Friday, August 30, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Raindrops Pocket Radio

We've had quite a bit of summer rain this week so today's toy is perfect for Fisher Price Friday.  It's another pocket radio, this time the Raindrops Pocket Radio #762.  Made from 1972-1977 this radio has a wood case and a plastic face.  The plastic handle is white with red stripes.

RAINDROPS keep fall-in' on my head - And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed, Noth-in' seems to fit.  These rain-drops are fall-in' on my head.  They keep fall-in'.  Because I'm free.-

How cute are these little tow-heads?  They remind me of some little blond sweeties I happen to know. :)

If you look close you can see a boy and a girl playing in the rain, a sailboat and a frog jumping around.

One side of the pocket radio has a rain gutter pipe pouring into a wooden barrel.  The other side has a duck swimming while holding an umbrella.

The lithograph that go around while the radio plays include drawings of children playing in the rain, feeling rain outside their window and a little boy sleeping (with feet that don't fit in his bed of course).

For more music box Fisher Price Toys check out:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sew Simple Lets Get Cookin' Apron

I took another sewing class last week and the project was a high waisted apron.  It took 2 different fabrics and turned out great!  I have to admit that when I first planned for the apron I thought it would be primarily chevron with a yellow sash, but I forgot to account for the direction of the chevron.  Whoops.  This way works too.  My apron also ended up a bit longer than my friends, most likely because I spend far too much time talking and not enough time paying attention to things like cutting out fabrics.  Ha!

The pattern came from my friend and sewing-guru Amy of This Big Oak Tree.  You can get the free tutorial on her blog here.  It was pretty simple and the only tricky part (for me) was learning how to gather.  

See, sew simple!  Can't wait for next month's project.

For more Sew Simple projects with free tutorials check out:

and a little bit harder

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup

It's a lovely overcast and slightly rainy morning here in the desert so I thought I'd share a soup recipe. :)  It will be over 100 today but it looks cold outside so that's close enough for me!  I made this soup recently after we'd had too many fast-food, starchy, not enough vegetable meals in a row.  My body was calling out for kale and this is what I made.  I adapted a few recipes that I found online to make my own!  I used chicken sausages from Costco (they look like big hot dogs) but you could use kielbasa or another type of sausage.  I use beans that I've frozen ahead in 2 cup portions, look here for directions on making dried beans ahead in the crockpot!

Bean, Kale and Chicken Sausage Soup

2-3 apple chicken sausages (I use Chef Bruce Aidells from Costco)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2-3 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
2 small zucchini, sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 box chicken broth (32 oz)
2 cups black beans (or 1 can)
2 cups pinto beans (or 1 can)
1/2 head kale, center ribs removed and discarded, leaves washed and chopped (around 2.5 cups)

Slice the sausage into 1/4" rounds. Heat olive oil in bottom of soup pan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add sausage in a single layer and brown on one side, around 2 minutes. Flip and brown the other side. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add onions to pan and saute, stirring to scrape up the bits left by the sausage, until the onions are nice and soft, around 5-8 minutes. Add garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Saute for 1 minute. Add in carrots and zucchini and continue to saute until vegetables have softened slightly, around 7-10 minutes longer. Add chicken broth, beans, and reserved sausage to pot.  Bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Add in the kale, stirring until it wilts, approximately 3 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if desired.

We added Parmesan cheese to the top of our soup, especially my 5 year old's portion. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Cash Register

This week on Fisher Price Friday it is the new reproduction version of the Cash Register #2044.  The original version of the classic FP register was made between 1991-1994.  Like prior versions it is designed for 2-6 year olds.  It has the same basic function as prior sets, just different colors and decorations.  We already had the Cash Register #926 and my girls decided to keep this newer version instead.

Up until recently this version was currently for sale on the Fisher Price website.  I'm including a description on FP Fridays because it is such a close reproduction that it initially fooled me.  I had no idea it was a repro!

The main way to tell the difference is in the FP logo on the drawer.  The 1990's version had Fisher Price written in blue in rather large letters.  The repro has the red/white FP logo as seen in my photo.  

Unlike prior versions there are no lithographs on the sides or back of this register.  Just bright primary colors against a white base.

The coins with the set is the other way to tell between the 1990's version and the repro.  The 1990s set came with 6 coins; two of each number (5, 10 & 25).  They do not have symbols, just the number on one side and the FP logo on the other.

