From the category archives:

living on less

There are just two shopping days left before the big day, and I think we're just about set around here -- other than those darn AXE gift sets I still need to pick up for my boys. They just keep slipping my mind every time I'm at the store, but I'm heading out today to pick them up for sure.

More Last Minute Gift Ideas From Walmart

Thankfully I know that Walmart still has these and many other last minute gift items in stock. I picked those Starbucks gift sets pictured above up on a recent shopping trip. Priced at $9.98 and $11.98, they're perfect to keep on hand for those unexpected gifting occasions and/or as hostess gifts.

And if all else fails, my kids will drink the hot chocolate as I sip some coffee in our cute holiday mugs!

Stocking Stuffers:

Clothing & Accessories:

Electronics:

Gift Sets:

Of course you could always go the gift card route! I'll never fault anyone for giving me a gift card because I know I'll use it to get something that I really want.

Cash usually gets spent on odds and ends and checks just go into our checking account, but I treasure my gift cards and really think hard about how I want to spend them!

Or if you have a little bit more time, you might consider building your own gift basket. Check out these simple tips for creating a beautiful gift basket that I shared recently!

Do you have any go-to last minute gift ideas? If so, please share them!

I'm asking Siri right now to set a reminder to go pick up those AXE gift sets in the morning. Of course, then I still need to wrap everything... Deep breaths -- it will all get done, as it does every year. Merry Christmas!

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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Walmart Top 20 Toy: Zing Air Storm Firetek Bow {Family Fun!}

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 22, 2014 · 2 comments

I'm so excited to be sharing my perspective on some of the amazing toys that made Wamart's Top 20 Toy List over the next few weeks! The coolest thing about Walmart's Top 20 Toys, is that they were actually chosen by kids...

For the second year, Walmart gathered hundreds of children ages 18 months to 12 years and turned them loose. They played with the hottest new toys from Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master and Zing to get their thoughts and stamps of approval.

The result? Wamart's Top 20 Toy List -- and these are toys that are sure to knock your kids' socks off Christmas morning!

Zing Air Storm Firetek Bow Review

This week's focus is on classic toys with a twist -- these made kids’ top list for the second year. Parents will recognize many of the brands and types of toys kids chose, like the Zing Air Storm Firetek Bow.

Priced at just $24.97, the Air Storm Firetek Bow isn't just your average bow. Believe me -- as a mom of 3 boys, we've tried the lot of them. Both the bow and arrows light up, and the Zonic Blaze arrows whistle as they sail through the air, setting the Air Storm Firetek Bow apart from the pack. Highlights include:

  • Loop-and-launch technology
  • LED-activated power grip
  • Fire-glow LED
  • Fast-load, soft foam, long-range arrows shoot over 125'
  • Includes 1 LED power bow and 3 Zonic Blaze whistling arrows
  • Requires 2 AAA batteries (included)

The Firetek Bow is recommended for ages 8 and up; however, I doubt I'll be able to keep it out of my almost 7-year-old's hands. His eyes lit up as bright as the bow and arrows when he saw my oldest son testing it out!

Kids Verdict? My boys were super excited to try out the Air Storm Firetek Bow when it arrived. Even though it was barely 30 degrees outside, they insisted on testing it out right away, and they loved the whistling arrows and the light-up features. I definitely see them playing with these a ton when it gets warmer, and I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up a couple more to eliminate any arguments, along with an Air Huntress Firetek Bow or two for my girls. Fun for the whole family!

Mom's Verdict? My two oldest boys are only a year apart, and they're known for getting a little rambunctious, so I appreciate the soft tips on the Zonic Blaze arrows. This is definitely a toy that will get them out of the house (I wouldn't recommend it for indoor play). I also give it high marks for having the batteries included!

Quick purchase links:

More Top Classic Toys

If you're looking for more classic toys at every price point Walmart's got something for every wish list and budget. Here are just a few other tops toys in this category:

  • Fisher-Price Little People Musical Preschool, $29.97 -- Little People friends help kids imagine the fun of a real preschool, complete with activities, a magical rug, pets and more than 35 sounds, music and phrases!
  • Barbie Sisters Camper, $74.97 -- take Barbie's fabulous life on the road, features everything a doll could need for first-class camping!
  • Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote-Control Flying Car, $49.92 -- this Hot Wheels remote-control car/airplane offers a cool combination of on-ground R/C performance, including proportional ground steering, and the aerial performance of a plane. !

Get the Top Toys at the Best Price

Walmart is committed to bringing you all of the hottest toys at the lowest prices. Get the most for your money with these savings tools:

  • Savings Catcher: If Savings Catcher finds an advertised price that’s lower than what you paid for the same exact item, you'll get a Walmart eGift Card for the difference!
  • Layaway: Customers taking advantage of Walmart’s holiday layaway with no opening fee can stretch dollars further by paying at their own pace through Dec. 15.
  • Ad Match: Walmart’s great prices are backed by its Ad Match Guarantee. Stores will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product.

