Friday, January 31, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Drive-In Movie Theater

Today on Fisher Price Friday we're off to the movies.  But not just any movie theater, it's a drive-in!  I don't know about your family but we LOVE the drive-in.  I find it to be less expensive and stressful than a traditional movie theater, at least with little kids.  So my girls love playing with this set, it's a familiar location. :)

The Drive-In Movie Theater #2454 was made only in 1990.  There were three little sets produced that year that went together: Drive-In Movie Theater, Beauty Salon #2453 and Gas Station #2455.  They were sold individually or as a group in the #2357 Little Village Assortment.  

The Drive-In has only 3 pieces; the base, car and a person.  The car is a yellow one seater and is either all yellow (as shown) or a white/yellow combination.  The boy has black molded hair and a blue body and is either Caucasian or African-American.

The base of the drive-in includes a ticket/refreshment counter, drive through base and of course the movie screen.  The picture on the theater screen changes by turning the red dial on the top.

There are pictures of beach scenes and lots of happy kids and adults playing in the water.

The backside of the theater has a large lithograph of stars, movie film and spotlights.  The ticket counter has a small lithograph of stickers.

The sets have pegs and holes on each side so that they can connect (as shown above).  

For more information on the Beauty Salon #2453 go here.

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

Have a great weekend and if you're in the Phoenix area check out our local drive-in!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I hopped on the Kombucha train

I finally worked up enough bravery to try Kombucha.  Do you know what it is?  It's basically fermented tea and it's been around for over 2000 years but is just recently taking off in popularity here in the US.

I'd seen it in stores, read a bit about it and watched my BFF drink it but took awhile to actually try it.  I was put off by the fact that it is fermented, alive and has bits floating around that resemble some sort of a fungus (not actually a mushroom).  However, I finally gave in after reading about the many nutritional qualities the primary being that it's a probiotic.  Probiotics help with digestion and producing nutrients.  Other Kombucha claims (not proven yet) include: immunity boosting and illness fighting (everything from cancer to baldness).  Now I'm not saying it's a miracle drink, but I figured the probiotic benefit alone was worth giving it a try.

I bought 3 flavors to start, all recommended by my BFF.  The bottles are 2 servings so the first time I poured the Citrus flavor into a glass (keeping the slimy stuff safely in the bottle) and bravely took a sip.  Much to my surprise it actually tasted good!  Like a ginger ale/orange soda combo.  It has the fizz of soda and the crispness of ginger ale.  It smells a bit like vinegar.

The next flavor I tried was the Lavender and I liked that one just as well.  Hooray!  I was a little braver with that bottle and actually drank some of the sludge from the bottom.  It was just fine.  Last but not least is the Gingerberry flavor which I am drinking this very minute.  It has a lovely pink color but of the three is my least favorite flavor.

So how did I feel?  I thought that it worked as a probiotic and I had much more energy than if I'd had a typical soda or fizzy juice drink.  At over $3 a bottle I'm not sure if I want to drink it everyday but I can see how people would choose it over say, Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up.

I'd love to learn to make my own Kombucha and perhaps that will be my next do-it-yourself adventure.  Anyone have a scoby starter I could have a "baby" from? ;)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Jolly Jalopy

Today on Fisher Price Friday I'd love to present a happy clown pull toy.  He's the Jolly Jalopy #724 made between 1965-1978.  As creepy clowns go he's not so bad, he has a relatively harmless smile although his bobbing head is a bit creepy. ;)  He has a plastic pull in the front and the jalopy makes a putt-putt sound and the wheels wobble when pulled.

The Jalopy is wood with lithographs all around.  Each side is the same.  The clown has a wood head, hat and nose.  The jalopy has plastic wheels, convertible top (it's folded down in the back), windshield and grille.

The front of the jalopy has a grille, fp logo and two headlights.  The back of the jalopy has the fp logo and the toy number.  Also little taillights (on the lithograph).

There were a few variations to this cute clown face.  He could have star eyes (more creepy), angry eyes with sharp brows (super creepy), a red mouth (with black outline) or a black mouth without an outline.  This version is my favorite.

