Hungary). Not sure if these are available on audio, but they are quick reads.

  37. Anonymous

    One more that I haven't read since fourth grade, but we have, is the Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken. It really engaged my imagination, and I bet it would be good to listen to on tape. My kids are REALLY into the Lord of the Rings books right now. They finished the Hobbit (which Mike read aloud after dinner, before bedtime.) The series doesn't interest me at all, but the kids are eating it up. Some of Roald Dahl's books (like Matilda) we also enjoyed. I always thought it was funny that his name is up on the frieze at Barnes and Noble, alongside Dickens and Shakespeare et al. Lofty company 😉 -Colby

  38. Anonymous

    To Jessica and readers:

    Instagram has changed its terms and conditions. If you don't delete your account, from 16th of January Instalgram has the right to sell your private photos to advertisers without notification.

    Here is a link from BBC news:

  39. Jessica Gordon

    I read that this morning… So upsetting! I was really enjoying Instagram.. Not exactly what I was wanting for my birthday (Jan 16th) this year! 😉

  40. Jessica Gordon

    I think he would really enjoy the Wheely Bug, but that Haul and Tote Ride On looks great too! Oh, I am not good with making decisions. 🙂

  41. Eliana

    I don't know about the audio, but it would be nice if it was available that way!

  42. Katie V.

    Jessica, Have your boys seen Lord of the Rings yet? If so, I was just wondering what age you let them watch it?

  43. T

    As a big Civil War buff I've read Killer Angels several times. I would wait a couple more years before letting your oldest read it. It's intense.

  44. Eliana

    Sorry for the multiple responses, but I was just remembering a tape my brothers and I enjoyed when we were growing up. It is a children's narrated version by Jim Weiss of two plays of Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. It looks like it is now available on CD, and introduces the children to the plays in language that is easy for them to understand.

  45. T

    Word on the bead maze. Last Christmas I purchased one for our almost 2 year at the time. He loved playing with the bead maze at our oldest speech therapy office several times a week. Turns out it was one of those toys that was fun there but not at home. It was a total bomb.

  46. Jessica Gordon

    That was my worry, T. That they might be interested in it at first and then it would sit in a corner unused and I'd end up getting rid of it.

  47. T

    Snow Treasure is one of my favorite from childhood.

  48. Jessica Gordon

    I agree… Maybe when he is in high school. I'm still trying to find a book for my husband's stocking though… Any suggestions? 🙂

  49. Jessica Gordon

    No, we haven't, we have only read some of the books aloud. Sean & I were actually thinking of watching it with the oldest two over Christmas break this year – with the remote nearby to skip some of the scenes. 🙂

  50. Jessica Gordon

    It sounds excellent! I'll have to pre-read it! 😉

  51. Jessica Gordon

    We love Jim Weiss! We have Romeo & Juliet, but I don't think we have A Midsummer Nights Dream yet! Another great suggestion! I don't think I have enough stockings for all these great ideas! I'll have to remember some of them for Easter Baskets this next year! 🙂

  52. Erin

    I had a friend whose sons liked the wheely bug ride on toy they had… i'm thinking they were closer to age two and up when i saw them riding it? My kids have never liked ride-on toys as toddlers; I assume maybe that is a girl thing… we have a Cozy Coupe outdoor riding car toy and it gets the most use when 1-3 yr old boys come to play!

  53. Aimee Landreneau

    I don't know why those links aren't working! Sorry!

  54. Anonymous

    Hope you do like them! I don't think you'll be disappointed. I just got my daughter And Now, Miguel for Christmas. But I haven't pre-read it. Does anyone know of any potential flaws? When I was in public school for the younger grades I would sometimes read an alternate book if the class was doing a less appropriate one. -Colby

  55. Aimee Landreneau

    Family Under the Bridge is a GREAT read-aloud! We read it a few weeks ago.

  56. Karen

    I'd caution you not to get a bead maze cube we have one that's pretty similar to the one you had in the link. Sometimes less is more and that's certainly been the case with bead mazes in our house. I'm also against the cubes because it's really easy for a little one to stumble and cut his or her face open on the edges of the cube. My oldest has a scar right above her eye from our bead maze cube. And that "fun" cube with lots of activities has gone largely untouched in the ten years that we've owned it. But the plain bead mazes get lots of playtime.

  57. My beautiful ordinary life

    Jessica, I am stealing again. Please don't tell!!!! We think you are a superwoman. Got some audiobooks today!

