Friday, February 28, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - The Little People have left the Discovery Farm

Farm Now 
Farm Before

I have some sad news to report.  The Little People Discovery Farm at the Phoenix Zoo has left.  Fisher Price appears to have taken all their little people and gone home. :(  I asked the Zoo what happened and they said Fisher Price unexpectedly removed their Farm and left them with the non-licensed pieces.  

They also said that Fisher Price removed their Discovery Farms from other zoos across the country.

There used to be little child-sized Fisher Price umbrella tables here.

The tables before.

This puts the Phoenix Zoo in a tough spot as they are left with a half empty playground and no money set aside to improve it.  Since they are a non-profit organization every penny is pinched.  It may be some time before they can get the playground back to what it was before.

Current Empty Stalls

Before the stalls had a cow, horse and a sheep to ride. 

Farm now, still has the tractor and an ear of corn.

Farm Before

Farm Now

Farm Before

I contacted customer service at Fisher Price to find out why they removed the Discovery Farm and they told me they would look into it.  I haven't heard back from them but will let you know if I hear any updates.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Toy Camel by Robert Bradford (sculpture)

My parents are in town visiting for a few days so we made a trip to the AZ Science Center.  We found this super fun sculpture in the lobby.  It's a camel completely covered in toys.  They are fastened on tight which is good because kids and adults alike were trying to pry them off!

Now if you're a regular reader of my blog I'm sure you can guess what kind of toys we were looking for.  Yes, that's right, Vintage Fisher Price toys!  Can you see the FPLP in this photo?

Here is a closer view.  See it now?

We found only two (vintage) Little People on the sculpture, one on the back and one in the front.  My two year old discovered this one all by herself.  I'm so proud. :)

Are any of your favorite toys on there?

For more Science Center Fun check out: 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Little People Express Train

All aboard for this week's Fisher Price Friday toy!  It's the Little People Express Train #2581 made from 1987-1990.  It is a non-animal version that replaced the Play Family Circus Train #991.  This set had a few changes during the years it was made, mostly removing pieces!

The set included four little people: a train engineer, mom, dad and lucky the dog.  The train engineer can be short or tall but has a less poufy hat than earlier versions.  The dad has the oh-so-trendy molded hair.  Lucky the dog when included (omitted in 1990) had a red collar.  Two pieces of luggage came along for the trip as well, a blue hatbox and a yellow suitcase.  Both were found in other play sets including the Fun Jet #183, Airport #996 (yellow suitcase) and Jetliner #182, Jetport #933 and Airport #2502 (blue hatbox).  I've read that the suitcase could also be dark blue.

Two cars came with the express train set.  A yellow one seater with luggage rack in the back (as shown) and a red two seater (back to back) with raised fins (not shown).  Both cars were omitted in the 1990 version.  I've seen photographs where the second two seater car was green instead of red so there may have been some variations to what was included.

The train is made up of three pieces.  The first is the engine which looks just like the Circus Train engine but with different colors and lithographs.  The engine has the same yellow toot toot horn on top.  It also makes a clicky-clack sound when you pull the yellow cord. 

The middle of the train is a green flat freight car. 

The train is rounded up by the familiar caboose car.  It has blue doors on each end and can hold two passengers with plenty of space for their luggage.

It's a sweet little train, hope you enjoyed the ride!

If you love trains check out the Play Family Circus Train #991

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Make Fancy Ramen

True confession time, I haven't been cooking new recipes much lately.  I think I'm in a bit of a rut.  I start my days strong with healthy vegetable fruit smoothies but by the evening I'm phoning-it-in with tried and true/easy recipes.

There have even been afternoons where I've "gasp" pulled out Ramen.  Now in my defense we are still eating special authentic Ramen, the kind you purchase in Japan rather than the kind college kids eat at midnight while cramming for exams.  But it's still fried noodles. ;)

I decided to fancy up my Ramen and make attempts to have it at least look a bit more healthy, you know with veggies and protein.  It's pretty simple, here's what I did.

Step 1: Boil water in 2 different saucepans; one for the noodles and one for your egg/shrimp.

Step 2: In pot #1 as soon as the water is hot and almost boiling put the shrimp in.  Cook until pink then remove and put into the bowl your soup is going in.

Step 3: In pot #1 now add a raw egg, oh so gently and make sure the water isn't boiling too hard.  Use a spoon to keep the egg together.  You'll cook it for about 5 minutes, depending on how soft you like it.

Step 4: Meanwhile start cooking your noodles in pot #2.  

While everything is cooking add some green onion pieces to the bowl (where the shrimp is hanging out).

Step 5: Add the completed noodles/broth to the bowl and carefully place the egg on top.  Ta-da, you have Fancy Ramen.

Feel proud, perhaps take a photo and put it on Instagram.  I won't judge you! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Italian Tomato Chicken Noodle Soup

I have a fabulous new slow-cooker recipe to share with you.  In most of the country I realize that it is still cold cold cold and a warm crock-pot soup would probably hit the spot right about now!  I will try to avoid rubbing it in that we are having a little warm spell here with temps in the 80s.  Yes that's right 80s.  I had to break out the sunscreen and flip-flops for this morning's park play-date.

But enough about me, back to the soup.  I found the recipe on Mix and Match Mama's Food Blog (she's the big sister of previous-Bachelor now married man Sean Lowe!!).  She's hilarious and I love both of her blogs.  I adapted the recipe a bit to make this more of a soup and less of a casserole but you can find her original recipe here at mixandmatchmama if you want to compare.

