Friday, August 29, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - UK Farm

I have a very unique set to share with you this week.  It's the UK version of the familiar Play Family Farm #915.  Known as the Fisher Price Farm #910 it was made in the 1980's.  The barn has the familiar base but with a red roof and much different lithographs outside and pictures inside.  It came with familiar farm animals and pieces, but also a few unusual and exclusive farm pieces!

The set came with 19 pieces besides the base.  This particular set is not listed in most of my usual FP references so my information is taken only from This Old Toy, the photos on the toy box and the toys I received.  I've had two #910 Farms (the other is in my Etsy shop) and both were shipped directly from sellers in the UK.  Both owners stated that these were the original accessories.  So with that disclaimer here are some specifics.

First up the little people farm family.  It came with a dad, mom, son and daughter.  The biggest difference and exclusive pieces are the dad and son.  They both wore blue caps, previously used in the USA sets for Pilots (see the little wing on his cap).  The boy has an orange body and a blue cap.  

ETA: His father (finally pictured above because of obsessive searching and help from good FP friends!) has a blue body and blue cap (basically a pilot) but with a yellow farmer scarf.  He is awesome and I was thrilled to finally track one down.  However, I will admit that he was so difficult to find (in my price range) that I haven't let my kids play with him (yet).  He hangs out on my desk instead. 

The mom is red with a yellow ponytail and the little girl is green with brown hair and lots of freckles.  I have also seen the girl with a blue or green body and brown hair without any freckles.

Now to the barnyard.  The #910 Farm included 7 animals, all with smooth bellies (no hexes).  The animals that I received from the UK (and also saw on the box) are: brown horse, white cow, brown dog, black pig (with white ears), white sheep, red rooster and a white chicken!  According to This Old Toy (TOT) the set included: black horse, white cow, black dog, white sheep, white dog, white chicken and red rooster.  I'm not sure if that was a variation from a different year or if they are completely wrong. :)

The farm accessories included 4 fence posts, a water trough, horse harness, conveyor belt and 2 hay bales. The exclusive pieces to this set are the conveyor belt and hay bales.  This particular piece is very unique.  There is a handle on the side and when you turn it the black belt moves around and the hay bails then move.  So cool!  

The conveyor belt can stay flat on the ground or be propped up into the hay loft.  The belt has little raised areas on it to prevent the hay from falling off.  Genius!

The European kids had the coolest piece!  Aren't you jealous? 

The vehicle included in the set is a tractor and hay cart combo.  There were two versions from what I can tell (a different version came in each of my UK farms).  This seems to fall in line with the box photo and the description on TOT.  Note the wheel/axle color combos, they are very specific to this set.

Here are both versions.

Let's move on and take a closer look at the Barn.

The outside has a green plastic base (same as the later US versions), brown doors with European hardware (they still moo like ours!!), white hayloft doors, a red roof with unique etching, a Fisher Price label and the white rooster with 8 little yellow chicks following behind.  Notice that one little chick is a little farther behind, love the details!  A similar mommy/baby chick FP logo was found on later US sets as well, but not with a red background.

Inside the hayloft has the same picture as our #915 version, the only lithograph that is the same.  It shows a wood floor with hay scattered on it.

One side of the barn has lithographs of sun flowers, birds, a green frog, three windows and an angry looking owl in the hayloft window.  Note that the UK barn looks like it is made of stones, rather than wood like our version.

The back of the barn has two doors.  One is closed and the other has a cow busily munching some greens while looking out the top.  Below his door is another plump white chicken.  If you look closely you can see flowers, flower pots, a shovel and the farmer boy peeking out the window.

The opposite side has yet another door (that's 3 total if you're counting), and two more windows.  They must really like/need lots of light in Europe!  There is another angry owl in the barn loft window.  If you look close you can see a bucket under a water spout (with a frog splashing out), horse shoe, hay and a pitch fork, tall grass, a tiny bird and a fluffy cat.

Inside the barn there are 6 kittens, two on this side playing in the hay and four on the other wall!  

On the back wall the cow and farmer boy are looking out which matches the scene in the back of the barn.  There is also some tack on the wall.  The opposite side has the tiny kittens in a box with hay and one trying to escape out the door.

So what do you think?  Which version is better, our #915 Play Family Farm or the #910 Fisher Price Farm?  Did you notice what is missing from the UK version that ours has?

The downside to this farm is that it is so hard to get!  When you find one you have to pay high shipping costs, and if you're missing some of the exclusive pieces it can take awhile to track them down.   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Have you heard of My Fitness Pal?

