Archive for October, 2010

What’s Hot: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

There’s a new Zelda game coming!  Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a new 1 player, action-adventure wii game with a planned release date of early 2011.  A prequel to Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword will feature integrated, true 1 to 1 sword fighting using the wii MotionPlus, new weapons, and a new targeting system.  Holding the Wiiremote (with MotionPlus) is your sword, and the Nunchuk is your shield.  Graphics will be a colorful, impressionist art style – a mix of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker like a painting come to life.

As the story begins, Link is just an ordinary boy in Skyloft, a group of islands floating above the clouds.  He discovers the Skyward Sword and is caught up in an adventure, traveling between Skyloft and the world below.  Mysteries abound, and the Skyward Sword is more than just a sword.

If you want to know more, I recommend checking out an excellent article by girl gamer (yeah!) Audrey Drake, at – Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and the Great Gold Hype:  Link’s back! 5 reasons you’re not excited, and 5 reasons you should be – which addresses concerns by Zelda fans that the latest Zelda games have been too simple and too cartoonish, and the unimpressive, jittery demo at E3 2010.

Check out Nintendo’s E3 Network site for videos, images, interview, hands-on demos, and tips & tricks for game play.  In the video of Iwata Asks (by Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo Co.), where he interviews Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto and head of development Eiji Aonuma, they talk about the importance of creating a beautiful, challenging, and dense game that Zelda fans will love to play.  They also talk about integrating the wii MotionPlus into swordplay, to create a game control system that “just feels right” to the player.

Even though the E3 2010 Skyward Sword demo did not go well, after the press show  an attendee from PC World was able to try out a demo of the game, and found the controls were precise, fluid, and intuitive. 

“After playing for a few minutes and realizing just how right the controls felt, that desire to see things pop at crazy-high resolutions faded completely away.”

Me?  The kids and I can’t wait to try out the new game-play mechanics and check out the weapons (mechanical  flying beetle thingee, whip, bow, slingshot).  I do miss the fact that my favorite weapon of all time, the hookshot, doesn’t appear to be part of Skyward Sword.  But still, we’ll get to battle enemies, break some pots, solve some puzzles, and wander around exploring Hyrule, and if that’s not enough – the origins of the Master Sword will be revealed.  I have faith that Miyamoto-san and crew will deliver  an enjoyable, unique, and challenging gaming experience – something familiar, and yet something new.  And, as Audrey from IGN says:

“Whenever a new console Zelda installment is about to hit the shelves, it sends a shockwave through the gaming community, setting hopes afire across the globe. A Zelda release date is like a holiday, 20 Christmases rolled into one. Because it’s not just a new game. It’s the next coming. The next Zelda.”

A sidenote, in the spirit of Halloween…  A couple of years ago, all my boys went trick or treating dressed up as Link, with green tunic and cap, Hylian shield, and Master Sword.  It was a lot of work.  And it was awesome.

Are you excited about Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.


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What’s Hot: The Ready Set – Love Like Woe

This video was brought to you by my 6th grader’s Social Studies teacher, Mrs. S., who seriously thinks kids need to take a break and have mini-dance-parties during the school day; a get-the-energy-out break, then back to focus on learning.  My kids think she is Best. Teacher. Ever.

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Reviews By Kids, For Kids: Minecraft

Review by Nick, age 15

A little more information about Minecraft

If you like Blockland, you should check out Minecraft.  All of my boys laid out their cash ($15 each) and purchased Minecraft (Alpha) over the weekend, after playing the free online version (Minecraft Classic) for a couple weeks.  They came home from school today, and said kids were sneak-playing Minecraft after school in the computer lab.

Minecraft is an online 3D sandbox style construction and survival adventure game with over 1,333,000 registered users, created by indie developer Markus “Notch” Persson from Sweden.  Everything – landscape, structures, mines, people / avatars, animals, and monsters (creepers, zombies, skeletons, spiders) – is built out of blocks or cubes, and you can play in single or multiplayer mode.  Built in Java, and published by Persson’s Mojang Specifications company, there are 2 versions:  Classic – released 5/17/09, and Alpha – released June 28, 2010.  Classic is only building with unlimited blocks; Alpha includes building, crafting, mining, and monsters.

