Thursday, April 30, 2015

Birthday Gift Registries; Yay or Nay?

  There has been much discussion about birthday gift registries over the internet lately.  An episode of The View on March 30th 2015 dedicated their Hot Topics segment to birthday gift registries and a post on exploded a series of both positive and negative comments.

ABC The View March 30th 2015

  I received a registry for a birthday party once.  It was approximately four years ago, I was a first time mom to a 2 year old girl and the registry was for an 8 year old girl.  Initially, I didn't know what to make of it and I definitely had mixed feelings. Part of me felt that it was slightly presumptuous of the parents to send me a list of their daughter's wishes but, upon further reflection, it was clear that I had no clue what to get an 8 year old.  The list provided much better guidance than the alternative of taking a shot in the dark and making sure I got a gift receipt for easy returns. 

  As the founder of, I clearly support and encourage making gift-giving easy on already busy parents.  My main complaint regarding birthday gift registries is where the registry is created.  The gift registry I received four years ago was made at a specialty toy store 30 kms away from my house.  The traveling posed quite the inconvenience for me and was the sole reason why I didn't use the gift registry for this event.

Knowing that there was no way I would be attending the birthday party empty handed, I was grateful to the registry for proving some guidance and a glimpse into the birthday girl's interests.  Although I did not buy off the registry, I used the items registered as a guide to help me choose a gift at a store closer to me and within my budget.

  The main difference between a store registry and is that guests will never be inconvenienced or have to commit to a gift above their budget.  WishGift allows guests to contribute towards the group-gift right from their computer and they are free to contribute any amount they desire.

Why I WishGift:

For Us:

  By trade, I am a teacher and my husband is a technical writer for an aerospace company.  We make decent salaries and purchased a cottage in a beautiful suburban area two years ago.  Despite our middle class lifestyle, life is expensive!  No matter how much we budget, there are always unplanned expenses for our family and repairs to maintain our house and cars.  Over the years, has allowed us to provide experiences and items for our kids that we may not have been able to afford comfortably.  

For Guests: was an unintentional project and came to be following my daughter's second birthday.  Prior to Aliah's birthday, several party guests began asking what they could get her for her party.  Although I had requested "no-gifts", our family members and close friends insisted on getting presents.  My mother-in-law suggested mentioning the swingset we wanted to purchase and offer it as an option our guests could chip-in towards.  I casually began mentioning the swingset as an option and to my surprise, many of our guests chose to contribute in lieu of a wrapped gift.  On the day of her party, the swingset was installed and ready to be played with by all the kids.  What took me back most that day was how many family members and friends thanked ME for offering them an item they could contribute towards.  They expressed how much simpler it was for them to contribute towards the gift, while I was left in awe at the amazing play structure that stood in our yard that was now paid for.

  Final Take:

  Whether you are for traditional wrapped gifts, no gifts, charity donation gifts, store gift registries or group-gift contribution registries, there should never be an expectation from your guests!  A gift is (and should remain) something given willingly to someone without payment or assumption.
  For me, having a group-gift that my event guests can contribute towards makes it easier on them (their words not mine) and allows for our kids to receive unique items or amazing experiences.  I like the idea of giving my guests an option to make gift-giving as simple as possible and always make it clear that the registered gift is a suggestion should they be looking for ideas.   When I am invited to a birthday that has a WishGift, I am thrilled at thought of not having to shop, decide and cross my fingers that I bought something that will be enjoyed.   WishGift and group-gift giving is just my way of taking the stress off of giving gifts altogether.