I have to share one of my latest interests/obsessions.  It's the (FREE) My Fitness Pal application.  This fabulous little program is a pretty simple and helpful tool for weight loss.  I have to admit to being a bit of a novice about dieting, for the most part I feel like I eat well and am pretty healthy.

However, over the summer this ah-hem mid-30's (okay late 30's) momma found a little extra weight creeping on.  After a few weeks of complaining I decided to take my BFFs advice and give this little tool a try.

And what do you know?  It worked!  I discovered that I was eating more calories than I needed.  And although many were "good" calories (mostly fresh fruits) it was still more than I needed.  Especially sugar. Do you have any idea how much sugar is in an orange or banana for example?  

My Fitness Pal is basically a convenient way to track calories.  Less calories in = weight loss.  It's pretty simple.  What is fabulous about it is the huge database of foods already in their system.  So it's pretty easy to find what I ate that meal.  If you use a smart phone/tablet you can also scan bar codes of food products.

Easy peasy!

Exercise it important too and the app tracks how many calories you burn and then adds those to your daily allotment.  For example this morning I did a Zumba class so an extra 463 calories were added.  

I've been using the app for the last 3 weeks and am on track for meeting my fitness goals.  I've discovered that when I eat less sugar I am also a kinder-nicer-mommy. :)  It's a win win!  Once I meet my goal I can switch to maintenance and they'll tell me how many calories/fat/carbs, etc I need to maintain my weight.

I've used it during Girl's Night Out and family dinners out since so many restaurants are already loaded in the app.

So check it out, it's free!  You can use it on your computer, phone and/or tablet.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Dump Truck

Happy Friday!  Today I'd like to share a vintage little person that is hard at work.  It's the Little Trucks Rigs Dump Truck #342.  There are many little construction vehicles and people in the Fisher Price world and this set is a pretty simple one.  Made from 1980-1984 this two piece set includes a construction worker and a dump truck.

The construction worker is very distinguished with a thick mustache and pointy nose.  He has a light blue body, silver construction hat and an orange scarf.  He could also have a green body, sharp nose, silver construction hat and an orange scarf.

The dump truck is a one seater with an orange base and yellow bucket.  The truck has four black knobby wheels that are different from other FP cars and trucks.  

There is a green/yellow version of this dump truck that goes with the Lift and Load sets.

The bucket is spring loaded and in fact I needed the little construction man to hold it down for the photo or it would have snapped shut. :)

Here are more of our construction workers from different sets.  There are still quite a few variations that I don't have (yet) if you can believe it (at least 9!!).

I have some construction workers for sale right now in my Etsy shop.  Lots of other goodies too!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff Recipe

We've had some crazy weather the last couple of days here in Phoenix.  Heavy rains, dark clouds and flash floods!  It is the perfect type of weather to make a crockpot dinner.  We are fans of beef stroganoff but I don't make it very often because it is too time consuming.  However, this recipe was super easy (10 min prep) and not too high in calories so it is perfect.  And....the best news of all it tasted great!  

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff adapted from Taste of Home
1-2 beef top round steaks (original recipe called for 1.5 lbs but I used only 10 oz)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
1-1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (I didn't have any, used regular mustard)
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings 
1 box fresh mushroom, sliced thickly (each mushroom into 2-3 pieces)
10 ounces organic beef broth
1 cup sour cream 
*optional: Hot cooked noodles 

1. Cut round steaks into 3x1/2-in. strips. In a shallow bowl, mix flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Add beef in batches; toss to coat. 
2. In a slow cooker, layer onion, mushrooms and beef. Pour broth over top. Cook, covered on low 6-7 hours or until meat is tender. Just before serving, stir in sour cream. Serve with noodles. 

Yield: 4-5 servings.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Roly Poly Chime Ball

I've got a simple little classic baby toy to share today on Fisher Price Friday.  I have been looking for one of these chime balls in the wild (ie- garage sales, thrift stores, etc) for quite awhile now and finally got my hands on two at the same time!

The Roly Poly Chime Ball #165 was made from 1967-1985.  There were two other chime balls; the #162 Roly Poly Boat Chime and the #1150 Chime Ball, a smaller version of the #165.  The balls all have plastic tops and solid bottoms that are weighted so the toy part stays upright.  It is airtight so can be used in the water or on land.  However, I've seen many photos of very worn chime balls with fogged up/smoky looking insides so I'm not sure that they remain airtight over the years!

