Friday, June 28, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Barnyard Friends

I've got another farm set for you today on Fisher Price Friday.  It's the Play Family Farm Barnyard Friends #117.  Made from 1972-1974.  This set was designed to accompany the Play Family Farm #915 or by itself.  The fourteen piece set included seven animals, six fence sections and a watering trough.

The animals included a horse, sheep, cow, brown dog, black pig (with white or black ears), red rooster (with red or black tail feathers and a chicken.

According to some sources the jointed animals could have either hex-bellies (screws as shown in the photo) or the newer smooth bellies.  Other sources say that they were only hex-bellies.

The six fence sections should be the original "knife whittled" versions as seen on the left.  The newer smooth versions are on the right.

Here is a closer view.  On the right is the older version, the left the newer.

It's the largest of the farm accompanying sets and a perfect addition to the Play Family Farm.  Did you have one as a child?

For more farm fun check out:

And for some farm pieces of your own check out my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Missing Socks

Where toys and socks go to hide.

This is what I saw when I pulled my daughter's crib away from the wall.  I had to take a photo because someday in the future I'll want to remember that she used to do this. 

She's also taken to removing her pajamas and diaper, then putting her pajama pants back on.  I don't have a photo of that but let's just say it doesn't end well. ;)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Easy Peasy Pizza out of Garlic Naan

Don't these look wonderful?  I have a quick and easy way to make them at home.  I have to admit that this wasn't my brilliant idea, it was Trader Joe's.  I bought their Garlic Naan (frozen, package of 4) and some pizza sauce and we were set.  They are a perfect size for personal pizzas and they work right out of the package!

My daughter helped "decorate" the pizzas with sauce, fresh veggies (basil, mushrooms), artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and thick slices of mozzarella cheese.  

We baked them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Viola!  Easy, fresh and yummy pizza!  The garlic in the naan adds just the perfect touch.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix (Waterpark) with little kids

Our family had an adventure at the Wet 'n' Wild water park in Phoenix.  We've lived near this waterpark for years but this was our first visit.  We went in the evening are were able to get the twilight prices ($19.99 per person for after 5pm vs the $38 day price).

I'd been hesitant to go to the park in the past because I was either pregnant or had a young child.  Right now our children are 5 1/2 and almost 2.  The 5 year old got the 42 inch bracelet and could go on many of the rides.  The youngest was free to get into the park which was good because she could hardly go on ANY rides (just the lazy river and maybe the wave pool but we didn't go there).

We started by eating dinner because we'd been in a rush to get to the park when the Twilight hours started (5pm).  Two dinners (chef salad $5.99, chicken strips w/mashed potatoes $10) and a soda cost us around $22.  If possible I'd recommend eating first.  Know that you can't bring any food or drinks into the park except sealed water bottles and baby food.

We hit up the kids Soak Up Spray ground first which was a very cool looking "playground" with many slides, falling water features and sprays.  It looked great but the water was absolutely freezing!  Freezing cold dripping, spraying and falling water is not pleasant!  Now remember that it was about 102 degrees outside, even with that temperature it was c-o-l-d.  Perhaps in the middle of a hot hot 110 degree day it would be good, but not that night.  Another problem was that my youngest was eager to explore the splash ground but was too short to go on any of the slides.  However, she did not understand this concept which made it a challenge.

We moved on to Wet and Wild Jr next.  This area had a bunch of different splash-pad areas and a few slides appropriate for kids (at least 36 inches).  My 5 year old loved it!  I went with her on the Screaming Streamers (easy inner tube ride for 2) and followed her on the Tiny Typhoon.  She then got brave and went on her own many times on the Banzai Racers and the Tiny Typhoon.  The baby tried to be patient but she could only play in the splash pad areas and did not understand why she couldn't go on the "slides".

We moved back to the Soak Up Spray Ground and tried the back side (more splash pad, low water for little kids) but it was still cold!  Baby stayed with my husband eating snacks and the 5 year old and I went on the Phoenix Flyer's.  We climbed up 4 stories in order to catch the ride.  Quite a view up there!  We used a double inner tube and raced down the mostly enclosed slide screaming all the way.  That was my favorite!

We tried the lazy river ride next (Cactus Cooler) and I went around on a double inner tube with both girls.  By the time we meandered back to the start it was getting pretty cold (still 100 degrees out btw) but my 5 year old wanted to try the Jr section again.

After watching big sister go on a few more rides we decided to call it a night.  A promise of a double scoop waffle cone convinced the girls that it was time to go.  For $4.67 we had two scoops (chocolate peanut butter and animal cookie) of yummy dessert.

So what did I think?

I would go again, but not until both girls are big enough to go on the rides.  Although the "baby" was free to get in it was too much of a challenge to have rides all around that she couldn't go on.  I'd either bring a younger child that won't mind being held and staying in one place or one tall enough (36 inches) to participate.