  58. T

    I am not familiar with audio books (I have hearing loss so find trying to listen to books very frustrating….but I love my kindle 😀 )

    Here are a few history books I've read of late and enjoyed.

    Robert Jordan is great if he enjoys fantasy.

    Frank Delaney is another favorite on mine.

  59. Jessica Gordon

    Ouch! I hadn't thought about that… Actually I hadn't thought past not wanting one sitting out in the house, period, and that I didn't have anywhere to store it. I really can't stand much clutter and love toys that can be quickly put away in baskets or drawers. We do have a small bead maze that was given to us, but it isn't played with very frequently, though I did see it out on the girls bedroom floor this morning.

  60. T

    Thanks for the link. I have a little one turning 1 beginning of January and I am at a total loss as to what to get him for his birthday.

  61. Erin

    My Malachi (13) has been on a massive audio binge this year
    He has LOVED the ENTIRE Redwall (Brian Jacques) series, Deltora Quest series (this is fantasy so not sure if suit), The Narnia series & Ranger's Apprentice series.

  62. Jennifer Elia

    Just an FYI, I have free 2 day shipping through amazon if you need it. I'd be happy to order for you and have it shipped to your house. It's only $3.99 for overnight. Just thought I would put that out there.

    PS Do your girls have "Trouble at Fort La Pointe" audiobook from AG. It's a favorite in our house along with Little House and The Aurora County All-Stars.
    Arthur audio books are cute for the little ones, although, Cat Chat is the best!

  63. Jennifer Elia

    Oh, have the boys read/listened to Holes? I did that book with my middle schoolers when I taught, great story.

  64. Jennifer Elia

    Sorry, one more suggestions…Glory of America series and Princesses to Believe in from Ecce Homo Press.

  65. Anonymous

    Hi Again Jessica!

    The Singing Tree is a good book for WWI history study also. It is a continuation of The Good Master (same characters) but it deals more with the war and the village that the family lives in. I really enjoyed it myself; it is all handled well and very age appropriate. I got this book for my voracious reader who is an 11 year old girl. She enjoyed it quite a bit also.

    I just had to add that my son that **loves** all things aviation and WWI &II has had two copies of Barnes and Nobles Books American Military Aircraft. The first copy literally fell apart he has read it so much. So we had to get him another copy. Super nice book with color pictures, specs on the plane and a little history of its use. I think he has it memorized!! He has enjoyed it so much 🙂 There is a copy for sale on ebay.

    We bought him a copy of Jane's Encylopedia of Aviation for his birthday this year. It is his go-to-book for relaxing! It's not as nice as the B&N because it doesn't have color photos. But it doesn't seem to bother him.

    When your boys get older — or maybe for your husband– you can get two Gregory Peck movies ( I have to admit they are two of my favorite movies –Both my husband and I are military brats — maybe that is the reason;) Anyway –TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH and THE GUNS OF NAVARONE– are great!! We let our son who is 13 watch them (only GUNS has 1 scene that would need to be forwarded through).

    So glad you got the Tales of the RAF! Just wanted to add a few more suggestions!

  66. Anonymous

    I'd never read the sequel to Good Master: The Singing Tree sounds like another good one. A summary says that Kate's father was a prisoner of the Russians. My great-grandfather (who was Austrian) fought for the Austro-Hungarian empire, and was also captured by the Russians. He escaped, and was smuggled home. His wife was astounded to see him, since she thought he was missing in action.
    Philomena sounds good, too. We'll have to look for those.

  67. Julie

    Jessica, a couple more things — maybe for the future! The discontinued American Girls series Girls of Many Lands is really wonderful. They are small dolls and longer books. Worth keeping an eye out in Ebay or Craisglist when your girls are a bit older. I have a special fondness for Kathleen since one of my daughters is an Irish dancer!

    Also, if by any chance your girls like to do things like make doll food or clothes, this website is a good resource — these are 3 girls who were homeschooled (and Irish dancers, that's how I know about them). There are loads of instructions on how to make AG doll clothes, food out of Sculpey, etc.

  68. Kerry Wolf

    Yes I highly recommend those books as well. There is a series of 5 or so. It is a Jewish family at the turn of the century with 5 daughters and a son. lovely stories, a very devout family, though not Catholic obviously, but a great way to learn more about the Jewish faith for young ones.