Is the Zing Air Storm or Air Huntress Firetek Bow on your child's Christmas wish list?

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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My girls were big fans of Dora the Explorer when they were little. In fact, even my older boys picked up some basic Spanish just from having it on while playing, even though they weren't particularly engaged in watching it.

Because my girls are a bit older now, I guess I missed the news that Dora has a new series out -- Dora and Friends! Actually, it's a spin-off of the original cartoon and features Dora as a pre-teen with a new group of friends and new adventures.

Though I haven't watched this new series with my girls yet, it's my understanding that the Spanish vocabulary in it has been expanded to include phrases and commands, along with the basic vocabulary built through the preschool series.

In conjunction with the new Dora and Friends series, a new line of Dora and Friends toys have been released. Pictured above is the new Talking Dora Doll with Smartphone. Yes, Dora now has her very own smartphone, and she now uses her "Map App" to find her way around Playa Verde, the town that she lives in! The Dora doll can interact with the smartphone by responding to her friends' phone calls, or the phone is a fun toy to play with all on its own.

In addition, you'll find a large assortment of play sets, individual dolls, charm bracelets with interchangeable charms, and more -- all featuring Dora and her multicultural array of friends. Take a look at this video my girls helped put together to get a better look at some of the fun toys in this line.



As I mentioned in the video, this line of Dora and Friends toys is geared toward children ages 3 years and up. Sadly, my girls aren't really into dolls at this point, so I didn't want to open up all of the toys knowing they probably wouldn't play with them much beyond the video.

I think if they were a few years younger, though, they would have played for hours upon hours with the play sets. These are exactly the kind of imaginative, free play-type toys they always enjoyed playing with the most. In any case, they both agreed that everything in the Dora and Friends line is really cute and would make fantastic Christmas gifts!

Find the Dora and Friends line in stores and online at Walmart now! Be sure to check out the quick purchase links below as many of these fun toys are on rollback currently.

Quick purchase links:

Now, we'll be taking these Dora and Friends toys to our local Walmart to place in the Fill the Truck box to hopefully make some deserving girls and boys in our area very, very happy this Christmas...

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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Walmart Top 20 Toy: SpinMaster Zoomer Dino {Hours of Fun!}

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 12, 2014 · 0 comments

I'm so excited to be sharing my perspective on some of the amazing toys that made Wamart's Top 20 Toy List over the next few weeks! The coolest thing about Walmart's Top 20 Toys, is that they were actually chosen by kids...

For the second year, Walmart gathered hundreds of children ages 18 months to 12 years and turned them loose. They played with the hottest new toys from Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master and Zing to get their thoughts and stamps of approval.

The result? Wamart's Top 20 Toy List -- and these are toys that are sure to knock your kids' socks off Christmas morning!

SpinMaster Zoomer Dino Review

This week's focus is on kids that love interactive toys, and SpinMaster's Zoomer Dino is just about as cool as they come! Not surprisingly, this amazing spinning, chomping and roaming dinosaur is at the top of my 6-year-old's Christmas list. He's known as "Dino Drew" around here, and I really think he could give Dino Dan a run for his money when it comes to dinosaur trivia.

I once made the mistake of identifying a dinosaur in a puzzle we were putting together as a velociraptor... He totally rolled his eyes at me and said in his most exasperated voice, "Mom, that's NOT a velociraptor. THAT's an ornithomimus! Don't you see the crest on its head?!?" Um, okay, little man -- whatever you say. Suffice it to say that if this dino is all that's under the tree on Christmas morning, he will be one happy boy!

Priced at a low $79.88, the Zoomer Dino features some pretty amazing technology. Highlights include:

  • Real dinosaur movements, sounds and incredible dino-sense abilities
  • Boomer can detect when you're nearby and interacting with him
  • Zoomer Dino Toy can get angry, spin around, chomp and roar
  • Using True Balance Technology, Boomer perfectly balances on 2 wheels as he roams freely, exploring your home
  • Use hands or included controller to tame his Dino nature and build your friendship
  • He might even let out dino-sized burps and farts
  • Requires 3 AAA batteries (not included with this kids toy)

Kids Verdict? I let my older boys check Boomer out to give me their opinion since I knew he would be a gift for my youngest, and I have to say, they're pretty smitten with him! This is one lifelike dino, and they were amazed at how well he interacted with them, even without the controller. They particularly enjoyed making him angry, because his eyes turn red and he chomps and roars. Kind of makes me wonder if that's why they enjoy testing my patience, too!

