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Many children got wonderful toys this holiday season (including me), but before long the allure of a new toy wears off and the lust for a new one begins. Toyaroo is to toys what Netflix is to movies; you may want to see a movie, but not own it, and now you can rent a toy your children can play with and not own it.

For everyone who is wary of renting a “used” toy, Toyaroo inspects and sanitizes all their toys before shipping them out and they allow you a free 14 day trial before you sign up for their program. You can choose from popular name brands like Baby Einstein, Fisher Price, and Discovery, or select based on age group, or type of toy, e.g. electronic, musical, or award winners.

Different plans and pricing are available depending on how long you want to keep your toy (30 or 60 days) and how many toys you want delivered on your rotation; plans start at $24.99 for four toys every 60 days and for $52.99 you can get eight toys every 30 days. Think of this as free toy recycling, with the added bonus that you aren’t paying to own when your children are only interested in short term rentals. Even if you sign up for the most expensive package, you will still spend about 25% of what it would have cost you to buy 96 name brand toys in a year, and that can save you enough to buy a nice toy for yourself!

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>Today’s post is short, just like the subject:)

I don’t have any children, but several of my friends are parents or soon to be parents, so today’s post is for anyone with children, expecting children, or who want to buy some presents for a child.

The LA Kid’s Consignment Sale is in Burbank starting today and going on through Sunday from 9-5pm. There will be over 60,000 items on sale, including clothes, toys, and books. For the best selection, go early, for the super bargain, go on Sunday when everything will be 50% off. The address is 157 W. Providencia Ave. in Burbank, and they accept cash, credit (no American Express cards) and debit cards only.

Go shop and save in a big way for the small ones!

I started using Open Table years ago just to find restaurants which were open and had availability for last minute dinner plans with friends, but now it has expanded to include ratings and reviews by diners, special promotions for artisanal dinners, wine events, and special occasion menus. If you make your restaurant reservations through Open Table, (it’s a free service) you get points for dining vouchers to use at any restaurant in their system, just think of it as a frequent dinner award system. They even have a mobile app for those who prefer to use their phones for everything other than phone calls.

Through July 3, you can take advantage of using Open Table to reserve a table for Kid’s Restaurant Week in Orange County. A family of four can eat for $20-$40 for lunch or $30-$60 for dinner. Bluewater Grill has a special price which calculates the kid’s price at their age x .25, and at Anaheim House, Savannah Chop House, Riptide, Lulu’s, Marrakesh, JT Schmid’s, K’ya, and Don the Beachcomber’s, kids get their meals free (with paying adults).

So take advantage of feeding your kids for free, and not having to do any dishes this week.

Everyone who knows me also knows that I go to many G and PG rated movies because I can not watch violence and I love happy endings. Even though I do not have children, I end up seeing films made for families because they are made for my tastes, not that I only watch children’s films; I do also enjoy adult dramas and comedies.

With movie ticket prices hovering around $10 per person, taking a family out can cost a small fortune these days, especially if you also buy snacks and drinks for everyone. And with so many films coming out in 3D today, premium prices are hard to avoid these days. Regal Theaters is giving families a break starting today through August, they are offering 10:00 AM showings of G and PG rated films FREE on Tuesday and Wednesday! There are participating cinemas throughout the US, so check this link for the movies being offered and to find the one nearest to you. The films are not the newest releases, but if you missed “Where the Wild Things Are”, “Planet 51″, Monsters vs. Aliens”, or “Charlotte’s Web”, you can catch them this time.

With a free movie, you can even afford to buy popcorn, candy, and drinks at the movies.

If you live in Southern California, you can see dolphins up close in their natural habitat instead of a habitat built for them by humans on a Dolphin Safari.

The boats leave from Dana Point everyday, all year around and they take between 22-26 people on each trip aboard a 35 foot sailing Catamaran. The way the boat is built allows you to see the dolphins swimming closely beside and even under the boat with viewing areas underneath the deck so that you see the dolphins swimming around you underwater! There is also an underwater camera and a flat screen if you prefer to stay above deck. You may of course bring your own camera or camcorder to record everything yourself, but since the owner and Captain has filmed an award winning documentary on dolphins, I would leave the camera work to the professional.

For anyone who has about 3 hours and $55, including children ($35 for kids 3-12) and people who may have physical disabilities, this is a trip where you can get close to Dolphins and whales in your own neighborhood. If for some reason the day you sail out you do not see any dolphins, you can go on another trip for 50% off and if you still see no dolphins, then your third trip is free; but 85% of the time you will see dolphins and even some whales on your first trip.

Instead of driving along Pacific Coast Highway for a view of the ocean, why not take a trip on the ocean for a view of some dolphins and whales?

>If you live in Southern California, you can see dolphins up close in their natural habitat instead of a habitat built for them by humans on a Dolphin Safari.

The boats leave from Dana Point everyday, all year around and they take between 22-26 people on each trip aboard a 35 foot sailing Catamaran. The way the boat is built allows you to see the dolphins swimming closely beside and even under the boat with viewing areas underneath the deck so that you see the dolphins swimming around you underwater! There is also an underwater camera and a flat screen if you prefer to stay above deck. You may of course bring your own camera or camcorder to record everything yourself, but since the owner and Captain has filmed an award winning documentary on dolphins, I would leave the camera work to the professional.

