Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Frozen Castle Kit

Christmas is over and we didn't get around to making our "gingerbread house" until Monday night.  However, it's perfect this year because we bought the Frozen Castle Kit which basically can be used anytime in the winter, am I right? :)

Look what we made! Isn't it beautiful?

It was a pretty easy kit but did require adult and child participation, which is perfect for my 3 & 7 year olds.  We frosted, "painted" (using an included paintbrush and frosting) and decorated.  

Good times.

And it turned out pretty well if I do-say-so-myself. :)  I believe it's edible (huge sugar cookies) but I'm not sure if it will taste good after a few days on our counter.  I'll let you know.

We even had frosting left over to decorate our "frozen" cookies and gingerbread men.  Win win!

We may never make a normal gingerbread house again.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Holiday Lights

The Fisher Price Play Family have decked the halls for the holidays.  The Play Family A Frame is the perfect winter cabin and looks lovely with lights and wreaths.


I set the A Frame up next to our Fisher Price tree.  The tree is full of my collection of Dept 56, Basic Fun, and Hallmark Fisher Price ornaments.  

Hope your Christmas was merry!  Did you get or give any vintage toys this year?  Next week I'll have a little summary of the vintage toys my girls received.

For more Christmas Fisher Price decorations check out:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

*Photo taken by my very favorite husband/photographer. :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Outdoor Christmas Decorations - Size doesn't matter

In my neighborhood we have quite a few very festive families.  They have Christmas trees in their windows and lighted displays in the front yard.  I'm talking lights, inflatable figures, nativities, moving deer statues, candy-cane trims, ornaments hanging from trees/bushes and cactus plants wearing Santa hats (this is the desert after all).

The inflatable figures are particularly popular on my street as there are many families with small children.  On my block alone there is a dinosaur (holding a present), snowman, Minnie mouse, marvel comics figures (superman, and a few others) and two spongebob squarepants displays.  Yes that's right, 2 (!!!) spongebob Christmas inflatables.  Most of these aren't super Christmas-y but hey, it's all good.

Then there is my house.  We don't have any lights (no outlets in the front of the house plus it's hard to get them up!), inflatables or even cactus wearing hats.  I'd like my cactus to be decked out in Santa or elf hats but I haven't found small enough ones just yet.

But we do have decorations!  Five to be exact.  Four lawn ornaments (no lawn so they're in the gravel) and one wreath.  They may be small but they were made with love.

My girls made them at the December Home Depot Kid's Workshop.  They each made a set of 3 (snowman, snowflake and a gingerbread person).  We passed 2 on as gifts and kept the other 4 for the yard.  

I made them weatherproof by spraying the finished product with a shellac.  

So there you go, I ask you, does size matter? :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Christmas Gifts

It's less than a week until Christmas so I thought I'd share some of my favorite Fisher Price themed giftable  items!  You know, in case you have time to rush order them for Christmas presents.  Or better yet, order them for yourself. :)

First up some teeny tiny pins with vintage Fisher Price toys on them.  How cute are these?  I put them next to FPLP figures so you could see their size.  I found them at an Etsy shop called The Escape Artist.  For only $3.50 (plus s/h) I received these three adorable little pins!

The little pins show the familiar Riding Horse #978, Chubby Cub #164 and Chatter Phone #747.

Next up Christmas ornaments!  I ordered these embellished and personalized LP ornaments from thatmakemejoy, another Etsy shop.  She makes LP figures into holiday themes like snowmen, gingerbread men or just people wearing holiday clothes. :)  She also personalizes the figures with names, dates or messages.  Mine look quite lovely with my girl's names on them, but I edited it out for this post.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  They range from $10-16 each and she ships very quickly and also offers priority shipping.

Last but not least I'm sharing my favorite little notepad.  How cute is this?  It was also from an Etsy shop, FBR Boulevard.  I see that the shop is now called Taggedforthelight and although this notebook isn't listed you could contact the seller to see if she still makes them. :)

So there you go.  Presents for you or the vintage Fisher Price loving person in your life.

You're welcome!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Craft Night - Advent Board

A couple weeks ago I spent the evening at a friend's home with some fabulous ladies making Christmas crafts!  It was our third annual Christmas Craft Night and this year we made count down to Christmas/Advent boards.  The best part of the night was hanging out, laughing, eating amazing food (and hot chocolate) and of course a bit of wine.  But we also made lovely crafts too!

The craft inspiration was a log slice with chalk paint and festive decorations.  However, when my BFF and I went to the local Hobby Lobby there was only one log slice left so I decided to get creative.  This of course is a stretch for me but here's what I came up with!

I took a photo frame, Christmas wrapping paper, a little hot glue, dry erase pens and a few decorations and voila!