The reproduction coins are not solid, they have cut outs on the top and bottom of each coin.  The orange 5 cent coin has a 1/2 sun on the opposite side.  The yellow 10 cent coin has a profile of a man wearing a hat.  The red 25 cent coin has a bird.  

Like prior registers the drawer opens and a bell rings when the yellow side crank is turned.  If the orange "change" button has been pressed then the coins will be in the drawer.  If the yellow "sale" button has been pressed then the coins will come out the side slide.

My toddler can't get enough of this set.  She love putting the coins in and pressing all the buttons. 

And for fun here is my daughter playing with the newer and older versions of the cash register.  She's got a future in finance, I can just tell!

For more cash registers check out the 1975-1990 Cash Register #926
If you're looking for coins for the #926 let me know, I have a few extras to sell right now.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Birthday Balloon Photo Shoot

A couple weeks ago I shared my 2 year old's fabulous Fisher Price Little People themed party.  Today I want to show you how we used her decorations as photo props.

It's pretty simple, you just need 1 1/2 - 2 dozen helium balloons, a chair/stool and a happy birthday girl!  Throw in a slightly-jealous but still happy big sister and you're all set. ;)

After the birthday party we let the kids basically play with the balloons.

Even a simple juice break makes for a fun photo.

And we didn't want to leave big sister out!

And my very favorite, sorry but I love this face!

For more birthday photos look at last year's Birthday Pink Party Balloon Shoot

Monday, August 19, 2013

In Celebration of Breastfeeding Month

August is National Breastfeeding month.  I am not celebrating as a breastfeeding mom this year, but I am still in support of breastfeeding!  My sweet baby girl weaned shortly after her 2nd birthday last month.  It had been my plan for her to finish when she was ready and that's exactly what happened.

It happened gradually and very naturally and for that I am grateful.  It is a bittersweet milestone and although I had hoped she'd been done by age 2 it was still hard to see those baby-days go.

Last year I wrote about the benefits of extended breastfeeding (past 1 year of age).  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends BF until age 2 and for us it was a good fit.  I have to emphasize that I strongly believe BF should be comfortable and agreeable for both the mom and the child.  For many moms extended BF isn't a good option.  I'm thankful that it worked well with both of my girls, despite some challenges early on.  

So to celebrate BF month I have a few things to show you.  First is a link to my very famous Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip (lactation) cookies.  I will be making these cookies for many many more years, babies or no babies.  They are healthy for everyone, not just lactating moms. :) 

The following items are from Etsy.  

Breast Milk Bead Pendant by Mommy Milk.

This is something very unique.  It is a pendant made out of your milk (the flower part inside).  I haven't had one made, but I still think it's a interesting idea. :)

Keep Calm and Nurse on Pendant by Home Studio.  Only $9.  

I love this one!

Modern Momma Nursing Necklace by KangarooCare.  $13, this was our favorite teething necklace which is also lovely for babies to play with while breastfeeding.

And from Amazon:

Mama's Milk A sweet children's book that normalizes breastfeeding. 

More entries on Breastfeeding:

Benefits of Extended Nursing
Dealing with Mastitis

Happy National Breastfeeding Month!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Airport Crew

Today on Fisher Price Friday put your seat back up and your tray table away.  That's right, we're taking to the skies with the Airport Crew/Jetport Crew #678.  There are two versions of the crew with three pieces each.  They were made between 1984-1990 and are designed to be played with alone or as an accompaniment to the Jetport #933, Airport #2502, Jetliner #2360 or the Jetliner #182.

This first set was made from 1984-1988 and was referred to as the Jetport Crew.  It featured two exclusive little people, the tan stewardess and tan pilot.  The blue AA pilot was found in 2 other sets (Main Street #2500 and Airport #2502).

The second set was made from 1989-1990 and was referred to as the Airport Crew.  This set did not have any exclusive pieces.  The tall blue stewardess is also in the Airport #2502.  The green pilot is in two helicopter sets; Air Lift Copter #635 and the Airlift Copter #2449.  He also became the Zoo Keeper in later versions of the Zoo #916.

I have one more special stewardess to show you.  She's from the Airport #2502 which was the last airport made with the classic little people.  It is very similar to the Jetport #933, with small changes to the base color and accessories.  

Isn't she a beauty? 

Fly safe and listen to your airport crew! :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dumpster Diving with my Kids

I have a confession to make, I went dumpster diving with my kids this summer.  Now..before you call the authorities I will clarify that it was at a Goodwill store.  A Goodwill Outlet to be specific.