According to the Minecraft official site at

“Minecraft is a game about placing blocks while running from skeletons. Or something like that.  The game…has has enemies and cave exploring and mining and farming and flowing water and dynamic lighting and a huge (huge) randomly generated world map. AND it has music!  Minecraft is still in alpha, but is rapidly nearing beta. I’ve only got one more feature to add; multiplayer support… The main branch of the game is currently called “Minecraft Alpha”, and is under heavy development. It can be a bit unstable at times, so don’t get too attached to your save files yet.”

For an excellent, in-depth review of Minecraft check out this article on Crave, the Gadget Blog from CNET:

“Minecraft has ancient-looking graphics, no plot, and generates massive, sandbox game worlds with seemingly infinite creative possibilities, but no clear instructions telling you what to do or how to get started.

Despite that seemingly user-unfriendly formula, Minecraft’s buzz is so strong the server hosting its Web site crashed this weekend under the weight of the incoming traffic. Spend an hour with Minecraft (which can easily spiral into two or three) and you’ll quickly understand the reason for the enthusiasm around this indie hit.

Minecraft puts you in the role of a nameless avatar. You begin the game in a randomly generated world of textured blocks that depict a gigantic, mountain-pocked environment bounded by water. You start with no inventory, and no clear concept of how to interact with the world. With a little experimentation you’ll likely soon discover that you can gather resources from the vast blocky landscape.

Spend a little time in Minecraft and the creative urge will likely take hold.”

Don’t forget to check out the comments section for the article, too, where players describe Minecraft as:

“The true beauty of this game lies in its multiplayer. When you’re on a server with 20 people, all of which are digging and building incredible creations, the game really turns into a virtual world. A very simple, and fun, virtual world.”

“What i really like about Minecraft is how anyone can play it. There is hardly any violence in Minecraft, so this is a game I could see children play as a way to express their creativity (unless you consider punching sheep for wool too violent).”

“I could see children play as a way to express their creativity…But don’t get your kids this game. It’s so addictive…

This game is more then addicting. I love it. The sandbox is really truly sandbox. No 2 games are ever alike (literally since the land is randomly generated) Its great how simplistic it all is yet can create so much.  I plan to populate many more islands/ areas and build anything I can imagine. your only limited by the resources you collect. (and what the creepers dont destroy) I cannot wait for multi-player. and invite my friends to my world along with me going to theirs. 


For more information: – official Minecraft site.

Minepedia – offers info on blocks, gameplay, servers, programs and editors, crafting recipes, and development resources, along with forums, museum, skins, development blog, IRC, and more.


Twitter – very active Minecraft Forums, along with links to Twitter, Status Blog, Play Minecraft!, Development Blog, Music Blog, Minepedia, and Minecraft IRC.

The Word of Notch – blog by indie developer Markus Persson

iPod apps:

Guide to Minecraft $.99

Minecraft Companion $.99


Your First Shelter in Minecraft (Tutorial Machinima) 

Building a starting house (Minecraft Tutorial) 

How to Survive your First Night (Minecraft Tutorial)   

What’s different between Blockland and Minecraft?

Blockland you have to install, but with Minecraft all you need is an internet connection and the executable file.  Also, you can play Minecraft in your browser because it’s made in Java.

Minecraft randomly autogenerates the landscape when you log in, and has building, crafting, mining.  The best part is the adventure game – when it becomes night, the monsters come out, and you have to stay alive (reminds me of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, when the Stalfos skeletons would come out at night…). 

Blockland has landscapes you can choose from – default ones, and custom built maps from RTB – and is basically building.  However, you can set up adventure games or building scenarios on your server as:  knife death match, TDM (Total Death Match), dodgeball game, mining, freebuild, dogfight, sniper/warfare battle, challenge, medieval RPG, city RPG, family, school, arcade, artwork, or anything else you can imagine.  You can download add-ons from RTB for maps, weapons, vehicles, games, and more, and create your own add-ons using TorqueScript.

Lastly, the Minecraft community (so far) seems to be a more friendly, less hostile group than you typically find on Blockland, with its foul language and “EPIC FAIL, NOOB!!!”