He may be a happy clown but he's still a clown so I'll be selling this one in my Etsy shop. :)

For More Pull Toys Check Out:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tooth Fairy Traditions

My sweet oldest daughter lost her first tooth almost a year ago at the tender age of five.  I was completely surprised at this event which for some reason I assumed happened to older children!  At the time I quickly researched Tooth Fairy traditions because beyond putting money under the pillow I hadn't prepared anything.

A little googling and some of my own ideas came together and for the benefit of others I'm posting what we did/are doing.  My #1 word of advice is plan ahead before your children's teeth start getting loose!

We were able to use our ideas a few times last year because she ended up loosing (or having pulled) 4 more!  She has another loose tooth right now so I'll be pulling out my "Tooth Fairy" stash soon.

Loosing Teeth/Tooth Fairy Traditions

1. Exchange Tooth for Money - Now this is pretty basic but required a mention. :)  Basically your child puts the tiny little tooth under their pillow when they go to bed.  During the night you exchange the tooth for some money.  We have been reimbursing a $1 for a tooth but you could give any amount that seems reasonable.  Remember they have a lot of teeth to lose so don't start an expensive precedent!

I'd like to make a mention to the creative way my family handled loosing teeth when I was a child.  Instead of putting them under a pillow we put them in a glass of water.  Up on the dresser the Tooth Fairy would replace the tooth with a couple coins.  When I was older the glass was kept on the kitchen counter and change was added to the tooth (b/c I was saving the teeth myself since I knew there was no Tooth Fairy at that point).  My sister and I would keep the glass on the counter until we thought there was enough change in there, ha!  Note I still have a tiny little pink pouch full of all my baby teeth saved somewhere around here. ;)

2. Tooth Holder - If you're not using a glass of water I suggest putting the tooth under the pillow into something as those teeth can be very small and you don't want to be fumbling around behind their bed because it fell!  We used a small plastic jewelry box but if you planned ahead you could order a nice Tooth Fairy box.

After a couple teeth fell out I got my act together and sewed a little Tooth Fairy Pillow.  It's not the prettiest pillow ever but it works.  

3. Write a Tooth Fairy Note - A Tooth Fairy note was an idea that came to me that first night.  I thought a little encouraging message would be appreciated.  I addressed it like a real letter with her name and our address and wrote with a silver colored pen which seemed fairy-like to me. :)  I put her dollar in the envelope with the card and slipped it under her pillow when I took the tooth.

Now, if I'd planned ahead I could have purchased special papers or kits especially for this purpose!  As it is I'm saving the specific stationery that I used so that I have enough for the many teeth to come!

4. Special Circumstances - In an ideal tooth-losing world your child would lose a tooth, put it under their pillow and receive money.  However, sometimes glitches can arise such as a swallowed tooth, lost tooth or pulled tooth!  What to do then?

We've only had pulled teeth here and decided that a pulled tooth deserves double $$ so she gets $2 each for a pulled tooth!  For swallowed/lost teeth I've been told the child can write a special note (or parents can write for them) that explains to the Tooth Fairy about the lost/swallowed tooth.  I don't recommend giving extra $$ for swallowed teeth b/c I think you may find more teeth being "accidentally" swallowed if your child is bright enough to figure out that makes them worth more!

5. Family Celebration - The night of the lost tooth we have a special toast to celebrate the accomplishment.  We chill some sparkling grape juice and pull out the wine glasses.  I think this may be my daughter's favorite part! 

6. Tooth Fairy Books - When their teeth start to get loose I recommend picking up some books about the Tooth Fairy.  There are many to choose from, my daughter especially likes this one The Night Before the Tooth Fairy by Natasha Wing. 

7. Take Photos - Another obvious one but take photos, especially with the first few teeth.  When my daughter lost her first tooth we were at the playground.  We did a little jump up and down, scream/ shout celebration and quickly sent a photo to her dad at work so he could see.  She was SO proud!  

Hey, before we know it they'll be all grown up with adult teeth so enjoy these "firsts"!

