Dec 4

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday has come and gone (my apologies for not posting some fun deals sooner), there’s still great deals to be had out there. All you got to do is look for them. Today I’ll be going over my favorite places to shop for Christmas presents for mostly the kids.

Target is by far one of my favorite places to shop, but they aren’t always the cheapest depending on what your looking for. When it comes to everyday items, most of their prices are hard to beat (if you’ve never visited your local store’s discount rack for clothes, do this now. I can’t tell you how many awesome deals we’ve found here!). However, if your looking for popular toys and games, might be best to check Amazon.

If you figure the cost of shipping sometimes is about the same as tax locally, your most the time going to get a better deal here. Especially on those harder to find items that sell out fast locally. My mother was on a hunt for Snuggies for the kids, and could only find the ones for girls at our local Target. A quick search on Amazon produced a blue Kids Snuggie Blanket for an extremely reasonable price. No driving all over the place hunting for one, no standing in line, and the cost was basically the same.

Ebay is another one of my favorite places to shop this time of year, as you can sometimes find random stocking stuffers and other fun items you might not find elsewhere. As much as I love Amazon and Target, Ebay is for sure the place to look for books and DVDs. Last year and this year both I was able to get Goosebump DVDs and some interesting books for each kid. Be careful with Ebay though - it’s easy to get caught up in an auction and pay extremely too much for items you can easily find for MUCH cheaper elsewhere. I see this mostly with video games and systems, with people paying sometimes double the price. If the item is an extremely popular one (such as the Wii and its games), do NOT go to eBay. Not around Christmas anyway.

If you haven’t hit your local Dollar Store, what are you waiting for? These places are PERFECT for stocking stuffers and smaller items. You can also find supplies for making your own gifts (like gift baskets). I tend to only shop at the “everything’s a dollar” stores verses the ones that price items accordingly. Sure some of the stuff may not be the best quality, but your only spending a dollar.

So there ya have it - Target, Amazon, eBay, and Dollar Store. You might also want to check places like Kmart, Walgreens, and - dare I say it - Walmart for the best deals on popular items. Today I’m off to hunt for a specific toy on the boy’s wish list that I’m hoping to find at Kmart at the best price (online Kmart has this toy sold out, but I have high hopes it’s in the local store. If not, I’ll check Target and try out their “Price matching” policy for other store ads since Target has it about $15 higher on their site. More on this specific toy later).

Happy Shopping!

P.S. If you have a few adults on your Christmas list, you might also want to check out our sister site, Prairie Soy Candles!

Apr 17

A nice surprise may be coming your way if you own the Webkinz Pet of the Month for May 2009 - The Cocker Spaniel! This is an older favorite to many kids, and he’ll be getting all kinds of bonuses in May.

If you don’t have a Webkinz yet or need to renew the year membership, this pet is perfect for adopting in May due to all the fun extras you’ll receive. Be sure to see pricing options at Webkinz Amazon

Apr 3


I am such a sucker for Joann’s. No matter if it’s online or locally, I’m like a kid in a candy store. So when I see deals like this, I just can’t help but pass them along!

From now until April 15th, get Free Shipping at Joann.com on orders of $35 or more. Be sure to use this code: MARFSA935.

Even though some of you may be like me and not sew a whole lot when the weather is nice, it’s a great idea to go shopping while the shipping is free. I LOVE this store and don’t have any problem finding $35 worth of fun stuff to play with. ;-)

Have fun!

Mar 23

Looking for a great gift for your kids? Then try the Webkinz pet of the month for April - the Alley Cat!

This adorable feline comes with all kinds of special bonuses and extras when you adopt them in April 2009. Plus you’ll get daily extras including extra chances on the Wheel of Wow, extra KinzCash, and lots more.

Buy the Webkinz Alley Cat at Amazon for April 2009!

Mar 7

Do your kids still play Webkinz like mine do? Remember, in order to keep your membership, you need to purchase at least one Webkinz per year. Compared to similar membership sites, this is EXTREMELY cheap. They make nice birthday gifts, and so do the accessories!

When you adopt the Webkinz of the month, you get all kinds of fun extras to start with, plus daily extra stuff the regular pets don’t get. So if you are planning to buy your child their first Webkinz or needing to renew your membership, this is the one to buy this month! (Just make sure you buy the LARGE one and not the “Little”. Use the link below to see the large)

See Webkinz Yorkie at Amazon.

Feb 18

For those that do own a Wii and are interested in active family games, the page we’ve been working on (Family Games for Wii) for the last few weeks has been updated in a major way. When we first announced the new page, there were only 3 reviews up. After renting, buying, and begging for some reviews, we’ve added a whole lot more!

Keep in mind the ranting system we have is a little different. Instead of just one overall rating of the game, we break it down into seven different sections. For it to rate high with us, it’s got to be a fun FAMILY game that gets both adults and kids up and moving. I can’t be too easy or too hard, must get us active, get everyone involved in the game play, and of course, be FUN!