Store or no store there is no mistaking that this was dumpster diving.  I'd never seen anything like it, I was partly fascinated and partly repulsed. ;)

The Goodwill Outlet (in Tacoma, WA) was a huge building.  The back half had the donation processing center which was interesting to observe (through a chain link fence).  You could see the huge recycling machines and watch all the busy workers sorting out shoes, clothes, toys, housewares, etc.

The front of the building was the "store" which consisted of huge/long dumpsters chock full of random junk.  Everything was just thrown together in a pile.  People milled about picking through the dumpsters, unpacking and throwing items to get to the bottom.  Crazy!

I had my youngest in a stroller and my 5 year old peeking over the top of the dumpster pointing out all kinds of crazy crap that she "wanted".

Just in case you're curious the items are bought by the pound.  Yes that's right, you bring your stack to the register and they put it on a scale.  I think it was $1.49 a pound.

It was an interesting experience that required lots of hand washing when we were done.  Ha!  No more dumpster diving for me!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Celebrating the First Day of School

My oldest daughter started school today.  She is a proud 1/2 day Kindergartner and couldn't be more excited!

I wanted to start some family traditions to celebrate the milestone of starting school and to mark the start of a new school year.  This is especially difficult around here since we start SO early.  For goodness sakes it was 104 degrees outside!  Where I grew up fall was at least making an attempt at starting and it was mid-September.

But I digress.

Last night we had a special dinner where my daughter got to pick out what we ate.  She choose her favorites; beef roast, quinoa (!!!!) and peas with a popsicle for dessert.

This morning I took the girls to Starbucks and she had a iced chocolate milk while we talked about school.  I asked her the following questions and wrote them down for her baby book.  I plan on asking these questions for the next few first days of school:

1.  What are you most excited about?
2.  What are you most nervous about?
3.  What do you hope to learn this year at school?

I would also add the name of her teacher but she doesn't have one yet (!!!, they're trying to hire one).

When she gets home I will ask her:

1. What are the names of your new friends?
2. What was your favorite part about school?
3. What did you learn today?

I made her a crown to wear this morning with a K in sparkles.  I had her decorate the crown with stickers before we left the house this morning.  I intend on making a crown each year to wear at the dinner before school starts or a special morning outing to celebrate starting school!

Then I gave her a special gift, it's a necklace and I have one of the same type.  I told her that she can wear it today and if she misses me or home she can hold her necklace and know that I've got one on too.  I said if I got sad and missed her I'd do the same.

Her necklace said "So Deer" and has a little deer charm.  We talked about the different meanings of deer/dear and how she is so special to me.

My necklace says "she makes each minute count" with a clock charm.  I told her that she will be learning so much and making each minute at school count.  Also that I'll be counting down the minutes until she comes back home again. :)

Another idea for a school day present/transitional item would be matching bracelets, socks or superhero/character pins (the last two would work for boys also).

Our family walked her to the bus stop in the 104 degree heat (sheesh!) and she happily climbed up into the kindergarten bus.  I can say that although I've teared up here and there getting closer to her starting school I was able to keep it together this afternoon.

Her little sister insisted on wearing a "pack-back" to the bus stop just like big sister.  She waved at her as she got on the bus and then promptly told me "no nap".  Great.

Here is little sister and a neighborhood friend.  They'll be on that bus in only 3 more years!

linked to:
made by you mondays

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My kid needs cups to sleep

Most children develop an attachment to a special item.  For example a specific blanket, stuffed animal, doll or perhaps an item of clothing.  This item gives them a sense of security at bedtimes, when away from familiar surroundings or when separated from parents.

The most common would be a blanket or a stuffed animal.  Many parents purchase spares so that they can be easily replaced if lost.  This is important come bedtime when said blanket has gone missing and your child is hysterical.

The girls with their blankets.

My first child she didn't form an attachment to any particular item right away, it took some time for her to form a bond with a blanket.  We still have that blanket for bedtime but she doesn't need to take it everywhere (fortunately).  We have tried to locate a similar replacement for when this one wears out but have been unsuccessful.

Blanket, babies, cups and animal security items on vacation this summer.

Now my second child, who just turned 2 has already had a few different security items.  First was her blanket (lovely goodmama bamboo cuddle blanket).  She still needs to have her blanket ("lank-let") at night but she also needs a few other items and one in particular.  She prefers at least 2 small baby dolls.  But that isn't enough, they need to have their clothes off (including the hat).  But that isn't enough yet either, the clothes need to be near the doll, just not on it.