Super simple and if I decide not to count down I could just write a message.  Now if I had better lettering it would be even cuter, but this is how I write so there you go. :)  I keep my board in the playroom next to the children's tree.

I think we all did a great job!

For more Christmas Crafts Check out:

Topiary Tree Craft
Kids Felt Christmas Tree
Mini Burlap Wreath
and when Christmas is over make this Christmas Card Coffee Table Book with the cards you received this year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Program Shenanigans aka My Youngest Does Her Own Thing

Yesterday my church had our Christmas children's program for Sunday service.  The kids have been practicing a special song and verse/poem each Sunday for weeks.  My youngest (age 3) has been singing their version of Twinkle Twinkle around the house over and over.

She sings it in her bed at night, for strangers at Target, in the car and even for the talking Giraffe at Zoo Lights last week.

She sang it during rehearsal on Saturday up on stage with a smile.

Would she sing it at church for the service.

Ummmm. No.

First service she sashayed, smiled and waved during the whole song.  Not one word did she sing.

Second service she took one look at us in the audience and burst into tears.  I sat next to her on the stage but she still didn't sing.  

She slowly inched her way off the risers towards me....and started to lift her dress up.  Fortunately I was close enough to stop that from happening. ;)

But don't worry.  She was all smiles after church and has been singing the song around the house again. ;)

My big girl (age 7) was an angel and she sang and performed beautifully.  So proud of both of my girls and thankful to have such a wonderful church that nurtures and loves them well!

Just in case you want to see my youngest actually sing here she is at the rehearsal the day before (in pink on the far left).

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Gas Station

Today on Fisher Price Friday I have another (planned) Christmas present to show you.  The Gas Station #2455 was made only in 1990 and it is another small set.  It only has three pieces: the base, boy and car.  However, it is designed to go along with the #2453 Beauty Salon and the #2454 Drive-In Movie Theater.  

Fisher Price also produced a collection of all 3 sets which was #2357 Little People "Village" Assortment.

The Gas Station came with a yellow bodied boy with brown hair.  There were no variations to the figure included in the set.  The one-seater car has a red bottom and a white top.  Alternately it came with a red top and a white bottom.

Here are is the pink #2453 next to the red #2455.  In some photographs these two cars can be mixed up.  I've purchased a car online before thinking it was pink and when it arrived it was actually red (and vice versa!).

Now onto the building.  It has a red base and a blue roof.  One side has a hole and the other a peg so that it can fit with the other two sets.  There is a gas pump with zeroed out lithograph (shows on both sides).  The gas nozzle is connected by a fabric hose.

The other side has an area for the attendant to stand and windows that open for the car to "pay".

The blue roof has the same lithograph on each side of a gas pump connected to an (awesome 80's) car.  My lithograph was torn/worn and missing when I purchased this (very hard to find!!) set.  A fabulous and talented collector helped me by sending replacement lithographs to make it new again!

You can find many replacement lithographs on Etsy or Ebay. There is some debate on whether lithographs cause more harm than good.  In my case I have only used lithographs for toys that we keep.  If and when I try to sell toys with replacement lithographs on them I will make sure to fully disclose this, as many collectors only want original parts/pieces (understandably).  

For my purposes (Christmas gift to my 3 year old), I am thrilled to have it look new again!

Its a sweet little set and after months of searching (for a reasonably priced version) I am happy to have it in our collection.

Here are all 3 sets; #2455 Gas Station, #2454 Drive-In Movie and the #2453 Beauty Salon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Champagne Chicken Recipe

Another day another chicken recipe!  But seriously we eat a lot of chicken around here.  Right now my very popular (and oh-so-easy/healthy) Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup is cooking in the crockpot for dinner and I'm about to share with you another wonderful recipe!

Last week I made this Champagne Chicken using my latest new friend, the cast-iron skillet/pan.  Man I love this thing.  Gifted to me a couple years ago from a friend I had NO idea how awesome it is until recently.  You can move from cooking on the stove directly to the oven.  Amazing.

This recipe is a little bit fancy and a lot yummy and is perfect for entertaining or just for feeding your family.  My kids approved and I was happy to have leftover champagne to drink in celebration! ;)  Since I was using bone-in chicken it is also a cheaper way to cook, even when using organic.   I used a packaged cut up chicken from Trader Joe's and saved the drumsticks for another night.

Champagne Chicken
1 Tablespoon olive oil 
2-4 organic chicken breasts or thighs (skin on, bone in) 
sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste) 
1 Large shallot (minced) 
1 cup Brut Champagne 
2 Tablespoon butter 
1 cup sliced mushrooms 
1 Tablespoon dried basil (or 2 tbsp fresh)
fresh lemon juice (to garnish) 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken to skillet and seer for 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken, and place on a plate. 
2. Remove pan from heat, and add shallots. Heat and stir for 1 minute. Add the Champagne and scrape bottom of pan to remove all of the cooked bits. Place the chicken back in the pan, baste with the champagne sauce and place in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until thoroughly cooked. 
3. Heat butter in a large non-stick pan. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from oven, and add the sauteed mushrooms. Stir in the basil and drizzle with lemon juice. 