Now about keeping those baby teeth.  Some of my friends toss them in the trash but I'm keeping them for now.  I stashed them way up high so that my daughter doesn't accidentally discover them while she still believes in the Tooth Fairy.  Perhaps someday she'll want all her baby teeth if she's sentimental like her mom.  If she's like her dad she'll think that's gross and throw them in the trash.  Only time will tell, ha!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Play Family Castle

Today I'm going to try to tackle of the the biggest and arguably the most popular vintage Fisher Price Little People set!  It's the Play Family Castle #993.  Made from 1974-1977 it was so popular that FP reintroduced it briefly in 1988.  Almost all of its accessories were exclusive to this set, only the horses were not.

This set is the largest and heaviest set which is one reason that I put off adding it to our collection.  However, having two little girls that are currently interested in princesses, castles and queens I had to relent and gave it to my girls for Christmas this year.   

The castle is made out of paper, plastic and cardboard and is covered all over with lithographs.  It also has fun features like a trap door (my youngest's favorite), drawbridge, sliding stairs, flag on a (irresistible to my 2 year old) spring, dragon lair and a dungeon!  

The Play Family Castle came with 6 people.  The family includes a King, Queen, Prince and Princess.  However, our Castle has two princesses since we have two little girls here. :)  The original version had wood bodies and plastic heads/crowns.  The 1988 edition were all plastic.  Note that I have a plastic Queen from the 1988 edition but the rest are original (wood).

The knight and the woodsman.  The knight was always all plastic, but this version of the woodsman is original (wood body, plastic head/hat).  Note that in the 1988 edition the woodsman had a scarf like a farmer, not like the star shown on the original.  Also the woodsman has a fun feature on his hat, what at first glance appears to be teethmarks (not uncommon in these toys, ha!) is actually a tiny feather.  He's got a feather in his cap!  His cap can also be yellow, although I believe that is a rarer version.

The animals included two horses; a brown horse and a black horse.  Both have white manes and tails.  Earlier editions of the castle included horses with metal rivets in their tummies, but they could also be smooth (just plastic tummy).  Along with the horses came a horse saddle/blanket, decorative harness and carriage.  There are variations to the plastic colors, alternating yellow and white.  Some suggest that there were different "correct" combinations depending on the year of the Castle.  For example the blanket and the harness colors were opposite, so I should have a white harness to match my yellow blanket.

However, because the harness and blanket are already hard to find items I think that any combination is just fine. :)  The harness, blanket and carriage were exclusive to the Castle set.

The last (but not least) animal is a Dragon.  He is spectacular with a bright pink color and arms, legs, tail that make him able to hang out all sorts of places.  A common problem with the Dragons is loose limbs, which seem to happened over time.  If your Dragon is in good condition it can still stand on its hind legs as shown.  Note that the 1988 Dragon differed as it was a darker pink and instead of yellow spots it had dark pink spots.

The Castle furniture included two twin beds, a queen bed, table, two chairs and two thrones.  The furniture came in either yellow or dark red, but the sets always included all the same color.  In other words it wouldn't have included red beds and a yellow table.  The dining table includes a lithograph of steak, veggies and wine.  Only the best for this family!  The little beds are similar to other FPLP beds but have sweet little crowns imprinted in the headboards.  All of these pieces were exclusive to the Castle sets.

Now to show you the interior of the Castle.  First up the staircase.  It slides away to show a hidden room and more of the tower.  Behind the staircase is a coat of arms.  On the staircase is a lithograph of coat of arms, a low table with cheese, a goblet, a couple happy mice and a sleeping cat on the floor.  

The unfortunate part of the staircase moving is that it slides on top of another lithograph.  This of course is bound to cause problems.  On my castle you can see some wear but there are many castles with the entire lithograph torn up or missing as a result of those stairs!

The opposite side of the downstairs has a roaring fireplace with mantle, beer stein and a dog sleeping on the floor.  To the left of the fireplace is a trap door leading to the dragon lair.  The door slides back and forth with a yellow pull.  

Upstairs is what I think are the bedrooms?  There is an adorable little puppy eating a royal slipper and a table with different bottles on it.

The opposite side includes a little (decorative) door to the dungeon complete with eyes peeking out!