There are some amazing numbers associated with this game.  According to Wikipedia, as of October 2010, Minecraft has had over 415,000 purchases – that’s over $6.25 million!  After a recent “free to play” event, there were over 25,000 sales within a 24 hour period (that’s $375,000 in downloads in 1 day!).  Minecraft Alpha is currently 9.95 Euros, which is around $15 – a 50% discount off the price when it goes to Beta.

Clearly Minecraft is HOT and worth checking out, but keep in mind the game has some serious issues.  If you pay, don’t necessarily expect to be able to play without issues and an always-available-server.  Alpha version multiplayer has a lot of glitches – it’s alpha version, so expect it to be rough around the edges.  Also, Minecraft was down most of the day yesterday, and the website was unavailable due to hackers/DDoS attack.

Minecraft has also received many positive reviews, and there is huge interest in this creative and fun game right now.  The best thing about Minecraft is the joy of creating (building and crafting), mining resources, staying alive through the night, and playing with other people.  I’d recommend this game for ages 10 and up.

Have you played Minecraft?  What did you like/not like about it?  If you haven’t played, check it out (the free version, anyway) and tell us what you think in the comments.

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What’s Hot: Toys for holiday season 2010

Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is upon us.  Latest reports say that times may be tough, but shoppers will be buying toys and clothes for kids this holiday season, and only a few things for themselves.  They’ll also be looking for a good value and lower priced items.  Says Lisa Harnisch, Toys R Us VP, there are continued concerns about the economy, but toys for kids are “the last thing they [parents and caregivers] will cut from their budgets”.

Our family is no exception.  While we are fortunate to have income coming in, we’re watching every penny, nickel, and dime.  Christmas in the past usually meant a wii, Nintendo DSi, or iPod, along with a bunch of toys.  Last year, and this year, we are spending much less. 

Every gift has to count – it’s a delicate balance between bringing joy to your child’s heart, and not overtaxing your wallet.  Since we’ll be buying less toys overall, getting the “right” toy – one your child is wishing for, and that you can afford – is important.

With that in mind, and to give you a few ideas, here’s a look at the top and bestselling toys lists from Toys R Us, eBayAmazon, and CNNMoney.

Toys R Us Fabulous 15 – best new toys of the holiday 2010 season:

  1. Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse
  2. Cuponk
  3. Disney Princess & Me dolls
  4. Toys Story 3 Imaginext Tri County Landfill
  5. Fast Land Wild Fire RC
  6. Fisher Price Imaginext Bigfoot Monster
  7. Leapster Explorer
  8. Loopz
  9. Lego Minotaurus
  10. Monster High dolls
  11. Nerf Stampede
  12. Pillow Pets
  13. Sing-a-ma-jigs!
  14. Squinkies Cupcake Surpise! Bake Shop
  15. TOMY Tomica Hypercity Mega Station Set

Toys R Us Holiday Hot Toys List 2010 – by age group:

Baby’s First Christmas

  1. Go Baby Go™ Stride-to-Ride™ Dino from Fisher-Price®
  2. Ocean Wonders™ Deep Blue Sea™ Table from Fisher-Price®

13 months to 2 years

  1. 1-2-3 Large Zoo from Playmobil®
  2. Disney Dance Star Mickey from Fisher-Price®
  3. Lil’ Zoomers™ Spinnin’ Sounds Speedway™ from Fisher-Price®
  4. Ladybug Smart Trike

2 to 4 years

  1. Baby Alive Bouncin’ Babbles from Hasbro®
  2. Calico Critters Luxury Townhouse from International Playthings
  3. Disney-Pixar® “Toy Story 3” Imaginext™ Tri-County Landfill from Fisher-Price®
  4. Geotrax™ Transportation System Christmas in Toy Town RC Set from Fisher-Price®
  5. Imaginext™ Bigfoot the Monster from Fisher-Price®
  6. Lalaloopsy™ from MGA Entertainment®
  7. Pillow Pets™ from Ontel Products Corp.
  8. Small Schoolhouse from Playmobil®
  9. Sing-a-ma-jigs!™ from Mattel®
  10. Squinkies™ Cupcake Surprise! Bake Shop from blip® toys
  11. Thomas & Friends® Thomas’ Mountain Adventure by MEGA Bloks ®
  12. Tomica Hypercity Mega Station Set from TOMY®