For anyone who has about 3 hours and $55, including children ($35 for kids 3-12) and people who may have physical disabilities, this is a trip where you can get close to Dolphins and whales in your own neighborhood. If for some reason the day you sail out you do not see any dolphins, you can go on another trip for 50% off and if you still see no dolphins, then your third trip is free; but 85% of the time you will see dolphins and even some whales on your first trip.

Instead of driving along Pacific Coast Highway for a view of the ocean, why not take a trip on the ocean for a view of some dolphins and whales?

Sometimes the kid in all of us wants to play, and having a kid in tow makes these places even more fun because discovering new things can be both entertaining and educational.

If you love to see what the cars of the future will look like, then head over to the Petersen Auto Museum. You don’t have to wait for the annual auto show to see concept cars. They are all here, along with old hand crank cars in beautiful vintage condition.

There are always interesting exhibits at the California Science Center. The current attraction that is drawing kids and adults alike is the Human Body exhibit which has skinless bodies on display for a slightly morbid and fascinating look “inside” human (and animal) bodies. There are also other exhibits that are scientific without being creepy if you don’t want to have nightmares after you leave.

If stars and planets are fascinating to you, then the Griffith Observatory’s new renovation will enthrall you. With newly updated exhibits and a face-lifted building, this is the place to dream of traveling through the stars to planets beyond.

The best way to learn is to be entertained; go entertain yourself with educational kid stuff!


>Sometimes the kid in all of us wants to play, and having a kid in tow makes these places even more fun because discovering new things can be both entertaining and educational.

If you love to see what the cars of the future will look like, then head over to the Petersen Auto Museum. You don’t have to wait for the annual auto show to see concept cars. They are all here, along with old hand crank cars in beautiful vintage condition.

There are always interesting exhibits at the California Science Center. The current attraction that is drawing kids and adults alike is the Human Body exhibit which has skinless bodies on display for a slightly morbid and fascinating look “inside” human (and animal) bodies. There are also other exhibits that are scientific without being creepy if you don’t want to have nightmares after you leave.

If stars and planets are fascinating to you, then the Griffith Observatory’s new renovation will enthrall you. With newly updated exhibits and a face-lifted building, this is the place to dream of traveling through the stars to planets beyond.

The best way to learn is to be entertained; go entertain yourself with educational kid stuff!


>I have only babysat once in my life, for about half an hour, for a child who was eight, so my experience with children is just slightly more than my knowledge of music (see my post about music). Because my friends have children, I have had to think of things to do with them when they come to visit me with their parents (my friends). The challenge is to find things that would not bore them and that would still be enjoyable for the adults; it’s like a balancing act on a high wire, one false step and you land in an embarrassing fall. Hollywood is a great place to begin a Kid Stuff day, with entertainment galore in the place where movies and magic mix.

One no fail option is the week-end brunch at the Magic Castle which is the only time anyone under 21 is allowed into the private club. It is the most casual attire requirement for the castle (no jacket or ties for men), but you will still need an invitation from a member to attend unless you spend the night at the Magic Castle Hotel (see earlier post).

While in Hollywood, another great place is the El Capitan Theater across the street from the new Hollywood and Highland complex and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. There are always some interactive activities for the current Disney movie, including props and sometimes live actors doing plays or scenes from the movie.

If you want to feel like you are really on a Hollywood set, then head over to the Hollywood Museum which has everything from the jail cell of Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” to “Planet of the Apes” costumes and “Rocky’s” boxing gloves. A little of everything for movie buffs of all ages.

For the starstruck kid or adult, Hollywood can be a fun discovery.

I have only babysat once in my life, for about half an hour, for a child who was eight, so my experience with children is just slightly more than my knowledge of music (see my post about music). Because my friends have children, I have had to think of things to do with them when they come to visit me with their parents (my friends). The challenge is to find things that would not bore them and that would still be enjoyable for the adults; it’s like a balancing act on a high wire, one false step and you land in an embarrassing fall. Hollywood is a great place to begin a Kid Stuff day, with entertainment galore in the place where movies and magic mix.

One no fail option is the week-end brunch at the Magic Castle which is the only time anyone under 21 is allowed into the private club. It is the most casual attire requirement for the castle (no jacket or ties for men), but you will still need an invitation from a member to attend unless you spend the night at the Magic Castle Hotel (see earlier post).

While in Hollywood, another great place is the El Capitan Theater across the street from the new Hollywood and Highland complex and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. There are always some interactive activities for the current Disney movie, including props and sometimes live actors doing plays or scenes from the movie.

If you want to feel like you are really on a Hollywood set, then head over to the Hollywood Museum which has everything from the jail cell of Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” to “Planet of the Apes” costumes and “Rocky’s” boxing gloves. A little of everything for movie buffs of all ages.

For the starstruck kid or adult, Hollywood can be a fun discovery.

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