Beyond Bobbing for Apples: Fun And Games for Fall Parties

Late October marks the eve and day when all good souls roam the earth and search for one last day of warmth before departing for their next celestial assignment.

spider

We gather in all of the fruits and veggies of fall’s harvest to be preserved and have celebrations of the departed; good memories of family and friends. Whether it’s a harvest party, Halloween, or the increasingly popular Latin Dia de los Muertos, scare away ghosts, goblins, and long-legged creatures such as those depicted by The 12′ Inflatable Animated Spider and The Gargantuan Inflatable Gargoyle with a party your friends and family will remember.

Try games of fortune telling like tarot and Ouija, where players divine the

future like Zoltar, accompanied by candy corn, homemade fat-free snacks made with The Healthiest Potato Chip Maker, punch, and bubbling kettles of spiced cider. Make a creative Halloween-themed piñata filled with your favorite sweets. As the backyard bonfires burn, tell tales of fright and appleromance, myth and legend. Have the neighbors over for pumpkin bowling with butternut squash nine pins. The Caramel Apple Maker lets you make your own gourmet caramel apples, and don’t forget cider donuts on strings: a race without hands to see who can devour them first. For the adults, serve flagons of ale and hard cider just like Rip Van Winkle.

When harvest winds howl and drive you indoors, lower the lights, turn off the telly, silence the smartphones and for one evening, make a happy shrine to our loved ones and the fallen who can’t be with us on this festive fall occasion.

Plotting Playtime with Plush Pals

Set round a table with gingham and lace,
It’s a tea party for soft friends; come take your place.

A six-foot Teddy, Chewie, Darth and more.
Don’t forget Sharkey, he swims on the floor.

There’s room at the table for all our plush friends,
Even a dragon and pony to play pretend.

Sharkey said enough small talk, let’s plan adventures at sea.
We sipped and plotted and planned our trip
To take all the plushies on a playhouse pirate ship!

 

sharkToday is National Plush Animal Lovers’ Day and we have several tea-party-ready soft friends for a special child in your life…or even yourself!

See our selection of huggable plush animals. Unique and especially appealing is our Plush Star Wars Collection, featuring The Talking Plush Yoda, The Talking Plush Darth Vader and the Mini Talking Chewie.

All of our plush friends are ready to be loved and they’re all ready for adventure, to sail away in The Pirate Ship Playhouse!

Choosing The Perfect Christmas Tree

When leaves fall, temperatures drop, and daylight hours diminish, you know the holiday season won’t be far behind. That means it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas tree.

The first factor to consider is live or artificial. While some purists insist on a live tree, there are several reasons you’ll want to consider our World’s Best Christmas Trees, besides their lifelike realism:

branch

It’s economical—the investment in a well-made artificial tree means you will have your decoration for many years to come, saving the costs of buying live trees year after year.

It’s green—natural resources go into the growing of trees, not to mention pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Fossil fuels are burned shipping trees around the country and again after the holiday when they need to be hauled away and processed into mulch. And many people simply prefer not to cut down a living tree every year for the short holiday season.

Lower maintenance—an artificial tree doesn’t need to be watered and it doesn’t leave behind a mess of dry needles when it’s taken down.

Allergies—an artificial tree is less likely to bother allergies, while a live tree can release pollen and mold into the home.

Once you’ve decided which type of tree you want, there are several other factors to consider:

Size—Decide where you’re going to place your tree. The space you have will dictate the tree height and width you need to choose. When measuring the height you need, be sure to factor in the height of your tree stand and the decoration that will be placed atop the tree. Allow approximately a foot between the top of the decoration and the ceiling for a height that is most pleasing to the eye. Different widths are also available in many styles to suit your living space or your preference.

christmas-tree

Type—Even artificial trees come in many different varieties. Hammacher offers meticulous reproductions of Fraser, Noble, Balsam, and Douglas firs, as well as Spruces and Scots Pines. Trees with shorter needles, such as Fraser and Douglas firs, can be easier to decorate, especially if you want to hang a lot of ornaments.