The flag on top is turquoise and was not included in the 1988 version.  On the left is the trap door which leads to the dungeon.  Note the hole in the front tower (left side), I've heard that many little children thought it was the perfect size for a marble.  However, once it went in it couldn't come back out.  So many Castle sets have marbles stuck in the top.  Mine doesn't (yet, ha!). 

One side of the Castle includes a vine with flowers and a window with a royal Lucky the dog looking out (he's wearing a crown and has a mouse on top of it).  The other side of the Castle includes the Dragon chamber and lithographs of a stain glass window with the Knight and Dragon (who appear to be friends).  Also a tree and in the tower window a candle and bags of money.  On the bottom is a wooden sign pointing to the "Village" with a owl on top and a turtle underneath.

Now to the moat in front.  There is a lithograph in the plastic moat of lily pads, fish, frogs, turtles and an alligator.  Unfortunately, the little moat is most likely irresistible to children, they can't help but want to put water in it!  As a result many Castles have ruined or partially ruined moat lithographs.  The drawbridge goes up and down either by using your hands or a little pull on the other side of the castle.  

The Dungeon has a door that moves up and down and is next to the moat, just like a real dungeon should. :)  Note that the trap door on the roof of the Castle shoots the people down into this dungeon.  I can tell you from personal experience that all of the people can fit in there at once with room to spare.  Ha!  This is my 2 year old's favorite activity by far!

It is a truly lovely set.  Stones all around with little details like birds, windows and other animals.  I am glad we have it in our collection!

If your Castle is incomplete check out my Etsy shop, I often have Castle accessories for sale. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

4 Reasons I Love IKEA

I've had a love affair with IKEA since I was in my early 20's.  I remember the first time I went to one (in Seattle) and I commented to my mother "This is like Disneyland for Adults".  I'd never seen anything like it.  Over the years my love has shifted to other furniture stores but I still have a fondness for IKEA and find organizing or kid items from time to time.

We have an IKEA in our area, close enough to tempt me but not close enough to make regular visits.  Oh how I would love to have weekly play-dates/mommy get together there!  Let me tell you a few reasons why:

1. Smaland!  For 60 minutes our bigger/potty trained kids (37" - 54" tall) can play in a wonderful place called Smaland.  Our IKEA has a ball pit, loft with movies playing, play kitchen area, a place to draw and color and a bunch of other fun things to do.  

2. Ice Cream Cones - Our littles were sad about not getting to go to Smaland but were quickly calmed after receiving ice-cream cones.  Only 99 cents!  What a deal.

3. Kids can play on the furniture. - After their 60 minutes in Smaland were up we took the kids up to the Children's Furniture area to play.  They have bedrooms set up that kids can explore (ie - play on and around).  Those crazy hats were on sale that day, only $2.50 each!

Last but not least:

4. The Food!! - IKEA has a lovely little cafeteria with very reasonably priced food.  Many of it exotic Swedish options. :)  We went on a Thursday so I had the special, only $1.99 for roast chicken and mashed potatoes.  $1.99 people!  They have other specials, on Tuesday kid's eat free and on Wednesdays you can feed a family (2 adults and 2 kids) for only $9.99.  Regular kid's meals are only $2.99 and there are many kid-friendly options.

The day I went I got a Swedish "tapas" as a side.  It had shrimp/carrots, cheese and smoked salmon.  YUMMY!  We all split the chocolate cake you see and I also got free coffee since I'm a Ikea Family member.

I wish we lived closer because I'd go every week!  I've been known to spend 6 hours there with a friend and our kids before (breakfast and lunch there, score!).  What do you love about IKEA?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rosemary Oven Baked Fries Recipe

For Christmas dinner this year we had Rosemary fries, steak and roasted vegetables (zucchini/onion/mushroom).  It may not be the most traditional holiday meal but it was perfect for us!

The Rosemary Fries recipe is quite easy and I was able to make the roasted vegetables at the same time so it was convenient!  But you don't need a holiday for these fries, any day would be just perfect. 

