I don’t generally get excited about purchases of any kind, but this grinder from Fellow had me checking the FedEx website a few times. After seasoning the burrs, I haven’t had a bad cup of coffee. The only issue is that now my caffeine intake is way up.

Still searching

I’m still looking for glasses for running and CrossFit that don’t cost $500 or more dollars. These come close in fit but still need some adjustment to overcome the sweaty slide. I think I’ve aged about 10 years since I returned home to the Island, which is the exact opposite effect I had hoped for.

Plant-Me Pets

Now that the weather is warm, my daughter and I have been doing some planting in our garden. It’s not a real garden as this is Asia and space is limited but it’s what we have. I’ve been wanting to instill a bit of fun into the whole process now that the initial wonderment has worn off. I mentioned finding Nyokki plant pots a while back and they seem fun. It’s a bit hard to get them shipped here so we make our own. Plant-Me Pets are another great idea. They’re quirky creature sculptures made of natural latex rubber. The “eyes” are actual seeds (melon, tomato, and pumpkin seeds), and their “skin” is soft and pliable. You can squeeze their bodies and they’ll squeak. Likely I can’t import these here but they do look like allot of fun even if they weren’t originally meant for kids (they look a little “evil”). $20.00US at Branch.

Retro Racing Car

I really love this car. If you add a pair of goggles and a helmut you have a true play racer. The look brings back memories of when I was a kid and we all had these cool racing toys. Quality toys that you could hand down to others. It has a shiny all-steel body, working steering wheel, honking horn, steel wheels and real rubber tires. I think my daughter would love to take this out to the track behind our house and play race car driver. The only problem I see are the fits that might erupt when my son is old enough and wants to ride it too. $89.00US at Land of Nod.

Olivia the Pig Doll

Catriona loves these books so much that I just have to go out and buy this doll for her. Olivia, is the star of Ian Falconer’s popular books, OLIVIA which we were introduced to by a friend. They are wonderfully illustrated stories that our daughter immediately was drawn to. I thought at first that the illustrations were a bit sullen but perhaps they are a good counterpoint to all the bright rainbow colors of other books. This doll is 10 inches tall and is fabricated from acrylic plush material. Available from Amazon.

Recycled Crayons

Martha Stewart has a great method of recycling old crayons thereby helping save the environment and creating a unique tool for making fun art. I’ve wanted to do something similar with soap for ages but the process for recycling soap is no where as easy and as satisfying as this. All it involves is chopping up the crayons, arranging them creatively in a cookie tin, baking them until they melt, and take them out of the tin when they cool. Fun. Check it out in greater detail on Martha Stewarts site.

Razor Pocket Mod Bistro Scooter

My daughter is absolutely dying to ride on a scooter. Since so many parents here let their children ride with them through some of the worst traffic on earth without a helmet we have begun slowly educating her to the dangers they provide. But she is only 2.5 so it isn’t that hard. When she gets a little older (like 16) and we are living in a country with some safe areas to ride, this Razor Scooter might be a fun way for her to pass some time. Or me if I was lighter. This cool electric scooter gets over 10 miles of travel time on a single charge and speeds up to 15 mph. See more at Razor or purchase on Amazon.

Lana Organic Dragon Doll

If we aren’t pretending we are beauty and the beast, Snow white, Cinderella, or Tea Cup we spend our time pretending to be tigers and dragons. This kind of imaginative play is quite fun and with a little help from our friend the Dragon I can take a break from having little tiger jump on my back. This cuddly animal is made from 100% organic cotton and filled with pure wool. Importantly he is quite washable – that way all the bits of playdoh, paint, and cookies won’t make her, the Dragon, all yucky. $49.95US from bright october.

Frog Pod

Currently our bathroom remains in order for about 2 days a week, the rest of the week we have bath toys and supplies strewn all over the place. A house with a 2 year old and a messy dad can be like that. The thoughtfully designed Frog Pod looks like a fun way to add some order to the chaos. I’m especially fond of the fact that it’s handle acts as scoop, allowing for a quick tidy up after a serious period of play in the tub. $29.99 from Baby Outfitters.

Haba Roman Arch Blocks

I don’t know who likes playing these toys more, my daughter or myself. Perhaps me. She is still a bit young to have the patience to sit and make large structures but it’s a wonderful way to teach early and fine motor skills. I like these particular blocks as they give you the tools you need to build as complicated or as simple a structure as you like.The blocks are made of unfinished beech wood and will stand up to the test of time. This set is $35.99 at Oompa.