Like the idea of giving-together?  Follow my blog or join me on my social networking sites to share gift ideas and inspire. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

LeapPad 2 Post-Play Product Review

Average Price in Canada: $79.99

During the 2012 holiday season, several of my family members were looking for gift ideas for my then 4 year-old daughter and 2 year-old son.  I was intrigued by the LeapPad 2 tablet because of it's durability, educational game selection for both genders and the ability to create multiple user profiles.  Furthermore, we had friends whose children had and loved the LeapPad 2.  As always, I had read reviews on the tablet prior so I was aware that games were relatively pricey and that batteries would have to be changed often.
We WishGifted the LeapPad2, rubberized skin case, a/c adapter and 2 additional games for $135.00 CDN

Post-Play Review (March 2014):

We have had the LeapPad 2 for 1 year and 2 months.  Both my daughter and son (now 5 and 3 years old) have been using the tablet and I like that I was able to create separate user profiles with games for each of them.  We do not have many games since they are so pricey but my daughter enjoys the apps that came with the tablet (especially the camera and artstudio) and the Disney Tangled Learning Game app we purchased.  My son, although younger, is not as engaged by the apps that came on the tablet but he does enjoy the Cars 2 Ultra Ebook app we purchased.

Do they Play with it?

Although I had lots of opportunity to teach about "sharing" when they first got the LeapPad 2, there wasn't too much arguing over the tablet 6 months after they got it.  My son is (and has always been) much less interested by the tablet than my daughter however I noticed that my daughter's enjoyment began to decrease 9 months after getting it (granted she didn't have much of a variety).  In December 2013, I noticed that the LeapPad 2 had been tucked away in a drawer but since pulling it out, I have revived the tablet's novelty.

Update Issue:

The LeapPad 2 was in a drawer for about 3 months before I took it out and my kids acted like they had a new toy.  It worked for approximately 1 month and then needed a software update.  No big deal however,  updating the LeapPad 2 was NOT EASY!
I'm fairly computer savvy but was unable to update the tablet on my own.  I installed the LeapFrog Connect application on my Mac, opened the program however it would never open and would eventually freeze my computer.

To update the LeapPad 2, follow the steps below:

2) Plug the LeapPad 2 to the computer with the white connecting wire but keep the tablet OFF (mine actually wouldn't even turn on)

3) Open the LeapFrog Connect application

4) Click "On This LeapPad"

 5) NOW turn on the LeapPad 2 tablet

6) Don't touch it! The tune up will began automatically

 ** It took less than 1 minute to go from 0%-40% but the update took longer from this point on.  I was stuck at 40% for about 5 minutes and was then stuck at 80% for about 10 minutes.  During the update, the LeapPad 2 shut off but when I turned it back on, it just continued the update from where it left off (40%).  In total, it took about 20 minutes to update the LeapPad 2.

Final Thoughts: 

- My daughter (the oldest of my two children) has always seemed to enjoy the LeapPad 2 tablet more than her younger brother.
- The novelty of having their very own tablet lasted about 6 months.
- My kids "re-discovered" their LeapPad 2 after it was in a drawer for about 3 months but have been enjoying it since.
- I was going crazy trying to figure out how to update the LeapPad 2.  Once I figured out the specifics (when to open the program, when to turn on the tablet...) the update ran smoothly but took approximately 20 minutes to complete.

**All content of this review is solely my own. My opinion, my experiences and my thoughts.  All about being honest to help you choose the right product.

Like the idea of giving-together?  Follow my blog or join me on my social networking sites to share gift ideas and inspire. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Disney Princess Dress-Up Kit Post-Play Product Review

3 years ago I WishGifted a 12 piece Princess dress-up kit from Disney. It cost about $250 (with shipping to Canada) and included 5 gowns (Arielle, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella and Jasmine), a petitcoat, a pink boa, two pairs of gloves, a gown bag and a hanger.  There were plenty of cheaper options I could have chosen that would have fulfilled my then 4-years-olds dreams of being a princess, but we are a family who buys based on reviews and this Disney kit had a terrific rating.

  To say that this dress-up kit has been "used" would be a real understatement.  For the past 3 years, this set has been the highlight for my daughter, her friends, cousins and...her little brother. 

Storytime reading to the cat


 1) Three years into having the dresses and they still look new without one single rip!  If you've ever purchased a Razzle Dazzle dress or Halloween princess dress, you'll be quite impressed by this too.  The last 2 non-Disney store dresses I purchased pretty much frayed, ripped and fell apart in no time.  My daughter could not even get six months worth of wear out of those dresses so having had these dresses for this long without any tears or rips really impresses me.