Italian Tomato Chicken Noodle Soup
1 pound of chicken breasts, I used 2 breasts (can be frozen)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
32 oz (1 box) chicken broth 
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning 
3 cups short-cut pasta (I used orecchio)
Shredded Parmesan Cheese to garnish 
Salt to taste

1. Put chicken, diced tomatoes, 1 cup of chicken broth and Italian Seasoning in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or 7-8 on low).
2. About 30 minutes before serving remove the lid and shred the chicken in the cooker using two forks.  Stir in the uncooked pasta and the rest of the chicken broth.  Put the cover back on and turn the heat up to high.  Cook for about 30 more minutes or until the pasta is ready.
3. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan and salt to taste.

This recipe is so easy and kid friendly!  I found it even better the next couple of days as leftovers.  I even had some today for lunch!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

House Party - Goodbye Diapers Hello Pull-ups

Yes it's true, I'm in the season of my life where I throw potty training parties.  My 20-something self would never have believed it. ;)  

I was selected to throw another House Party party, this one sponsored by Pull-Ups.  Since I have a potty-training 2 year old in my house and spend quite a bit of time with other 2 year olds and their moms it seemed like a perfect fit.

Having a dozen small children in my house seemed like a risky choice so I threw my party at a local park with a big playground instead.  Since we're in the thick of cold & flu season this was a good decision.  

House Party sent a fun (FREE) box of goodies including: girls pull-ups, boys pull-ups and prize packs with stickers and charts to encourage potty-tranining. They also threw in a super cute folding basket.

The kids were mostly 2 year olds and they loved the little party-blowers.  We were celebrating potty training! :)

My cute little 2 1/2 year old has just started potty-training.  She's still in cloth diapers but is experimenting with using a potty.  Having a party with a bunch of her little friends for potty training is so timely for us.  Hopefully this excitement will translate into more stay-dry success!  

Thanks to House Party and Pull Ups for helping us have a super fun morning! (there are 7 adults, 8 kids and 4 babies in this photo!)

Other House Parties I've Hosted Recently

*Note: I do not get paid to talk about House Party, I just like them!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Pocket Camera

Cameras are pretty popular around my house and we are overflowing with photos.  My kids are experts at saying "cheese".  So a vintage Fisher Price camera was a perfect gift for my daughter's 2nd Birthday last summer.  This particular camera made between 1974-1991 is the Fisher Price Pocket Camera #464 with photos of a trip to the zoo.

The zoo is another favorite of my girls, our local Phoenix Zoo even has a Fisher Price Little People themed play area!  So you can imagine their excitement about this toy.

The camera is white and red with a yellow flash box on top.  The flash box turns around when you press the button to take a pretend photo.  Pushing the button also advances the zoo photos in the camera and makes a clicking type sound too!  The flash cube should have lithographs on it, little stickers of yellow and blue flashbursts except the 1991 version had chicken (??what??) and star stickers.

The camera has a sturdy red and blue rope strap on the side.  Makes it easy to carry the camera around.  It also makes it easy to whip the camera around and crash into objects or people so watch out!

There is a second (clear) viewer on the camera that looks straight through so the child can take imaginary photos of their own.  You can see it on the right in the photo above.

It's tricky to photograph the inside of a little toy like this but I made an effort!  There are 27 different images in the camera.  It starts with a photo of 3 kids riding a camel and the words "A Trip to the Zoo".  Fisher Price Toys, East Aurora IL is on the bottom of the image with the year 1973.

The other images are: Tiger, Zebras, Giraffes, Lions, Polar Bear, Elephant, Llama, Mountain Goat, Orang-utan, Hippopotamus, Deer, Foxes, Bears, Monkey, Pony, Rhinoceros and last but not least a image of kids and adults eating ice-cream cones and holding balloons.

Most of the images are just the animals but a few have children looking at or interacting with them.  I love love the sweet little 1970's children, they remind me of photos of my family. :)

It took her a little while to figure out how to use it. :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Franny's Feet - My 2 year old's favorite show

"Where will my feet take me today"

If that sounds familiar to you then you must have discovered the cute children's show Franny's Feet already.  We stumbled upon this little treasure of a show last month while my 2 year old was home with the flu.  

It is a animated show about a 5 year old girl named Franny who helps her Grandfather at his shoe repair store.  She goes on adventures after putting on customer's shoes and ends up anywhere from the North Pole to the beach.  She is helpful, friendly and has a loving relationship with her Grandfather.  

After a little research I discovered that this was a Canadian/American show made between 2004-2010.  There were 4 seasons with a total of 52 episodes (although each "episode" is 2 different stories so it's really 104).  Right now Netflix has 18 of the episodes that appear to be a jumble from different seasons. 

This has quickly become my 2 year olds favorite show passing up Sesame Street and Strawberry Shortcake. :)  She asks for it regularly and I find her standing in front of our shoes daily saying "where my feet take me today" before slipping into them.  It's the cutest!

If you have a 2-5 year old I suggest checking out this show.  Then wait and see if they try on your shoes too! 

Franny's Feet Website - Interactive website with educational games and show clips.
Franny's Feet on PBS Kids - Similar contents as the above website but also has coloring pages and full episodes.