Enjoying: Shopkins and Mitten State

You’re out, Rainbow Loom. Done. I’m sorry, but she’s moved on to the new cheap crap that’s “gone viral” among elementary cheap crap enthusiasts. Actually, I’d like to take a moment to thank Heidi for her kind introduction of Shopkins to our home. Since words don’t exactly convey tone, let me note my sarcasm.

Two weeks ago, we walked into Heidi’s house, empty handed and content with life. When we left, Lainey was clutching two tiny plastic toys in one palm and a receipt-looking list of “all the other ones I need to collect” in the other. “Oh by the way,” Heidi said as she walked us to the door, “She can keep those two Shopkins.”

“What’s a Shopkin?” I asked.

And then she cackled this devilish little laugh that I didn’t like one bit. “Oh don’t worry. You’ll know really soon. You’ll be buying them–“

“I don’t think so,” I laughed.

“Yes, you will. You can thank me later.” More cackling. Evil smile.

It took me two days. Two days before finding myself where the cheap crap hides in a tiny section of a Target toy aisle. “So can I get one?” Lainey asked, all puppy dog eyes and you’re-the-best-mom. I tried to think of something I owed her for, some great job she just did, some promise I had made her to justify buying it, but I had nothing. Just puppy dog eyes and a tiny shrink wrapped plastic grocery basket with two “mystery Shopkins” inside.

That’s where I started to cave. They had to make them a mystery, didn’t they? I don’t even know a bakery Shopkin from a toiletry Shopkin (these are real things), and suddenly I have to know which ones are inside this basket.

“Let’s get two,” I heard coming out of my mouth before I could stop myself.

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It’s been two weeks now, and there is a pile of Shopkins on the girls’ dresser. They have invaded our home and permeated our way of living, making their way to friends’ houses, sneaking into backpacks, initiating tears: “DASH TOOK MY SHOPKIN! CREAMY BUN BUN IS MISSING!”

We stopped at Heidi’s the other day, and I didn’t notice Lainey snuck a few in her pocket. I was going to play it cool, keep it on the downlow, deny that I caved if it came to it because we have a long and funny history of Heidi teasing me for all the ways I cave when I swear “my kid is never doing _________.”

“Sooooo,” Heidi said, pouring me a cup of coffee. “Thought you weren’t going to be buying Shopkins now, did you?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked, holding my game face.

“Don’t lie to me,” she laughed, “Lainey just dumped her pockets and told me you took her to Target. You caved!” Cackle, cackle. “You CAVED!!”

“I hate you.”

The Shopkins collector guide goes wherever we go now, and each new Shopkin is carefully accounted for with pencil marks and little numbers Lainey scrawls next to each that correspond to the order in which they’re acquired (perhaps her kids will have beautiful tooth charts someday). As all brilliant cheap crap making goes, there is a ranking system for value–a small colored dot next to each available Shopkin on the collector’s guide, denoting whether it’s “common”, “rare” or “ultra rare.” I’m assuming these titles are randomly given, if not just to amuse parents with escalated fits–fits I’ve seen in just the two weeks we’ve known what a Shopkin is. “Nella can’t have that one! Gran Jam is ultra rare.” I’ve also decided this is a great way to get my kids to do things. “You might want to try that broccolli. It’s ultra rare.” or “Here, put this dress on. It’s ultra rare.”

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Because I strongly believe in paying it forward, I found great joy in passing along a couple of Shopkins to Lainey’s friends who came home with us yesterday. As they gathered their backpacks and tied their shoes when their dad came to pick them up, I ran to get the tiny shopping baskets. “Don’t forget your Shopkins!” I said with a coy smile.

“Shopkins?” The dad raised his eyebrow. “What’s that?”

“Oh, I’ll let the girls tell you all about it,” I added, suppressing a wink. Forward. Paid.

Someday my kids will smile over memories of Christmases past and all the junk that they loved. Shopkins might be their Cabbage Patch.  And I love it. What can I say, she’s a TSL like her mama. That’s Tiny Shit Lover for those who don’t speak miniature awesome.


This week, enjoying:

A Quick Trip to Michigan
…this past weekend to celebrate my dad who was being honored by the medical staff at his hospital for the work he does. Out of all the things I could be proud of for how my parents are introduced, I will remember this one: “Rik is an innovative contributor to the culture of warmth and kindness.” They should make that a degree you can get in college. “I have a bachelor’s in Innovative Warmth and Kindness Contribution.” “I’m the Vice President of Warmth and Kindness Development.” “I head up the Strategic Partnerships for Warmth and Kindness Innovation.” Because that, my friends, is important work.

It was indeed a special night, shared by family and made notable by his colleagues who wanted us to hear their stories of how my dad was there for them or helped them through something. I couldn’t help but think about how important it is for those who serve and help people to be helped and served themselves. Organizations and hospitals, doctors and nurses, teachers and caregivers all working every day to help and heal others–they do their best work when they are helping and healing each other at the same time. “He’s helped us heal our patients and ourselves.”

It was a night of powerful stories, ones that certainly inspired those who were present to innovatively contribute to their own culture of warmth and kindness. Amen, amen, amen.