Nyokki Plant Pots

Catriona and I did some planting last week but somehow the bottom of a plastic coke bottle just doesn’t seem as cute as these. “Nyokki means “grow, grow, and grow” and that’s what a Nyokki does. An adorable cast of original characters, Nyokkis are hand-made in Japan from glazed ceramic, shaped like an egg with little fabric legs. Nyokki are easy to grow – seeds germinate and grass grows to full height in less than two weeks.” $9.95US each from Sprout Home.

Wooden Stacking Rings

We have plastic stacking rings that light up and play sounds. It seemed like a good idea; the toy plays a success song when the task is completed and allows for some visual and auditory stimulus. Except it requires batteries and thus starts the great lifelong task of remembering to change batteries in a million different toys. Next time I am sticking with beautifully made wooden toys that offer much of the same in terms of play but without being a machine. $19.95US at piccolini.

Chocho Pull Along Toy

Living in a country where every toy seems to be built with toxic plastic that breaks in three days I have developed a renewed enthusiasm for toys ‘made of wood. Meet Chocho a toy sure to inspire our children’s imagination. Made of solid wood and handpainted with non-toxic paint, Chocho makes a perfect addition to our children’s toy collection. Available from Bright October for $29.95US.

Blabla Lulu Stuffed Toy

I would love to buy more toys like this, as it brings back memories of a time when people would actually make toys and clothes for children that would last for generations. I like the design of this stuffed doll – happy colours and face. It’s certainly different than the LuLu character that I developed a number of years ago. You buy Lulu for $37.95US at bright october. There is allot of great stuff for kids at this online boutique so it’s worth your while to spend some time browsing their catalogue.

Lucky Plucky Pillow Poultry

A wonderful site full of truly special toys and crafts for children. Mahar Drygoods features products you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else – beautiful and interesting things I will likely feature more than once. Lucky Plucky is part pillow and part poultry and might make the perfect napping companion. I would watch out for the button eyes though as some kids have a knack for getting even the most securely fastened objects into their mouths. Created by Creature Co-op and available for $26.00US from Maha Drygoods.

Motorized Ice Cream Cone

I’m sure there are allot of practical uses for a device such as this but I’m treating this as a fun way for Catriona to eat my favorite food. A love of ice cream runs through out all my family and I am doing my best to introduce this trait to my daughter. Luckily she is full of wisdom beyond her years and only eats the smallest tastes of desert foods – she seems to prefer to eat seconds of tofu and corn. The Motorized Ice Cream Cone will add some fun to our weekly sampling of ice cream. Available in 4 different colours for $9.95US (each) from Hog Wild. Found via Pop Gadget.

Klong Plush Toy

For long drives or flights where I or Mom can’t give our daughter a hug or hold her, this plush toy might serve as a temporary substitute. “Klong also doubles as a pillow, scarf, or comfort blanket on long journeys.” Is there any way to resist buying more and more stuffed or plush toys? Our house is overflowing with them. Klong is available from the MoMA store for $58.00US.

Streamliner Car

One of the joys of being a dad is having a valid excuse for buying and playing with toys. Sometimes in our house it’s hard to realize just who is the biggest kid – me or my daughter. So when I see a toy of beauty like this I get excited and want to run out and buy it right away. These amazing little cars are made in Sweden of solid wood with a smooth, high-luster finish. Designed by Ulf Hanses. I can hear my daughter and I playing with it already. $35.00US at Sparkability.

Minnen Ratta aka Mr. Mouse

This may be one of the more unusual toys I bought my daughter. It bothers everyone except for her and I. She loves it and for awhile carried it everywhere. The best part? When you put it on it’s back it looks like the real thing in the dark, so not only does it entertain my daughter but it also provides some good entertainment for me. It’s soft, cuddly, and has a great tail. $2.99 at IKEA.

Super Super Cat Doll

“He’s bold, he’s fearless – the awesome Super Super Cat’s power is irresistible!” What a fun doll. I could see this leading to all knds of different imaginative play possibilities – including dad being told to wear a cape and mask. It’s $55.00US at Zebra Hall.

Elmo Cell Phone

I once said – no brand names for my child. Well that ideal hasn’t stood the test of time. She sings the Elmo song, has eaten organic Elmo cereal, and when driving loves her Elmo phone. My daughter gets allot of imaginative play from the various phones we have for her. They are great for building up sentences and practicing vocabulary. The volume on this toy seems low but I suppose that could be a blessing. $9.99 at Toys “R” Us for ages 3 and up (my daughter used it at age 1).

Rocking Duck

My daughter has at various times been extremely fascinated by ducks; from feeding the ducks downtown, to singing over and over “10 little ducks go quack quack quack …”, to playing with her squeezable duck toy in the tub, so finding this beautiful rocking toy from Playsam seems like a great way to extend our “duck play”. I think it puts a smile on the parents faces too. Available for about $70US from Playsam.