If that wasn't specific and maddening enough (especially when the clothes go missing) she now has formed a strong attachment to plastic stacking cups.  Yes that's right, cups.

Not just any cups, these are special made-from-recycled-milk-carton cups by Green Toys and were a baby gift from my BFF.  Somewhere along the way she decided they were amazing and she insists on taking them everywhere (if possible).  Specifically 2 cups.  Not just any 2 cups though, the 2 purple ones.  She NEEDS them to go to sleep at night and when I go in to check on her more often than not she is holding one in her hand.

A couple nights ago we couldn't find one of the cups.  The purple #4 to be exact and she was beside herself.  She couldn't settle down and kept yelling "cup cup cup".  Oh my.  I tore the house apart trying to find that stupid little purple cup.  I tried to convince her that the green #2 or blue #3 would work for just that night but she would have none of it.

Finally I found #4 purple under the couch and she was able to settle down and sleep, happily stacking and unstacking her cups in the darkness of her room.

Let's just say I am going to stock up on another set (or 2) of those cups this week!

Playing with the cups outside.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fisher Price Friday - Little People School

Today on Fisher Price Friday we're going back to school.  Believe it or not my daughter starts school next week so this is very timely for me.  Today's set is the Little People School #2550 which was made from only 1988-1990.  This set is an updated take on a school, replacing the Play Family School #923 which was discontinued (in wide release) in 1978.

The Little People School came with many accessories, there were 13 from 1988-1989 and 12 in 1990.  The set came with a yellow bus, jump rope, skateboard, slide out playground, white flag, red stop sign, 5 people, box of chalk (not pictured) and a white play barrel (not pictured).

The 1988 version featured the people as shown.  The only exclusive person in the first two versions is the black girl with a green body.  She appeared in all 3 versions of this set.  The 1989 version had the same people except the blue boy was caucasian instead of black.

The 1990 version featured a teacher with glasses (she was found in one other set, the #2551 Neighborhood), an orange girl with glasses (another exclusive to this set) and the blue boy how has Asian looking eyes.  The Asian boy was in only one other set, the 2504 Garage.

The playground slides underneath the school for storage.  However, it can still be used for play even when stored. In this position the orange slide is accessed by the blue walkway on the roof.  The walkway is similar to the ones on the Western Town #934 and Sesame Street Clubhouse #937.  It moves along by turning the orange crank on the side.  At the end the little person gets dumped off onto the top of the slide.

The roof above the blue walkway has a lithograph of a Lunch Lady and a lunch line.  

The other side of the roof has a scrolling alphabet that shows the letters from A to Z with different words and picture for each.  The letters scroll by either pushing the white bell tower on the roof or by scrolling the blue knob on the side of the school.  The scrolling alphabet was only included in the 1988-1989 versions.  In 1990 it was omitted and replaced with a lithograph with "Fisher Price" and "School" written on it.  In this photo you can also see the side of the school (red wall) in the closed position.  

When the wall folds down you can see into the school.  The folded out wall also provides a chalkboard (blue).  The school has 4 built in student desks and a orange teacher desk.  There are lithographs on one wall of a chalkboard and globe.  On the floor of the school there is a trap door that leads to the playground.

Here's the little boy coming out of the chute from the trap door in the school.  The lithograph on the side of the school includes a basketball hoop with a bird sitting on top.  Also a brown and white dog playing ball.

The pull out playground has an attached seesaw, orange slide, and yellow balance beam.  There is also an orange gate that opens and closes (at the top of the photo).  The set should also include a white barrel that would be placed in the space adjacent to the balance beam.  The playground has a lithograph of a hopscotch game and the rest of the features are built into the plastic base (shrubs, flowers, etc).

The jump rope is just like the one from the Sesame Street Clubhouse but has different colors.  It is operated by the blue crank on the side and there is a spot for a little person to watch the fun.

The yellow skateboard was exclusive to the school.  It was omitted from the set in 1990.

The other transportation came with the yellow school bus.  The bus was an exclusive to this set and is similar in size to the Mini Bus #141, but it all plastic and not a wood/plastic combo.  It holds only 4 people and is riding on tiny little black wheels (smaller than the wheels on all other buses).  

The set has a ramp going up to the school door for the bus to drop off students.  Grooves in the plastic on the top keep it from rolling back down.  You can also see the red walk/don't walk sign that is operated by the red lever on the left.  Safely first!

Happy Back to School!