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The bonus of the weekend came from a heaping helping of family and holiday cheer. Siblings. Nieces. Thrifting. Tiny snow flurries. Cozy bars, safe from the outside cold, where we told story after story after story. Christmas shops with Christmas music.

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My $10 thrifted coat, thank you.

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We are not First Take kinda people. We are 6th or 7th shot for Maybe A Decent Picture kinda people.

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And a shout-out to my nephews.

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More Enjoying…

Coming Home to Find I’m Not the Only One Who Caves for Toys 

Brett claims they were at the entrance of Wynn Dixie and that Nella fell so hard in love, he “couldn’t help himself.”

“We’re a bunch of softies,” I said.

“Weak,” he added.

“Let’s read some parenting books and call it a night. Tomorrow we’ll teach some lessons.”

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Insert thrifted score photo. Michigan Salvation Armys know how to bring it.

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HAPPY HUMP DAY! Holiday Cheerometer’s reading highish.


Leave a Comment
  1. I love softie parents, spoil them forever!

  2. Oh Shopkins! Sugar Lumps is the only Ultra Rare one we have. And it seems to be all that Santa will bring this year – thanks goodness for small favors. Shopkins all around!

  3. Nella has THE best hair…just say’n. Loved all of this post- like usual! xo

  4. The shopkins are kind of cute… I’m sure I’ll change my mind when my daughter is old enough to actually ask for toys.

  5. @Haley
    Ha–I know. They’ve grown on me, and I’ve found myself secretly scouring the collector’s guide for what ones we–I mean she–needs next. :o)

  6. Where is that fabulous christmas store? those ornaments look awesome. I’m in Michigan (Grand Blanc) but that doesn’t look like Bronners…..

  7. I haven’t seen those yet. I’m starting to mourn the inevitable moving on beyond Barbie. It’s coming. So hold onto this beautiful tacky toy thing… Oh and Michigan is THE bomb for thrifting. About died. Every corner has a thrift store. Belts galore;)

  8. As a 35-year-old adult I hate to even admit that I find those Shopkins cute as heck! If you’re itching to get rid of any and want to send any to me I’d be happy to take ’em off your hands LOL! But now that I know they sell ’em in Target, which is my favorite store, I will just have to go check them out for myself. 😀

    Oh. And I adore your $10 thrifted coat. That thing is AWESOME! I need one. Luckily I have a favorite thrift store near me… 😀

  9. LOL-I love passing on nightmare toys to friends…I mean, special childhood toy suggestions….. :)

  10. Oh my, wonder when my grands will be asking for them. I think the frozen dolls are cute esp. the one Dash is holding so tight. It’s okay to spoil them once in awhile.

  11. Wish you could’ve stopped and hung out with my three girls and I. We live in Rochester. My youngest has DS. :)
    We are still rainbow loom lovers. I mean my oldest who is now 8 is a rainbow loom lover!

  12. TSL – “tiny shit lover” LOVE this. On the one hand I am So glad my kid is past the stage of collecting tiny little shit like Shopkins, but I’m afraid it has spawned a love of BES – “big expensive shit”.

  13. I hadn’t heard of Shopkins but they look like a more girlish version (stereotype alert, but it’s true!) of Trash Packs. My son got into the Trash Pack stuff last year and I went a little crazy getting him ‘Trashies’ for Christmas. LOL Very reminiscent of the Garbage Pail Kids, which I loved as a child, so I couldn’t help myself. I’d prefer the Shopkins though I think…And I’m a total caver, too. It’s a problem sometimes, but I’m definitely a TSL so what can I say!!

  14. LOVE the MI shots. Makes me so pumped for Christmas. Also, Dash and Ana are TOO MUCH!!!! xo

  15. I have read your blog for a while and I looove it! You capture so much life in your photography.I live in Rochester, so I was surprised to see familiar backgrounds in your pictures. :)

  16. You’re in Rochester- my town! I hope you enjoyed your visit, they just turned on all the lights (every storefront covered in lights down the whole length of the street) last night, so pretty

  17. My daughter found her love for Shopkins and little did I know what a nightmare I would be entering. The TSL in her has a meltdown nightly if one of her precious things go missing. Recently acquired a tote (perfect loom or bead holder) and all are tucked in with all the blue baskets. Santa better step up his elf production team as her list includes all accessories! Let the fun begin

  18. LOVE, ” Try this broccoli, it’s ultra rare!” :)))

  19. I did it, too. I CAVED! And then my as-of-yet-unexpressed inner-TSL lover reared her head and I suddenly became as obsessed as my daughter! How does this happen?!?! I found your blog googling “do ultra rare shopkins come in the blind baskets”, because I had to know, lol. Thank you for making me laugh!

  20. Just got kicked here by camp patton. HOLY CRAP this was hysterical. My husband and I, and our newborn baby were in the toy aisle the other day browsing… and we saw these. And we had a good laugh, “who on earth would buy these” we thought.

    Apparently, they are fairly popular!
    Too funny! Us parent noobs have much to learn.

    I was a TSL too, growing up.

  21. This is too funny. My kids are just now learning about these!

  22. We just discovered these a few weeks ago and they have taken over our lives. My 5 year old is in love. She calls them ultimarare :).

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