We know Wii games aren’t cheap, so we hope these reviews will give you a better idea if some games you’ve been eying are worth the money for YOUR family or not. To make buying easier, we’ve also added links to Amazon on each individual review page because we feel this is the most reliable and cheapest place to buy new and used games (again, I must brag about the smoking deal I got on Wii Play and the extra remote from Amazon - it cost me less than half of the retail price, and the only thing “used” about it was the box was open. Both game and remote had NEVER been used! Woo Hoo!).

If you have games you’d like to see on the site or have a game to review, be sure to send us a comment using the contact form on the page. If we are in need of a specific review, we might just pay you for it!*

See Wii Game Reviews.

*Reviews must be positive of games you own and love, use our rating system, and can not be of games already on the list. Please contact us for information before writing the review to check availability. If accepted, payment for review is $5 after the review is received.

Feb 10

I was browsing Amazon today as I do quite often (I love window shopping from home!), and came across something quite interesting. I don’t know how I missed this very cool device before, but regardless I’m glad I found it, even if I can’t afford it right now.

The Kindle: Amazon’s Wireless Reading Device is a digital reader that lets you download books, blogs, newspapers, and more right into one device. Plus the prices on the Kindle books are so much cheaper than the ones in bookstores, it really makes up for the price of the unit.

I won’t ramble on because I don’t have one (yet), and Amazon does a great job of listing all the features. But I did want to at least mention this new toy, because I am easily fascinated with new technology. For the time being I’ll have to continue making my regular trips to the used book store and library, but this is absolutely going on my wish list!

Jan 29

Instead of boring you all that are on newsletter updates with a bunch of Wii-related posts on a regular basis for those that don’t care, I decided to start a brand new section on Idea Queen for all the game reviews.

This new section is under the Crafts & Activities area of the site and titled “Family Games for Wii“. I’ve set up a unique scoring based on several areas which I feel a family game full of activities should have. Since the purpose of a Wii is to get kids up and moving, this is also part of our scoring which may make even some really good games a little “off” to other reviews.

You’ll also find links to Amazon above every review in case you’d like to purchase the game or read what others have to say, since we’ve found some of the best deals can be found on that site (just today I purchased Wii Play with a remote used for $20 on Amazon -I’m excited!).

For those of you who are interested in the Wii games, I hope you’ll enjoy this new section!

Dec 26

I may not enjoy shopping for Christmas, but I sure to love it after! There’s sales and discounts galore, and it’s the perfect time to stock up on things like wrapping paper, Christmas printed fabrics, and lots more.

Our sister company, Prairie Soy Candles, has put up the Discount Shelf to clear out stock from holiday craft shows. Here you’ll find the last of the Christmas scents, plus several other favorites ready to ship today.

Fabric.com has some smoking deals as well, plus free shipping over $35. With the price of shipping skyrocketing, this is a deal you’ll want to take advantage of!

Joann.com also has some great deals, with up to 60% off some regular products. Everything from fabric to crafts to sewing machines are currently on sale. Plus you can take 40% off one regular priced item by using the code “EEC001″ at check out.

Don’t forget your local stores when hunting for after Christmas deals and happy shopping!

Dec 16

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more I’m dumbfounded with the prices of Nintendo Wii’s. Even on eBay, they are selling for no less than $300. I scanned the internet last night and found no great deals from trusted companies.

But I have to ask - did anyone even LOOK offline? Yesterday I just happened to hit both Walmart and Target, seeing that Target still had quite a few of them in stock at their “normal” price of $250 even though Walmart was sold out (it’s a small town Walmart, I wasn’t surprised). Our local GameStop had them last week as well, from $250 and UNDER.

So why is everyone spending so much on these “toys”? Have we become a nation so driven to give our kids whatever they want that we are willing to spend ungodly amounts of money to please them? To me this is absolutely insane. It’s a TOY, no matter how cool it is.

Yes, I want one, but I’m not about to pay twice as much for it just so it’s sitting perfectly under our tree come Christmas morning. But that seems to be what half of America is doing, when I’m sure it’s not sold out EVERYWHERE like many stores and eBay sellers are saying. No, that’s completely untrue, since I saw no less than 5 of them at Target just yesterday, and at least three or four at Gamestop last week.

Instead of falling pray to the price gouging on the internet or even paying full price offline, I’ve decided to wait until Christmas is over. I’ll be looking around offline and online after Christmas, possibly scoring a Christmas present someone didn’t want for relatively cheap. If the prices are still horrible, I’ll just wait until my son’s birthday come May.

Really, is a game console THAT important? Not to me it’s not. Instead of buying a Wii, we’ll just concentrate on the GameCube games. Why not? They work with the Wii, and my son is perfectly happy playing his GameCube.

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