Mom's Verdict? I cannot wait for Drew to open the Zoomer Dino on Christmas morning. I'm fairly certain this is one toy that is going to live up to all of his expectations and more. I'd venture to say that Boomer is the coolest toy out there right now! Don't rule him out for girls, either -- he also comes in purple...

Quick purchase links:

More Top Interactive Toys

If you're looking for more interactive toys at every price point, Walmart's got something for every wish list and budget. Here are just a few other tops toys in this category:

Get the Top Toys at the Best Price

Walmart is committed to bringing you all of the hottest toys at the lowest prices. Get the most for your money with these savings tools:

  • Savings Catcher: If Savings Catcher finds an advertised price that’s lower than what you paid for the same exact item, you'll get a Walmart eGift Card for the difference!
  • Layaway: Customers taking advantage of Walmart’s holiday layaway with no opening fee can stretch dollars further by paying at their own pace through Dec. 15.
  • Ad Match: Walmart’s great prices are backed by its Ad Match Guarantee. Stores will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product.

Is your child hoping to find a Zoomer Dino under the tree on Christmas morning, too?

Walmart Moms Disclosure

{ 0 comments }

I'm so excited to be sharing my perspective on some of the amazing toys that made Wamart's Top 20 Toy List over the next few weeks! The coolest thing about Walmart's Top 20 Toys, is that they were actually chosen by kids...

For the second year, Walmart gathered hundreds of children ages 18 months to 12 years and turned them loose. They played with the hottest new toys from Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master and Zing to get their thoughts and stamps of approval.

The result? Wamart's Top 20 Toy List -- and these are toys that are sure to knock your kids' socks off Christmas morning!

Razor A Kick Scooter Review

This week's focus is on active kids, featuring scooters, ride-ons, racing cars, and more. This is the first year that Walmart has added these kinds of toys to their annual holiday focus group and the kids have spoken! They voted the Razor A Kick Scooter as the hottest ride on this season.

Priced at a low $22.70, the Razor A Kick Scooter is the perfect toy for allowing kids and teens alike to burn off a little excess energy. The handlebar can be adjusted to three different heights, and it's lightweight (only 6 pounds!) and folds up super compact. Features include:

  • Crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum for sturdiness and durability
  • Folds up for storage or for carrying in a bag
  • Lightweight: approximately 6 lbs.
  • 98mm inline-style urethane wheels
  • ABEC 5 bearings
  • Patented rear fender brake
  • Requires no assembly
  • Weight capacity: 143 lbs.

The Razor A Kick Scooter is appropriate for ages 5 and up, although, to be honest, I'm pretty sure my youngest used one at an earlier age, being around his older brothers and sisters. I'd recommend picking up a bike helmet to go along with this gift, as I know my kids have all taken a spill on theirs at one time or another.

Kids Verdict? My kids are all big fans of their Razor Scooters, and Razor definitely makes the best scooters. We've tried others with licensed characters on them in the past, and they've not held up as well. It's a great toy for keeping their active, especially at this low price point!

Mom's Verdict? I love toys that encourage my kids to get outside and play, and a Razor A Kick Scooter totally does this. I appreciate how small and compact it is when folded up and that it's lightweight, as well. We hang our kids' bikes from the ceiling in our garage, since we have minimal storage room, and I'm unable to get them down by myself. But we can hang the scooters on the wall without taking up much space, and the kids can get them out all by themselves!

Quick purchase links:

More Top Toys for Active Kids

If you're looking for more toys for active kids at every price point, Walmart's got something for every wish list and budget. Here are just a few other tops toys in this category:

  • BouncePro 14' Trampoline with Enclosure and Game, $249 -- the perfect addition to any backyard area, features bonus Electron Shooter target which attaches easily to the enclosure ring, creating extra play value for kids!
  • Razor Crazy Cart, $299 -- allows your child to drive, spin or drift like a pro, can be driven like a go cart, or simply lift the drift bar to kick into Crazy Cart mode!
  • Disney Frozen Convertible Car 6-Volt Battery-Powered Ride-On, $129.97 -- this 6-volt princess convertible car features Frozen graphics on a light blue car and has one forward speed plus a reverse speed, both with a maximum speed of 2.5-miles-per-hour!

Get the Top Toys at the Best Price

Walmart is committed to bringing you all of the hottest toys at the lowest prices. Get the most for your money with these savings tools:

  • Savings Catcher: If Savings Catcher finds an advertised price that’s lower than what you paid for the same exact item, you'll get a Walmart eGift Card for the difference!
  • Layaway: Customers taking advantage of Walmart’s holiday layaway with no opening fee can stretch dollars further by paying at their own pace through Dec. 15.
  • Ad Match: Walmart’s great prices are backed by its Ad Match Guarantee. Stores will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product.

Is the Razor A Kick Scooter on your child's Christmas wish list?

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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