  69. Jessica Gordon

    No worries! It requires inserting special coding in the combox, but the hyperlinks work in my email notifications. That looks like a fun toy and my kids would probably love it, but I am such a mean mom… I have such a hard time buying toys like that for my little ones. I'm always searching for fun toys that I think are also beautiful (or can be easily stowed away in drawers or baskets) so that they don't drive me crazy when I see them left around the house! 😉

    If we had a nice smooth patio outside, a garage, or even (if we lived in town) sidewalks, I would probably change my mind, but the only place for toys like this is inside our home…

  70. Jessica Gordon

    Glad to head that Aimee! I'm looking forward to them!! 🙂

    I haven't heard of that one either, Colby. You'll have to let us know what you think of it…

  71. Jessica Gordon

    It's not stealing… Just sharing!! Click away! 🙂

  72. Anonymous

    There are so many comments and I haven't read them all yet. How about the Rody horse on amazon? Kind of like the hop balls, but for small ones…might be a tad big for him, but a month or two and he'd figure out a way to play with it. Enjoying all of this great info. Def. checking into audio Little House books!!! Genevieve

  73. Elizabeth

    we have a big bead maze that my oldest received for his first birthday that has lasted through 8 kids! We usually keep it out for 6 months then put it in the attic for 6 months and at that point it's like a brand new toy! So, if you have sppace to store it somewhere I would definitely invest in one. all my kids enjoy playing with it.

  74. Melissa

    If you're thinking of buying a Marie-Grace doll I would check your local craigslist now. American Girl had a one morning sale on Marie Grace, Cecile and their bed. Each was $50. Around here the dolls are selling for $85 or $90 and they were sold with the extra accessories. It would be worth buying now at a savings and putting it up for later giving.

  75. Anonymous

    Someone may have already suggested it, but I highly recommend the audio versions of the Little House Books. We all really enjoy listening to those.

    As far as the girls for books, do they have The Secret Garden or the Little Princess? Or Anne of Green Gables?

    You could get the Farmer Boy audio for one of the boys too. We just finished that one and it has to be one of our favorites.

  76. Jessica Gordon

    We ended up going with the Wheely Bug (for his birthday) and the chair (for Christmas)! We LOVES the Wheely Bug!!!

  77. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you JenniferAnne! I do have a trial membership of Prime right now that I have been using. 🙂

    We do not have Trouble at Fort La Pointe… Thanks for the recommendations!!

  78. Jessica Gordon

    I know! I knew the sale (for something) was going to happen, but they sold out so quick in the morning (before I even had a chance to check)… Oh well! 🙂

  79. Mary Beth

    Ooo! Ooo! Ooo! All of my kids are really enjoying listening to the unabridged version of JM Barrie's Peter Pan. It would be a great gift for either of the older boys, but everyone (at least the older four…) will love it.

  80. Anonymous


  81. Jessica Gordon

    *He (not We) – though we do all love it, especially Rose! We went with the Small Cow. 🙂 It is so cute!

  82. Jessica Gordon

    Great suggestion! Which version do you have? I noticed that the Audible Version has a different narrator than this version.

  83. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, the Little House ones are so good, and even though our library has them, I'd love to add them to our own collection. I ordered the first two for the girls' stockings, along with Anne of Green Gables as well. Over time I hope to add the rest of the Little House Audios to our collection… We do have The Secret Garden and The Little Princess from when we belonged to Audible.

  84. Jessica Gordon

    I hadn't heard of those before! Thank you – I'll have to start watching for them, especially Kathleen! 🙂

  85. Unknown

    You should definitely get the The Hobbit: The Acclaimed BBC Radio 4 Dramatisation (BBC Radio Collection)version. My Sister and I still have it on tape and we're in our mid twenties now! Lovely version.

  86. Anonymous

    Hi Jessica,

    We've listened to the Peter Pan narrated by Jim Dale and it was wonderful! I wanted to ask you though, do you listen to audio books while at home or only in the car? As my kids have gotten older, not everyone is in the car at the same time and it seems more difficult to keep track of where everyone is in the story. Do your kids enjoy listening by themselves at home?

  87. T

    Another series your girls would love is the Dear America series. They are similar to American Girl but are written as diaries. They have all sorts of different ones covering tons of historical events/time periods.

  88. Maxine

    We are looking for a good audio version of The Hobbit as well. My 6 & 8 year old sons LOVE Farmer Boy read by Cherry Jones. They also really enjoyed Ann of Green Gables (though my daughter didn't like it…sigh… hoping that was because she is only 4).


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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