When Jill was 9 months old a television show came and did a living room makeover for us. Why? Too much kid clutter.
Times that by 3 years and 2 kids.
We are blessed. Truly. Our children want for nothing. It is exactly what Rob and I wanted when we talked about having kids. It was also the running thought during many a hard decision that we had to make. We wanted to be able to give our kids everything they needed, as well as a good chunk of what they wanted.
One of the ways I thought to do that was by applying to be a toy testing family for a national parenting magazine.
We were accepted and from the time Jillian was 6 months old we have been receiving and testing toys a couple of times a year.
Since my immediate family has moved back to Ottawa our toy schedule has increased a bit.
It is great. We get as many (or as few) toys as I feel we can reasonably test in a three month period. There is paperwork to be done, but that is a minor piece for me. Quite a major one for the woman whose job it is to oversee all of this, collect the data, analyze it all and make the toy recommendations, but for me, it is a small piece.
The girls get to test new toys. Some aren't even available at toy stores yet. It is all geared to the Christmas toy shopping spree and the magazines articles about the year's best toys.
It's pretty cool.
This year we tested 35 toys. We live in shoe box of a condo. Some of the toys were quite large. That is why this is quickly becoming one of my favourite times of the year.
The catch to being a testing family is that you have to commit to donating all of the toys to charity once the testing period is over. That is the highlight for me. The girls get to play with great new toys, then they learn lessons on charity and giving.
Right now I make all the choices about where the toys will be donated to. My hope is that as they get older they will start to make the choices. For now, they come with me for drop-offs because I want them to see where the toys are going and who they are helping.
That is why we call them 'borrow toys'. We are just borrowing them to play with for a bit until they go to their real homes.
We just did a day of donation drop-offs.
Our place looks great! We not only took this years testing toys, but all of the baby toys that Cait has outgrown. It didn't just make a dent, it made a canyon.
A canyon that was quickly filled by other toys, but at least they aren't all over the living room anymore. They are all put away.
All but 2 boxes, one for Jill and one for Cait.
Let's see how long we can keep it this way!