2) My daughter really loved having the petitcoat.  I'm so happy this was separate piece as it easily provided different looks for each of the dresses. 



  1)  Get ready for glitter!  Many of the reviews I read prior to purchasing the Princess dress-up kit warned about glitter and this was no lie.  The trail of glitter isn't my biggest complaint but if this is something that would get to you, be prepared.

  2)  The pink boa.  Approximately two months after buying the set, I started finding pieces of pink chiffon fabric around the house.  At first, it wasn't very noticeable on the boa but after awhile, as the pieces of fabric continued to detach, there were obvious patches missing on the boa.  The fabric is sewn so although it may have been a fairly simple stich-fix, I got rid of the boa when the majority of the fabric became detached.

3) The gloves.  Please keep in mind that we have had the Disney Store Princess dress-up kit for over 3 years however, as soon as I think I can get away with it, the gloves are the next pieces to go.  They are completely worn out and most of the silver and gold has faded at the fingertips.  Although they are still hole and rip free, they are in pretty desperate shape.

4) The bag and the hanger were useless to my daughter.  No point, no fun and the kit could have gone without them.


1) Dress length.  The dresses in this set are "short" dresses as opposed to "gown" style.  I was very happy by this as I was looking for the shorter style to avoid a tripping hazard.  I purchased this set when she was 4 years old and bought one size up.  Buying the small 5/6 was perfect as it definitely extended the wear time on the dresses.  


My daughter is now a month shy of her 7th birthday and is still teetering the princess phase.  She refuses to let go of her 5 Disney Princess dresses but they are noticeably too short on her.  We keep them for younger guests to enjoy and because of the high quality and durability, we just bought (and put away) the Elsa costume for her upcoming birthday!


The 7 piece Disney Princess dress-up kid reviewed above has since been retired.  The newest Disney dress-up kit includes: five Disney Princess gowns (Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Tiana, and Rapunzel), a reversible capelet and an organza garment bag.

**All content of this review is solely my own. My opinion, my experiences and my thoughts.  All about being honest to help you choose the right product.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ski WishGift: 4 year old gift-idea

  While at a child's birthday party, how often have you watched the birthday boy or girl, often unenthusiastically, open a slew of gifts only to see that the very item you purchased has just been unwrapped?  How often have you heard parents say that his/her child has "so many toys" while questioning where to put the new birthday loot?  Have you ever thought that the money spent on the wrapped gifts your child received could have been put towards something amazing?

  I have been group-gifting for four years now and our latest WishGift has been a complete success.  I began group-gifting in 2008 after guests at my daughter's birthday offered to contribute towards a swing set we had purchased in lieu of a traditional wrapped gift.  The result culminated with my guests expressing how much easier they found it to contribute towards a big item while I was left feeling shocked at the beautiful swing set that stood in our backyard (Click here to read about it)

  Since I have been registering group-gifts as a gift option for a several years now, many of my guests expect me to register something on for my kids' birthdays.  They find that an online group-gift contribution makes their lives easier since they no longer have to think about what to get, shop for the gift and then worry that we already have the item.  They simply contribute to a gift or activity with no worries.   My guests also know that there is no expectation and that we are very appreciative for whatever gift-method they choose (we even condone "no-gifts' but that never works).  For us, having a group-gift means giving our kids an opportunity (or item) that we would have not been able to afford on our own (am I the only parent who finds most activities or sports for kids super pricey?!?). 

  For our daughter's 6th birthday, we registered equestrian lessons at our local Pony-Club.  The experience that Aliah had during her 10 week session was so incredible and lifelong, we chose to stick with an activity WishGift for our son's 4th birthday. 

  Choosing an activity for Scott was quite easy.  My son has always been agile, active and fearless.  It took 1 Warren Miller video to see his eyes light up as he watched people plow, twist, jump and turn down a mountain.   For his WishGift reveal on the day of his birthday, we bought him a helmet that he unwrapped in front of everyone (we always have the gift or part of the gift ready to be unwrapped) and shared with our guests that he was registered for a 10 week session of ski lessons.