I'd also skip the Twilight hours for the family.  It was too cold and you can't stay long enough with kid bedtimes.  I had a friend go to the park for a date night which sounds like fun, although there is still the issue of it being cold!

We'll just have to be patient and wait another year or two before we try again.  But in just a few years when the kids are both school age I can already see what a fun place this will be for us.  I'm sure we'll get season passes and try all the rides!

Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix
4243 W. Pinnacle Peak Road
Glendale, AZ 85310-4002
(623) 201-2000

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Jetport

Today I'd like to revisit the Play Family Jetport #933.  I posted about the jetport awhile back but it wasn't the complete set, or even all the correct pieces so I'd like to try again. :)  The Jetport was made from 1981-1985 and was the follow-up after the older original Airport #996 was discontinued.  The Jetport was much smaller than the Airport but had many of the same accessory pieces.

The Jetport base came with an airplane, helicopter, airport tram, car, airport furniture, luggage and people.

There were 7 people in this set, which is quite a lot!  The set included a boy, girl, mom, dad, stewardess and two (short) pilots.  Many of them were exclusives or rare, such as the yellow boy who is only in one other set (#170 Change a tune Carousel).  The stewardess, short AA pilot and the tan man were only made for this set.  Note that the pieces should be all plastic, the pilot on the left is the wood version from the Airport.

The accessory vehicles included a 2 seat car with a spot for a suitcase in the back.  The car could also be white on the top and green on the bottom and may or may not be marked with "Fisher Price Toys" on the tires.

The service train included a streamlined 3 vehicles in this set (4 is the Airport); the truck, luggage car and fuel tank.  The 1981 version included a yellow truck with blue bottom, yellow tank on a blue base and a blue luggage car (as shown in the photo).  Other years had different blue/yellow combinations.  They were always blue and yellow for the Jetport, unlike the orange/yellow Airport combinations.  The baggage car carries two pieces of luggage, the brown suitcase and the blue hatbox.

The front of the Jetport base has lithographs of signs, flower beds and an airport control tower.  There is a red parking gate that moves up and down to block traffic on the front driveway.  The top of the control tower has a red radar dish that moves when you turn the red knob around (on the roof deck).  The helicopter's propellers move around at the same time.

The airport is controlled by a dog and two children.  Watch out!

The back of the base has an attached ladder (to the control tower), a lithograph of the back of the boy directing air traffic and a gas pump.  The gas pump works in the helicopter, plane, truck and the car.


Inside the lobby there are lithographs of a gift shop on one side and bathroom doors (men and women - see the cute little people figures on the doors) and a drinking fountain.  Note the vintage toys on the gift shop shelves (jet plane and stacking rings).   Each end of the lobby has a boarding gate for planes.  Four brown chairs and two orange coffee tables are included.  The chairs could be all three brown color variations (light/medium or dark brown) with a triangle in the back except for the first edition which was medium brown with a dot on the back.

Hope you enjoyed the Jetport tour, happy travels!

For more airplane fun check out the Airport #996 Jet and the Airport #996.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe

It's that time of year again for ice-cream. You know, when it's 108 degrees outside.  Well, at least here in Arizona it's that hot!  Let's just say we eat our ice-cream inside the air conditioned house. ;)

I decided to try a vanilla bean recipe this time.  I already have a fabulous (and popular!) Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream recipe that is always a winner, but I decided to branch out and try something with a little vanilla bean in it.

I referenced the great book of ice-cream recipes (The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz) and this is what he had.  It is a custard based vanilla (hello 6 egg yolks!) and I will admit that it takes a little time and patience for this one.

I found it perfect with tart berries and a little cake.  I will admit however that my Vanilla Ice Cream (haagen dazs copycat) is still my favorite!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz - "Vanilla Ice Cream"
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup heavy cream and salt in a medium saucepan.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well.  Cover, remove from heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.  In a separate medium sized bowl whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yokes, whisking constantly and scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture continually over medium heat with a heatproof spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Put the vanilla bean back into the custard, add the vanilla extract and stir until cool over an ice bath (or put in the refrigerator and stir every 5-10 minutes until cool).
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  When you're ready to make the ice-cream remove the vanilla bean (you can rinse it and save for another use/recipe) then freeze the mixture according to your ice-cream maker directions.  If you like it soft eat right away, otherwise put the ice-cream back into the freezer overnight or until hard (that's how we like it).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Circus Clowns

The circus has come to town today on Fisher Price Friday.  Well at least the Circus Clowns #675 set made from 1984-1990.  These clowns came in a pack of 3 and were designed to be played with alone or with the Crazy Clown Fire Brigade #657 or the Circus Train #991.