I served it with brown rice and green beans.  
Bon Appetit! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Dept 56 Fisher Price Ornaments 2014 Part 2

Last month I showed you two of the 2014 Dept 56 Fisher Price ornaments.  This week I am going to introduce you to the last three released this year. Please note there is one more 2014 ornament that I did not include (nor purchase) because it uses new-style FPLP in the design and I'm partial/loyal to the classic/vintage little people and toys.

This colorful Cash Register ornament is my favorite from this year.  Patterned after the #972 Cash Register from 1960-1972 it is the closest replica!  Like the other Dept 56 ornaments this one doesn't "do" anything and is made of heavy plaster, but it is so bright and intricate.  It includes the same color patterns and small letter/number details.

The front of the register is virtually the same.  The numbers on the top of the register do not include the drawings behind them, but have the same color sequences.

The original #972 Cash Register had a green crank with yellow housing as seen in the ornament.  My register pictured was a later version.  Except for small details each side is exactly the same!

Even the top has the same "Cash Register" lithograph pictured.  And note that the drawer is slightly ajar in the ornament.  Our big version is usually this way too, ha!

Next up is the Huffy Puffy Train ornament based after the #999 Huffy Puffy Train toy.  We keep our train at Grandma's house so I couldn't show you side by side, but they look very similar!  

The wheels don't move on this little guy but he has the same colors as the full sized toy.  Also the words HUFFY PUFFY printed on top in white.

Even the back has the same FP logo as the original.  Love the detailing!  

Last but not least is the Peek-A-Boo Screen ornament.  Based on the #196 Hey Diddle Color Screen Color TV Music Box from the 1960's; this ornament features Santa busy in his toy workshop.  

The similarities between the two are the controls in the front, the Peek A Boo Screen sign as well as the music notes along the bottom.  They are also both blue with red handles (painted on the ornament), a white base and yellow antenna toppers (although the ornament antenna isn't supposed to move). 

The differences in the two toys are in the shape and side/top decorations.  The ornament is a rectangle box and only has the FP logo on each side (nothing in the back).  It does not include a peek-a-boo screen on the top like the original either.  However, it is still a cute ornament and perfect for the Christmas season.

I have decorated a little 3 foot tree in my children's playroom with all of my Fisher Price Ornaments.  It is one of my favorite decorations!  I love that even after I pass on most of these full sized toys I'll have the tiny ornament version to remind me of them.

For more Fisher Price ornaments look here:

Dept 56

2013 Dept 56 (Pull a Tune Xylophone, Chatter Phone, Rock a Stack)
2014 Dept 56 Pt 1 (Radio Clock, Fisher Price Camera)

Basic Fun

Series 1 (Candy Cane Corn Popper, Little People Toboggan, Santa and Dr. Duck, Snoop N Sniff Reindeer, Winky Blinky Fire Truck, Rock-A-Stack Snowman)
Series 2 (Fisher-Price Toy Chest, Christmas Mini Copter, Chatter Phone Santa 
Little People Santa's Workshop, Christmas Express, Little People School Bus)

Hallmark Fisher Price Ornaments:

2007 - See 'N Say 
2008 - Play Family Farm 
2008 - View-Master 
2009 - School Bus 
2009 - Chatter Telephone 
2010 - Play Family Fun Jet 
2010 - Zookeeper Says 
2010 - Play Family School 
2011 - Music Box Teaching Clock 
2011 - Play Family House 
2011 - Little People Lil' Movers Fire Truck (not a vintage toy) 
2011 - Snoop 'N Sniff - Limited quantity 
2012 - Corn Popper 
2012 - Two Tune TV

So many!  If you look on Etsy or Ebay you can also find people who make ornaments out of classic Little People.  Sometimes by simply adding a hook or by custom painting them.  Adorable!  I plan on adding more of those to my collection this year.

Most of these ornaments can be found on Ebay.  The latest Dept 56 ornaments can be found online at various sources including Amazon, Macys and other ornament stores.  I also found them in person at Lowes hardware.  

Most online sources ship out the ornaments in bubble wrap with a tag attached (as shown in my photos).  However, if you buy them in stores such as Lowes you can get them in these lovely FP vintage looking boxes. 

This year Lowes was selling two ornaments from last year (xylophone and the rock-a-stack) and the cash register from this year.  The boxes were so cute that I had to buy another set just to have them.  Prices for current ornaments are $10.97 and up.

If you see them in any other stores let me know!