5 to 7 years

  1. Disney-Pixar® “Toy Story 3” U-COMMAND Buzz Lightyear from Thinkway®
  2. Disney® Princess & Me™ dolls from JAKKS Pacific®
  3. Fan’s Choice City Public Transport from LEGO® Systems, Inc.
  4. Fast Lane® Wild Fire RC from Toys”R”Us®
  5. Leapster Explorer™ from LeapFrog®
  6. Loopz™ from Mattel®
  7. Monster High™ Cleo DeNile™ and Deuce Gorgon™ doll set from Mattel®
  8. Magic Orbeez Maker from Maya Group
  9. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back AT-AT™ in vintage packaging from Hasbro®

8 – 11 years

  1. Air Hogs® Pocket Copter™ from Spin Master™
  2. CSI Junior Investigator Kit from Toys”R”Us®
  3. Cuponk™ from Hasbro® Games
  4. Ground Force® Drifter from Razor®
  5. Minotaurus from LEGO® Systems, Inc.
  6. NERF N-Strike™ Stampede ECS™ from Hasbro®

Big Kids

  1. Kinect for Xbox 360 from Microsoft®  
  2. PlayStation® Move Bundle with Sports Champions™ from Sony PlayStation®
  3. SCRABBLE FLASH from Hasbro® Games

eBay, Most Popular Searches, Toys:

  1. Transformers
  2. Lego
  3. Lego Star Wars
  4. Star Wars
  5. Nerf
  6. Wonder Woman invisible jet (a Comic Con 2010 inside joke)
  7. Hot wheels
  8. Predator
  9. Power Wheels
  10. Bakugan

Amazon bestselling toys:

  1. Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether
  2. Disney’s Toy Story Buzz Lightyear inflatable Jet Pack
  3. Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
  4. Syma R/C Helicopter
  5. Bananagrams
  6. Uncle Milton Moon In My Room
  7. Baby Einstein Bendy Ball
  8. Playskool Alphie
  9. Fisher Price Sesame Street Silly Sounds Remote
  10. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks
  11. Multi Voice Changer by Toysmith
  12. Lego Ultimate Building Set – 6166
  13. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel
  14. Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit
  15. Alex Toys Friends 4 Ever Bracelet Making Kit
  16. Lego Hogwarts game – 3862
  17. LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table
  18. LeapFrog Scribble and Write
  19. Buddy Bands
  20. Silly Bandz (sea creatures, princess, pets)
  21. Loopz Game
  22. Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle – 4842
  23. Melissa & Doug See & Spell
  24. Qwirkle Board Game
  25. Lego Hagrid’s Hut – 4738
  26. Nerf N-Strike Stampede
  27. Scrabble Flash Cubes
  28. Uncle Milton Rainbow in My Room
  29. Lego Quidditch match – 4737
  30. Fisher-Price Sing-A-Ma-Jigs, Pink
  31. Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock
  32. LeapFrog Leapster 2 Learning Game System
  33. Squinkies Cupcake Surprise Bakeshop
  34. Lego City Advent Calendar – 2824
  35. Settlers of Catan Board Game
  36. Lego Creationary Game – 3844
  37. Bakugan Dragonoid Colossus
  38. Yookidoo Flow ‘N’Fill Spout
  39. Squinkies Bubble Pack, Series 1

CNNMoney – Hottest toys of 2010:

  1. Air Hogs MotoFrenzy
  2. Hot Wheels Stealth Rides
  3. Paper Jamz
  4. Nerf N-Strike Stampede Blaster
  5. Sing-A-Ma-Jigs
  6. Monster High dolls
  7. Disney Princess & Me dolls
  8. Loopz game
  9. Scrabble Flash game
  10. Leapster Explorer
  11. V. Reader
  12. Real Construction
  13. Lego games
  14. Squinkies
  15. Zoobles
  16. Tonka Chuck & Friends Chuck’s Stunt Park

There you have it – lots of great gift ideas, lots of price ranges, and lots of boy or girl targeted items to choose from.  Start your planning!

Photo by plindberg.