From 1984-1988 the set included a purple clown, lime green clown and a orange clown (note he should have a blue scarf for this set).  All three of these pieces were exclusive to this set.  They even had names: Chuckles, Jiffy and Smiley (L to R).

From 1989-1990 the set included a red clown (light or dark red), lime green clown and a orange clown (with the yellow scarf as shown).  So basically they just switched out the purple clown for a red one this year.  Note that the red clown is not exclusive to this set, it was also in the #991 Circus Train.

How fun are clowns?  Now these weren't the only clowns around.  The Crazy Clown Fire Brigade has two other clowns, one tall blue one and a short black clown with a fireman hat.


Crazy Clown Brigade clowns, both are exclusive to the Crazy Clown Brigade #657.  The tall clown is the tallest FPLP character and in this set could also have a yellow tie and/or a white fireman's hat.  The short fireman clown could also have a white hat.

For more clowning around see the Circus Train #991

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One Pot Cooking - Pasta Recipe

I've seen a One Pot pasta recipe flying around Pinterest lately.  It's super easy, you put a bunch of ingredients in a pot and cook them.  The end.

It sounded too good to be true so I decided to give it a try.  I only made a couple small changes like adding mushrooms and using chicken broth instead of vegetable.  It turned out pretty well although I think the main attraction to this dish is the ease more than the taste.

One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta from Apron Strings
Serves 4 to 6 as an entree
12 ounces linguine pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used 1/4 tsp)
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Have you tried the one pot method?  What did you think?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

House Party - Gevalia Coffee

As you may know I love House Party.  Getting free things in the mail to share with my friends is my idea of a good time.  Especially parties that involve coffee!  Recently I was picked to hostess a Gevalia Coffee House Party.  I invited a bunch of my momma friends for a morning coffee play-date (at a fabulous friend's house) and it was on!

This package full of goodies arrived the week before the party.  I received stainless steel coffee mugs, stainless steel coffee scoops, coffee (of course!) and a bunch of coupons to share.

My friends and their kiddos all met on a hot hot morning for some hot (well mostly iced) coffee and fun.  This was my attempt at a group photo with my self-timer.  Ha!

This one worked much better.  Most of the kids were running around the backyard but a few made it into the photo.

We all decided that Gevalia coffee is quite good.  So good that I may have had 2 full tumblers worth.  Let's just say I was feeling quite AWAKE that morning.  Ha!

I made some for my husband and he loved it too.  So much that we're switching from our prior brand (World Market) to this one.  

*Note: I was not reimbursed or paid by Gevalia or House Party to say all these lovely things.  We really do like the coffee and I thought I'd pass it on!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sew Simple - Throw Pillows!

I had my second sewing class a couple weeks ago.  I'm all official now that I have my own Brother 4000 sewing machine to bring with me.

However, I am still very much a beginner.  This machine is advertised for beginners and even has steps written on the machine to show how to thread, insert a bobbin, fill a bobbin, etc.  Nevertheless I required help to figure it all out and fortunately my friend was able to show me the ropes.

For example, on the right is the bobbin I tried to do myself at home.  And on the left is the bobbin she helped me do.  Same machine, ah, operator error at it's best. :)

This month's class was to make these Simple Throw Pillows.  Aren't they adorable?  The little tie and contrasting fabric make them look more complicated then they actually were to produce.

Want to make your own?  Go to Amy's blog and she has the (free) tutorial right there!

Can't wait for next month's class!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Farm Tractor and Cart

Howdy folks, today I'd like to share a cute little Fisher Price play set.  It's the Play Family Farm Tractor and Cart #716.  Made from 1969-1972 this set came out one year after the classic Play Family Farm #915.  This set could either be added to the Farm or used by itself.

The set came with 5 pieces.  A tractor, wagon, rooster, hen and a cowboy (boy size).  The cowboy has a wood head and body (plastic hat) and there were no variations.  The boy in the photo is in fabulous condition, he looks new!

The roosters and chickens were the original type, which is two halves stuck together.  As shown in the photo, the rooster on the left is the old version (made for FP sets from 1968-1973).  It has a shallow square hole and a seam down the middle.  The newer roosters (shown on the right) were one piece with "Made in Hong Kong" stamped around the bottom.  The original roosters/chickens are more rare and therefore more valuable on the resale market.

The wagon for this set is red/orange with big yellow wheels.  There is a lithograph of an engine on each side of the tractor.  The wheels may or may not be marked with "Fisher Price" on them (the black wheels).  There is also a yellow cart with 2 black wheels. It attaches to the back of the tractor.

Happy Farming to ya!

For more farm fun check out the Play Family Farm #915
And check out my Etsy shop, I often have farm pieces for sale if you want your own. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

(semi)Wordless Wednesday - A-Tisket A-Tasket a toddler in a basket

We came upon the baby last week just hanging out.

In a little basket.

A really tiny basket.  Good thing she's small.

That's my girl.