Pre-lit—Choosing a tree pre-strung with LED or incandescent lights means no struggling with tangled wires. LEDs are the most energy-efficient, while incandescent bulbs provide a more traditional glow. Either way, the pre-lit trees we offer will always shine on, even if one bulb breaks or burns out, backed by our Lifetime Guarantee of Complete Satisfaction.

You can view our complete Christmas tree selection online and find your perfect tree easily by sorting the results by branch and bulb type, tree height and width, and price.

Celebrating Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Exchange

The discovery and conquest of new worlds has always been a two-sided doubloon. Whether one’s culture views Columbus as a daring, intrepid explorer pioneering new voyages of commerce and trade, or a destroyer of worlds, one thing is clear: he was the first to establish permanent contact between old-world nations and the new world’s native, first peoples. Today, with the Columbus Day holiday, we commemorate Columbus’ expedition to the new world and the Columbian exchange that changed the world forever.

Imagine all of the drama if we discovered aliens in outer space or they discovered us. Spinning Spaghetti ForkA possible positive outcome would be the exchange of ideas, tools, foods, plants, animals, and means of transportation, energy and building materials.  This and more were the outcome of the great Columbian exchange.

Today, it’s difficult to imagine life without the items Columbus brought back in his four historic voyages. First was corn, a super grain to feed cattle and the world. Imagine food without chili peppers and hot curries. No tomatoes for pasta, pizza or ketchup. No beans for chili, no turkey for Thanksgiving and no pumpkin pie, either. We would be without potatoes and have no vanilla for ice cream and no popcorn for the movies. All transportation and manufacturing would cease because tires, tubes, gaskets wouldn’t exist without rubber. No peanuts, no bourbon whiskey, no pineapple and perhaps worst of all, no chocolate.

Even today, the discoveries continue with tropical fruits and medicinal plants from the rainforest, still being encountered 521 years after voyage.

Thanks to Don Cristobal Colón and the intrepid explorers who followed, today little of Earth’s surface outside of Antartica remains undiscovered.Ice Cream Maker Whether you’re an ambitious bushwhacker or one who prefers to stay on the sidewalk, you can track your travel adventures using personalized maps. These maps come with color-coded pins and flags that let you chart your domestic trips, excursions to foreign countries, or even pilgrimages to historic baseball stadiums and golf courses.

And thanks to modern technology, navigating in a foreign land is simpler than ever with devices such as The GPS Homing Device

Prepare Yourself: It’s International Day for Disaster Reduction

Today we mark International Day for Disaster Reduction. Recognition of this day began in 1989, with approval by the United Nations General Assembly, as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including prevention, mitigation and preparedness. The objective is to raise awareness of what all of us can do to reduce our risk from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.Weather Alert System

Disaster reduction needs to be addressed in ways both large and small. In a long-term, big-picture view, the goal is to look at factors such as poverty reduction and climate change adaptation. On a personal level, it’s making sure your family and household is prepared for any disaster that may strike.

Today is a great opportunity to assess your own household’s readiness to weather a natural disaster. Your disaster kit should be stored in a safe, easily accessible location. A good start for your kit would be an emergency radio. Areas prone to tornadoes are advised to have a weather alert system.

Your kit should contain enough food and water for each person for at least 72 hours. Be sure to also include any prescriptions needed for that period of time, as well as food and water for any pets.