Rosemary Oven Fries

2-3 large potatoes 
1 Tbsp Rosemary 
Sea Salt
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (or aluminum).  Cut the potatoes into thin sticks, try to make them the same size.  Place the potato sticks in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil (1-2 Tbsp) on the top.  Mix with your hands to spread the olive oil.  Place the potato sticks on the cookie sheet and add salt and rosemary.  Bake 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.  If the fries aren't crispy enough to your liking after 40 min flip again and bake in 10 min increments until they look perfect (we like ours on the crispy side).

Serve alone or with your favorite dipping sauce.  Wishing I had leftovers right now!!

For more Fry recipes check out:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Happy Little Helicopter

Welcome back to Fisher Price Friday!  Today I'd love to introduce an oldie but a goodie, the Happy Little Helicopter #498 made from only 1953-1955.  This sweet little wooden pull toy makes a buzzing noise when pulled and has propellers on top that spin around.

Both sides of the helicopter have the same lithograph of a fuzzy teddy bear piloting the helicopter.   The yellow wheels are wooden as is the blue bottom of the top propeller.  The only plastic is in the propeller blades. 

The front and top of the helicopter are also covered with lithographs.  The front has a headlamp and windows reaching up to the top.  You can also see a smaller front (wooden) wheel.  My helicopter is pulled by a fabric string, I am not sure if it is original or not.  Most of the other Happy little Helicopters that I see no longer have their pulls strings!  It's possible that it should have a plastic string like other vintage Fisher Price pull toys.  If anyone knows please share and I'll update.  

The top of the helicopter has a big and small yellow propeller as well as a red and blue design.  The big propeller spins when you pull the toy, the little propellers only spin manually.

The bottom of the helicopter shows how it is made of wood.  Note that the underside of the helicopter has blue paint instead of lithographs.

It certainly is a Happy little Helicopter!  My helicopter is in great condition but I have to admit that I've been keeping it away from my kids.  It's 60 years old!  As a result I may have to sell it because I don't keep toys around here that the kids can't use.  

For more pull toys check out:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Downton Abbey is back - Is anyone still watching?

Season 4 of the acclaimed PBS show Downton Abbey returned last night.  But here's the question, is anyone still watching?

As you may know I was a big fan of the show, up until the end of Season 3 when it became "Downer" Abbey to me after so many sad-sad story lines.  There are only so many main characters that you can kill off in a series and still make it watchable in-my-opinion (unless it's a soap opera or Grey's Anatomy). was with much reluctance that I watched the first episode of Season 4 last night.  And.....I liked it.  I went on to watch the 2nd episode (you can find them online since they showed in the UK months ago) and it was even better than the 1st.  If you haven't seen the first episode you can watch it here on PBS. 

Shocking but I think they may be able to pull this off.  

So for now I tentatively remain a Downton Abbey fan.  How about you?  Which new characters do you like or not-like?  

And most importantly, did the show make you want to drink more tea? ;)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Fisher Price Christmas Gifts

We had a Fisher Price Christmas around here because my girls received lots of lovely pre-loved/vintage Fisher Price toys.  I love the idea of re-using and re-loving vintage toys with a new generation of kids.  Fortunately so far they do too!  Pictured above are a few of the favorites.  I'll be showing them in more detail on the blog in the year to come!

Here is a photo of our vintage fisher price ornament tree.  It's so full that I need to get a bigger tree to hold them all next year. :)

Now to show you two of my own special Fisher Price gifts that I received this year.  A lovely secret-Santa sent me the most marvelous hand-made bag.  Isn't it amazing?  Such detail and it has so many of my favorite toys!  It's a big bag too!

The back is just as cute as the front!

My secret-santa also sent me this beautiful custom bracelet from the Etsy shop The Hosford Housewife.  The Hosford Housewife doesn't have one like it in her shop right now (since it was custom) but you could send her pictures of your own favorite Little People (or vintage toys) and have one made.  I love the idea of making one that looked like your own family, or with castle people, or western people.  Oh the possibilities! 

So thank you again to my no-longer secret-santa Nancy, I LOVE my gifts. :)

As you can see it was a happy Fisher Price Christmas around here, I hope yours was too!