P.S.  In the next week or so, I’ll be updating my What’s Hot:  E rated video games for kids list.  One recently released game sure to make the list is Kirby’s Epic Yarn – here’s a teaser:


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What’s Hot: Crazy Loop (Mm ma ma)

The video is slightly weird and kinky, but this is absolutely a fun, butt-moving song.  We play it when we need to burn through a huge pile of laundry to fold, or sometimes just rock out in the car to it.  Although, my kids often say, “Mom, please, the windows are open”, and roll their eyes.

And yes, the lead singer is Dan Balan, who used to be in O-Zone, most famous for The Numa Numa Song, or Dragostea Din Tei (which translates to Under the Linden Tree).  I heard Numa Numa for the first time during my son’s 4th grade talent show, when a very shy girl in his class picked up a mic and blasted through it – very memorable.

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Cooking With Kids: Bread machine pizza dough

Pizza dough is crazy versatile, making delicious pizza, rolls, breadsticks, or calzones.  And with a bread machine, it’s easy as pie.  Well, a lot easier than pie, actually.  I had my bread machine for a year before some wonderful friend of mine told me I could use it to make pizza dough.  It’s all in putting the ingredients in, in the correct order.  I *love* my bread machine now.

Kids love eating and making pizza.  They can help by loading the ingredients (supervised, of course), spreading the dough, pricking the dough, grating the cheese, and putting on toppings.  My kids favorite thing is making the twisty garlic knots.  So have fun with it!  Let your bread machine do the hard part, let your kids help, use paper plates, and you’ve got an easy, delicious hot dinner that everyone will love, with easy clean up.  Yum…

Bread machine – load her up!  (follow the sequence, please)

1 ½ cups warm (not hot, not cool) water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar (along the sides)
1 package active dry yeast (make a small well in the top of the flour, like the crater at the top of a volcano, and dump in there)

Set bread machine to Dough (a non-baking setting)

When cycle is finished, let rise 30 – 60 minutes.

Let’s make this pizza!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pull out 2 pizza pans/cookie sheets, and put a Tablespoon of olive oil in the middle of each.  You’ll need to oil your hands, to be able to handle the dough.

Punch dough down once, then remove from bread machine loaf pan.

Pinch the dough into 2 equal sections.

Plop a dough ball on each cookie sheet.

Pushing down and out, firmly but gently with your oiled hands, spread the dough to make a circle, or square, or heart shape.  (If your child makes a hole, just pinch it closed and direct them to a thicker section.)

Grab a fork, and prick the dough all over a bunch of times.

Bake pizza crusts for 10 minutes.  (I have a finicky oven, so I bake 5 minutes, then switch top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top, then bake 5 more minutes.)

Pull out pizza and place on top of your stove.

Add your toppings!  I always add sauce first, then cheese, then toppings – it bakes better, and kids can see what they’re eating, and pick it off if they don’t like it.

Bake again for 8 – 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.

Remove from oven, and let cool on top of stove for 10 – 15 minutes.  Slice, then serve.

Some topping and dough ideas:

Cheese pizza – pizza/tomato sauce, grated mozzarella cheese, pepperoni.

Feta veggie pizza – drained and crumbled feta cheese, grape tomatoes (cut in half), diced red peppers, mozzarella cheese, and a sprinkle of dried basil (even better – wait until after pizza cooks, then tear up some fresh basil and sprinkle it on top).

Garlic knots – pinch off small handfuls of raw dough, then twist into knots, or shape them.  Let them rise (a second time) on the tray for 30 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes or until just golden.  While they’re in the oven, mix up some melted butter, olive oil, chopped garlic, a sprinkle of parsley, and some parmesan cheese.  Brush on the garlic sauce while the rolls are still hot.

Mini pizza’s – same as above, except instead of 2 big pizza’s, keep pinching dough in half until you get 8 pieces, then flatten to 8 mini pizza’s.

Calzones – spread out your dough, then layer one side of each circle with your toppings.  Fold the empty other side of the dough over the top, and crimp the edges with a fork.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes.  Ideas for fillings include mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, or mozzarella cheese and sausage, or an assortment of different cheeses.  Usually you don’t put sauce inside, but warm up a good-sized bowl of sauce and dunk your calzone pieces into it.  (Good sauces include pizza sauce or marinara sauce.)

Photo by Oakleyoriginals.

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What’s Hot: Squinkies

Last year it was Zhu Zhu Pets – this year it’s Squinkies!

