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Military Family Has to Postpone Holidays

By Jodie Lynn


My husband and I just found out we will not be in the country until a couple of weeks after the holidays. My mother is taking care of our three kids. Instead of her trying to make up for us not being with them by buying extra gifts and spending money she doesn't have, what are some top-tested and age-appropriate items we can get them after the holidays when we will be home? They are five, seven and nine years old.


My husband was in the military for many years; we postponed many events and holidays. With six kids, we definitely look for good prices and gifts that are made well. Some of the things we have purchased are games like the Fingerprint Detective, which is a super cool kit that offers three experiments in one. It's a great educational toy/game for any crime-fighting wannabe detective. There's also Sparks, a new line of 12 experiment kits, that cover a wide array of scientific subjects. Both are created by Thames & Kosmos and our kids can't get enough of them. Our boys, everyone else, and even my husband and I, share hours of entertainment with the Silverlit's Nano Falcon Helicopter. It's incredibly small and lightweight and flies easily indoors and outside. It has fun colors and comes with a charging dock and stabilizer to help with easy flying. It'll make a great gift for anyone on your list. - Kera D. in Fort Myers, FL


For whatever reason, more people than you think celebrate the holidays well past their actual dates just so all family members can be together, especially if they are military families. And if you think about it, the time, place and date shouldn't really matter. It's the togetherness that is most important. Your consideration for your mom's well-being, as well as your kids', is a great gift in itself. But for some more tangible suggestions, I think any of the kids would find fun in pretending to be a chef, using their imagination when firing up the Green ToysŪ Stove Top, which is made out of recycled milk jugs. The Beatrix Girls Premium Package is a line of collectible London pop-star dolls driven by original music. Their hair is super soft and the arms are poseable. Your little girl will love them. The NanoblockŪ is the world's smallest building block system. I've seen eyes light up when seeing them; you create miniature replicas of various things while being intrigued by their tiny size. Plus, there are new sets of even more block sets. If you're looking for something the whole family can do together, "Candy Experiments" is a blast! Loralee Leavitt has come up with tons of ways to destroy store-bought candy for the sake of science. Perfect for kitchen undertakings where everyone can get involved and/or to help with a child's school science fair project. Everything mentioned is available at Amazon.

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Our two-year-old constantly throws or mashes his food. Does this mean he's not hungry or just playing with his food? Either way, we've just about had it and would love to know how to solve this challenge.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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