  Check out the smile on his face when he told him he would be learning ski.  I doubt another Superhero toy would have elicited such joy.

  Fast-Forward 3 months and we are now 1 week away from his first lesson.  Yesterday, he went to the hill to take his ski school picture and then to the ski store to rent his equipment (many ski stores now rent new equipment for the season).  He was professionally fitted for his boots and got to choose his skis.  When he came home he proudly showed off his new gear and giggled as he waddled around the house with his new ski boots and skis.  I have no doubt that this $500 WishGift was a great choice that he will remember for years to come.  Can't wait to share all the pics I'll be taking with my family and friends that made this WishGift possible.

Trying out his new gear

 January 6th 2015

Scott had his first lesson and absolutely LOVES it!  The only problem we have is that he has NO fear and thus no desire to stop.

Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate his 4th birthday and for making 

this WishGift happen.  There is no shortage of smiles when he is on the 


Like the idea of giving-together?  Follow my blog or join me on my social networking sites to share gift ideas and inspire. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Toys that make children happy

If you have children you are probably spending lots and lots (and lots) of money on toys or gifts for kids.  You have probably also at some point asked yourself why the $20 to $25 range of toys looks so chinsey.  It seems like the cost of toys and gifts for kids is constantly rising (have you seen the price of a Monster High DOLL?!?) and to get a substantial looking gift, group-gifting is a viable option.  

The National Toy Hall of Fame released the Top 10 Toys that have been enjoyed and loved for generations.  Do you think it is the more simple, non-expensive toys or the high ranged, pricey toys that made the cut?  Check out the link below to see what made the list. 

Bonus photo number 11 is definitely a hit for my 4-year-old.  There is definitely no better toy he could receive!


Top 10 Toys at the National Toy Hall of Fame

Like the idea of giving-together?  Follow my blog or join me on my social networking sites to share gift ideas and inspire. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Baby Shower WishGift

Have you ever received an invitation to an event, excited to be going but stressing about what to give as a gift?

A few months ago I received an invitation to a baby shower.  I was really happy to have been included in the event but initially panicked at the thought of having to buy a gift.  I knew that my friend didn't have a registry, wasn't finding out the gender and had already had a baby shower!  

Luckily, the host of the second baby shower realized that finding a gift may be difficult and registered the one big ticket item this mom-to-be was really hoping for...a BOB jogging stroller.

As is with any WishGift registered, I get overly excited when I know someone's about to get a gift they'll truly love and use for years to come so I was thrilled when the stroller reached it's goal of $550!  However this WishGift not only reached the target goal but actually went over and the mom-to-be received an additional $275 :) :)

End result, none of us had to rack our brains looking for a gift, this first-time mama received an amazing jogging stroller AND an extra $275!  Simple gift-giving at it's best!!

The beautiful mama enjoying her new BOB jogging stroller

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Giveaway all began with a swingset; a gift my family and friends chose to contribute towards in lieu of a traditional wrapped gift (see The Beginning for more details).  The reviews were so positive that I took the simple concept of giving-together and launched a website.

The idea is simple:
1- you register an item
2- invite guests to contribute towards it in lieu of a traditional gift
3- use the money collected to purchase the item

Since the launch of WishGift in 2010, the most amazing gifts have been given and received.  Swingsets, motorized ride-on vehicles, dress-up kits, strollers, gaming consoles, dollhouses etc. 

If you like the idea of giving together to give and receive amazing gifts, help spread the word by inviting friends to "like" us on Facebook, "follow" us on Twitter, and "pin" on Pinterest.

I'll be awarding a Visa Gift Card, to a lucky winner drawn at random.  Just follow the Raffelcopter instructions below and increase your chances of winning!

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Like the idea of giving-together?  Follow my blog or join me on my social networking sites to share gift ideas and inspire.