I love this toy because it has such a soft chime sound.  My girls like to watch it roll all around bowling ball style (yikes!).  It reminds me of the Happy Apple #435 that we also have but the chime ball is little quieter.

The inside of the ball has four rocking toys; two swans and two horses.  The center of the ball has lithographs of shrubs, trees, birds and butterflies.  Underneath the rocking animals the green and brown colored base has many little flowers.  I love the details!

My girls are almost too big for this little toy but it says birth to 4 years old so I guess we'll keep it around for a little longer. :)

 For other vintage Fisher Price Baby Toys Check Out:

Baby's First Blocks #414

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Turmeric Antioxidant Smoothie

Now that we're back to school its a great time to get back to smoothies!  Smoothies are such an easy way to pack in nutrients during busy mornings.  I saw this recipe pop up on my Facebook feed last week and decided to give it a whirl.  I bought a bottle of turmeric (ground) a few months back after reading about all its health benefits.  However, it pretty much has sat untouched in my spice cabinet since I don't cook Indian recipes very often.  This recipe is a simple and yummy way to get the benefits from turmeric without a lot of effort!

In case you haven't heard turmeric is part of the ginger family (rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant) and it is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant that helps brain function, can help prevent and treat Alzheimer's, lowers heart disease and helps treat depression.  Sounds good to me!  Now of course one Turmeric smoothie a day isn't going to do all that but it's a start. 

Turmeric Antioxidant Smoothie
1 cup coconut milk (I used Silk Almond Coconut Unsweetened milk)
1/2 cup frozen pineapple or mango chunks (I used both)
1 fresh banana 
1 tablespoon coconut oil 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (can be increased to 1 tsp) 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ginger 
1 teaspoon chia seeds 
1 teaspoon maca (optional) 

Add all ingredients into a Vitamix (or blender) and blend until smooth.  This is a great way to start your day full of antioxidants!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Activity Lunch Box

It's been a busy summer and believe it or not we're gearing up for school.  My oldest starts next week!  I figured this was a good time to share our Activity Lunch Box #1054.  My youngest would love to bring this box to school, but fortunately I have a couple more years with her before she goes to kindergarten.

The Activity Lunch Box #1054 was made from 1993-1994 and came with 9 pieces.  It includes a thermos with lid, hinged shape sorter, sandwich shapes (2 bread, 1 cheese and 1 tomato), orange triangle cake slide and a red circle cupcake.  The box has a white front, blue back and yellow handle.  There is an alternate variation where the front is yellow, back blue and handle is white.  The lithograph on the front shows a dog and cat enjoying lunch.


The box was designed for children ages 9 - 36mo and I can confirm that it is popular with my just turned 3 year old.
The box has a hinged sorter inside that little ones can put the different shapes into.  My sorter is yellow and the variation would be a white.

The thermos is a white milk bottle with a squeaker in the top.  The front has a teddy bear and the back says Fisher Price.  The blue lid doubles as a cup and has a rattle inside the top.  Note that there is a variation where the lid is green instead of blue and the squeaker is blue instead of green.

The sandwich pieces are two white pieces of bread, a red tomato and a yellow cheese.  The pieces stack on top of each other, or on the spaces in the lid of the box.  The alternative variation includes bread pieces that are yellow with a white piece of cheese.

The cake shapes in my version are orange slice (triangle) and red cupcake (circle).  The alternate version is opposite with a red slice and a orange cupcake.

We're ready for school!  

I've got a Activity Lunch Box in my Etsy shop right now if you want one too. :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Field Guide

My family has been visiting Zion National Park the past week so it seemed a perfect opportunity to share this little vintage book with you.  It's the Fisher Price Field Guide, from the #920 Hiking Set.  The hiking set was produced from 1980-1984 and had quite a few cute little pieces besides the guide.  It came with a canteen, whistle, compass, telescope, flashlight and a belt with clips to hang everything on.

Sadly I don't have those pieces, but I do have the lovely little Field Guide.  The field guide has 20 pages and an iron on transfer.  The topics in the book include: plants, rocks, insects, birds, a compass (instructions), fish, pond life, sea life, animals, and telescope (instructions).

The iron-on is on the left.  Do you think it would still work 34 years later?

My girls favorite page was animals, which was very fitting during our "hike" into Zion.  They identified deer and (many) squirrels from the book.   My youngest really wanted to find a rabbit, but sadly not on this hike.

My oldest daughter spent quite a bit of time on these pages, she was certain she saw all of them during our hike (even a palm tree, ha!).

Love this tiny little guide.  Happy hiking everyone!