What’s a Squinkie?

Made by Blip Toys, Squinkies are small, soft and squishy plastic toys that come in a variety of characters, including miniature animals and people (kitties, puppies, babies, ponies, and friends) and themed accessories like birthday cakes and princess.  Cute and fun, each Squinkie comes in a small, hinged plastic bubble ball – sort of like a gumball machine toy.  Squinkies can be used as a pencil topper, and are portable, collectible, and tradeable,.  There are also a number of Squinkie playsets that are bubble dispensers, like a gumball machine, along with a tote case to carry your collection in.

There is also a Squinkies Surprize Inside website, where you can track your collection online, and find fun activities including coloring sheets, mazes, and dot to dots.

Reviews for Squinkies are very positive, most saying kids love to play with and collect them; some say due to Squinkies squishy nature, they can be delicate and parts can break off.  Also, for the bracelet and ring sets, the Squinkie figures don’t always mount securely, and can easily fall off and get lost.

Recommended for ages 4 and up.  Due to their small size, Squinkies are a choking hazard, and not recommended for kids under 3.  So, if your child still likes to put everything in their mouth, this is not the toy for you.

Sold out!

Squinkies are the likely to be the #1 toy for Christmas 2010.  Already selling out in stores, Squinkies are on the CNN Money Top 10 Toys for 2010 list, and on the Amazon bestselling list.  Hottest selling Squinkie sets are:  Bubble pack Series 1, Cupcake Surprise Bakeshop, Gumball Surprise Playhouse, Bubble pack Series 2, and Bubble pack Series 3.  

According to a recent article on Reuters:

“The hottest toy of the 2010 holiday season could be a cheap, small, squishy character packaged in a plastic bubble reminiscent of grocery store toy machines, said toy experts Jim Silver and Christopher Byrne.  ‘Never underestimate the power of cute,’ Byrne said, in explaining why he thinks “Squinkies,” the $7 collectible capsule toys which double as pencil-toppers, can emulate the success of last year’s runaway hit Zhu-Zhu pets.”

Also, according to CNBC:

“Time to Play magazine has taken a crack at what it suspects will be the hottest toys of the 2010 Christmas holiday season, and already, for at least two of them, we are hearing reports that supplies are scarce.   The two are: Squinkies from Blip and Zoobles from Spin Master. Both toys, which have made other hot toy lists, begin selling at extremely low prices. Sets of Squinkies start at as low as $6.99, while some Zoobles cost as little as $4.99. They are made to be collectible, which is great for parents on a budget, who can buy as many—or as little—as they see fit. Both companies said they were already looking for new ways to ramp up manufacturing and increase supply, but it looks like the hunt will be on for these items.”

Yes, I’ve gotten my Squinkies

My daughter has wanted Squinkies since her birthday in July, but they’re constantly sold out at our local Target.  When I read in CNN Money that Squinkies is predicted to be “the standout toy of the year and possible successor to last year’s Zhu Zhu pets craze”, I knew I wanted to get her some.  And, I wasn’t going to wait until the last minute, like I did last year with Zhu Zhu Pets.

I started looking for Squinkies online, and found they are entirely sold out at Toys R Us, and are sold out except for 1 bubble pack at Target.  All the different sets are available on Amazon, but for higher than retail – for example, the 6 bubble packs retail for $9.99 each, but on Amazon are priced from $15.96 – $19.98 each (although they are eligible for Super Saver free shipping).

Next I checked out eBay.  And found 22 piece lots going for almost $500!  Bubble pack series 1 – 6 lots were selling for around $100.  I was able to find a Buy It Now for $78, with free shipping, which I quickly purchased.  The funny thing was, I made a very early morning trip to Target the next day, and they actually had Squinkies in stock!  Ironic, I know!  I got a couple additional small sets for gifts, and another set of the 6 bubble packs to sell on eBay myself.  The lesson here being – keep checking the retail stores in your neighborhood, particularly just after opening, after restocking, and you might  just find yourself a set at retail price.  If you get tired of continually checking and coming up empty handed, your next best bet is eBay – but look carefully, as there is a wide variety of price ranges.  Good Luck!

PS:  Just FYI – according to the Squinkie website, new Squinkies are coming November 2010.

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