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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Which Christmas Gifts are Lasting?

Uploaded: Jan 12, 2021
It has been over 2 weeks since Christmas Day. Our decorations are back in the closet and we are enjoying the break before Valentines Day. Some Christmas presents have already lost their appeal while others are new favorites.

Whenever I buy gifts for our kids I try to buy a couple that will be exciting to open but may lose their appeal quickly. These are usually items high on our kids’ birthday/Christmas lists that they saw in toy catalogs, commercials, or in a toy store. And a couple of presents that may not be as exciting to open but will hopefully keep their interest longer. Presents that are both exciting to open and long lasting are ideal, but that is a lot to ask from a single toy.

But every year, there are at least a couple of presents that surprise me. Here are some of our surprise favorite gifts that are lasting longer than I expected:

1. Aquarellum Painting Kit: Our kids always enjoy painting and drawing. In the fall our daughter received an Aquarellum painting kit for her birthday. We had never tried this kit before, but assumed it would be a fun afternoon project. But once she tried it, I quickly bought 3 more kits, one for each of our kids. Even our 3 year old was able to create gorgeous paintings that we framed and hung up in her room. I’m even tempted to buy a kit for myself and give it a try. The colors are rich, the designs are intricate and we’ve loved the end result every single time.

Not only are these kits great on their own, but they really helped give us an extra push to start experimenting more with painting, drawing and watercolor this winter. They definitely give you the confidence to create more artwork.

2. Rat-a-tat Cat: My mom sent us a couple of games after Thanksgiving. After playing lots of the same games together this year, it was nice to change things up and try something new. Rat-a-tat Cat surprisingly turned into a favorite. It is a simple card game geared for our younger 2 kids, but it has a nice mix of luck and strategy to keep all 3 of our kids happy and challenged.

One game of Rat-a-tat cat is very short, but it is a fun way to get the ball rolling and turn the evening into family game night.

3. Peloton: I started using Peloton around Christmas 2019. I especially enjoyed using it when going for a run while our kids were at school. In March I decided to put my outdoor runs on hold. It was a challenge to incorporate intense HIIT Peloton workouts into my week when all 3 kids were home. I almost paused my Peloton membership, but I’m glad I kept it going. We had fun doing the 5 minute Family brain breaks together. It was a great way to break up the day and use up some extra energy while stuck at home. I just saw my year in review and, while I may not have worked out for as many minutes as I had originally planned, these 5 minute brain breaks were very helpful this past year. This fall I was able to start doing more Peloton HIIT workouts on my own and I’m excited to see how many more minutes will be in my 2021 year in review.
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Posted by Dad of 2, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows,
3 hours ago

Dad of 2 is a registered user.

Some "children's" games are surprisingly fun and strategic. Ducks in a Row was great for younger kids. Check out Gobblet Gobblers, which is more fun and easier to play than the adult version of the game (just Gobblet)--we've had that one for ages. Labyrinth is still played after 10 years. Now my teen girl will play Mastermind with me and always gets the code within 5 turns. I tie her, but haven't beaten her in a long time...


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