You’ll want to ensure your kit has a long-lasting flashlight, extra batteries, matches in a waterproof container and household bleach. Be sure to include a first aid kit with a first aid book and a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, along with a change of clothes and shoes for each person. You should also include copies of important household documents. Other supplies to add to your kit may include infant formula and diapers and personal hygiene products, plus disposable cups, plates, utensils and paper towels. Also, don’t forget cash…after a disaster, ATMs may be out of service or may run out of money quickly.Extended Scrabble

You may also consider including simple ways to pass the time while the power is out. For children, include crayons and pencils, along with a few puzzle books. Older kids and adults will appreciate The Lexicographer’s Extended Scrabble. With nearly twice the squares and letters as standard Scrabble, this is the board game that will keep you playing for hours.

iPad Accessories That Get Jobs Done

The Babylonians made the first tablets of clay and their cuneiform writing civilized humankind. The Egyptians had papyrus scrolls, creating government and taxes. Medieval monks hand-lettered manuscripts, until Guttenberg invented the font and the printing press. Then, in the century of one and twenty, Saint Steven the Illuminated One, brought us the hand-held wonder tablet: the iPad. Now humankind has all the wisdom of the known universe at light speed in our hands. To pay homage to Steve Jobs’ iPad, we have assembled a collection of products that will make your tablet even more useful and more enjoyable.

Waterproof Ipad Case

 

Beachfront view
The Waterproof iPad Case: Winner of the Consumer Electronic Show’s Innovation Award, this is the iPad case that allows full use of the tablet in up to 61/2′ of water. Prevents penetration from water when submerged for 30 minutes and circulating dust or sand for 8 hours.

It’s showtime

The iPad Pocket Projector: Project your best image anywhere. Connects directly to an iPad to instantly display enlarged views of photos, movies, and presentations. Smaller than a smartphone and weighs less than 5 oz.

Add mettle to your pedal
The Only iPad Integrating Recumbent Bicycle: This is the recumbent exercise bicycle that integrates a pedaler’s iPad to help make workouts more entertaining and challenging. Workouts become fast and fun with 26 built-in programs that cover everything from warm-ups to endurance training.

Rockin’ the tablet
The iPad Tabletop JIpad Jukeboxukebox: Provides amazing sound and enables you to trade stacks of vinyl for the world of downloadable iTunes with that nostalgic 1950s look.

A real game-changer
The iPad to Foosball Table Convertor
: This is the only foosball table that enables classic, rod-spinning ball-banking gameplay on the iPad.

Here’s one for the archives
The Preserve Your Memories iPad Scanner: This is the scanner that converts photographs to digital images and stores them directly on an iPad, preserving memories for generations. The scanner automatically feeds pictures and documents up to 81/2″ x 14″. Eliminates the need to scan documents to a computer before transferring them to an iPad.

You’ll get a charge out of this
The Solar Charging iPad Case: The solar panel built into the case’s protective housing uses organic photovoltaic ink—a new technology that converts both indoor and outdoor light into electricity—that constantly charges an iPad.

Roadtrip!
The Backseat iPad Theatre: Keep the kids occupied and entertained so you can keep your mind on the road. The sturdy plastic mount clamps firmly to the back of any auto headrest and the wireless headphones minimize distractions for the driver.

Saluting an Old Softie – The Teddie Bear

Today we celebrate those who, at certain points in our lives, have alleviated a little stress…namely, our teddy bears. Yes, it’s National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day.

Your childhood bear may well have been your very first best friend. If you still have your favorite stuffed animal, have a little fun with it today. You may want to dress your bear in business attire and take a few pictureGiantTeddys of him on the job…typing on the keyboard, answering the phone or giving a presentation in the conference room. Your old friend might even still have the power to soothe some of that workday stress.

If you don’t have your old bear, today is still the perfect day to reminisce with coworkers or friends about your favorite toys from days long gone by. You may even find yourself longing to get a new teddy bear, perhaps our recreation of the original 1926 teddy bear.

Like everything else, teddy bears have changed since we were kids. The Customizable, Interactive Plush Teddy Bear sings songs with children, plays games, and tells stories—but unlike similar toys, this fellow can be continually updated and customized to match a child’s interests and development.

And if you want to embrace your teddy in a big way, there’s none better than our 6 Foot Teddy Bear. This gentle giant is good for hundreds of hugs, from kids of all ages.