Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy National Coffee Day!

So everyday is Coffee Day for me but evidently today is an "official" (if by official you mean commercially driven to make a profit) holiday to celebrate coffee!

You can get a free cup of hot coffee at McDonald's, Krispie Kreme and Dunkin Donuts.  I don't believe that Starbucks is participating because well...they don't need to.  We're happy to pay for it.  Ha!

So Happy National Coffee Day whether you are drinking pressed, K-Cup, cold brewed, drip, Starbucks or gas station coffee.  Enjoy and I'll be celebrating again tomorrow and the day after that if you want to join me. ;)



Friday, September 26, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Cash Register


A new (old) toy entered our house this week.  It's the Fisher Price Cash Register #972.  Made from 1960-1972 this was the very first Fisher Price cash register produced.  We've had later models around the house including the Cash Register #926 (1974-1990) and the Cash Register #2044 (1991-1994 and currently being reproduced).  But this is the only one I'll be keeping!  It's a beauty.



The original cash register #972 was made of wood and has lots of bright and happy lithographs and paint on all sides.  The register has 4 plastic keys (0, 1, 2, 3) and a plastic crank on the side.  The plastic crank rings the bell, opens the drawer and also drops the sales indicators down (more on that in a minute).



The back of the resister has lithographs of Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill and the Three Little Pigs.  Those same stories show in the front as well.  I love how bright this register is! We are very fortunate that our register is in practically new condition.  You can't even tell that it is 42+ years old.

 

Each side of the register has more bright lithographs and paint.  The right side has the bell and says Red, Yellow, Green and Blue on the bottom.  The Left side has 1+2 = 3 and the letters A, B, C and D.


The wooden resting indicators show the same Big Bad Wolf, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill and the Three Little Pigs from the back.  I love the sweet delicate cursive writing used to label them.  

There is a plastic piece covering the indicators which in many old registers has yellowed or clouded up.  Mine looks new!


When you press the plastic keys the indicators change (one at a time) to NO Sale, 1 (with a cracked Humpty), 2 (with a fallen Jack and Jill) and 3 (with happy pigs).  They stay up until you turn the crank and the drawer opens.  

On our register you have to keep cranking until they all go down.  Some stay up even after the drawer is open, but will eventually go down if you keep turning the crank.


The top of the cash register drawer has the 1, 2 and 3 coins painted on.  They look almost exactly like the real coins, but the 2 is a little off.


The cash register came with only 3 wooden coins: a 1, 2 and 3.  They are each different sizes both in thickness and width.  They fit nicely in their respective slots and stay in the drawer until you open it.  The numbers are only written on one side, the other side is a solid color.


This cash register is a little more tricky to use than the later models.  My 3 year old has been able to figure it out (and LOVES it) but I wouldn't recommend it for the below 3 crowd.  We'll be moving our other cash registers on and keeping this one, it's a beauty!

For more Cash Registers Check Out:


I often have extra cash register coins (no wood ones though) so contact me if you're looking for one!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

It is fall, time to bring out the pumpkin lattes, breads and muffins!  I have to admit that I'm not exactly in the fall spirit since it's still in the high 90's around here, but I'm making an effort.  This time of year here in Phoenix you see people wearing long pants and sweaters, despite the hot hot temperatures.  It's as if we are ignoring the reality and pretending it's fall like the rest of the country.  Of course the a/c in most places is high enough that we can survive in our fall digs.



But I digress, back to muffins.  I adapted a recipe from skinnytaste to use up some pumpkin puree I made last spring.  We are currently trying to get through everything in our freezer before buying more frozen foods.  I'm at the point where I'm getting mighty creative using what is left.  So when I saw this recipe for pumpkin puree I knew we were golden.  Especially since my girls are digging muffins in the mornings and I figured this was a great recipe to make ahead, freeze and then pull out to eat. 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients
1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar 
3/4 tsp baking soda 
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (I used my own pumpkin puree
2 tbsp coconut oil 
2 large egg whites 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips 

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a mini or regular muffin tin with paper liners and lightly spray liners with oil for easy removal. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside. 
3. In a large bowl mix pumpkin puree, oil, egg whites and vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture, then blend at low speed until combined; do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips. 
4.  Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake on the center rack for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool at least 15 minutes before serving. 

Makes 28 mini muffins or 15 regular sized muffins.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Simple Soap - Subscription Review and Giveaway!!


I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of monthly subscriptions.  There is something about getting a package of goodies sent right to my door that makes me happy. :)  The Simple Soap is one of my subscriptions and it is my new favorite!  Not only is the product organic and handmade it is also a family run business!

The Simple Soap sends out 2 or 3 bars of organic, handmade, yummy smelling soap every month.  They have flavors like Citrus Spice, Comfry Lavender, Creamsicle and Fresh Aloe.  The scents linger but are not overpowering.  Personally I am sensitive to artificial fragrances and I love that I can use these great smelling soaps without any problem!


One 3.75 oz bar lasts me a month in the shower.  The soap makes great lather and works well for shaving too!


Right now I am on the 3 bar a month plan even though I only use 1 bar.  The soaps are wrapped so cutely that I plan on giving them away as Christmas gifts!

A 3 bar a month subscription costs $19.99 a month.  A 2 bar a month subscription is $14.99.  Both subscriptions have free shipping.  You can also buy single bars.

If you are ready to try these yummy soaps for yourself go to The Simple Soap and sign up!  The scents for October are Organic Spice (my favorite so far!!),  Organic Aussie and Organic Creamsicle.  They ship in early October so order before the end of this month.

The Simple Soap sent me 3 full sized bars to give away to one of you!  It's easy to sign up to win.  
1. First go to The Simple Soap on Facebook and like them.  And please like Anne's Odds and Ends on Facebook if you haven't already.  
2. Then leave a comment here telling me which The Simple Soap flavor you are most excited to try!  I will randomly pick a winner on 10/06/2014.

Note: I didn't receive any compensation for this giveaway or this review.  I just love their soap! :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fisher Price Key Chain



I love how Fisher-Price re purposed little people to make key chains. :) Made around 1979-1980 they were produced from regular Fisher Price Little People as well as roosters and chickens.  Fisher Price passed them out at their Toy Fair, business meetings and promotional events.  

Anyone can make a key chain out of a little person piece if they have a drill, so the easiest way to recognize an original is by the attached Fisher-Price Toys tag.  The back of the tag has a handy space to write your address.  


My farmer is special since he has a half smile. ;)

My little cowboy key chain was a gift from a friend.  It is my favorite key chain and a very fun conversation starter!  The kids love it too and in a pinch it is something for them to play with.

Had to stop back and show my latest addition, the chicken keychain.  Isn't she adorable!

Do you have a vintage keychain?  If so which character do you have?

I don't have any key chains for sale but I've seen them on Etsy and Ebay.  Good luck!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Real Downton Abbey

As I've written in the past I am a fan of the series Downton Abbey.  I consider myself a true fan because I stuck with the show even after they insisted on killing off two major characters. ;)


If you are a fan too then about now you are anxious for the next season to start.  They are about to premier Season 5 in the UK, which means we'll have to wait until January 2015 for it to make it across the pond to us.  Unless of course you find the UK shows online, which is what I do! (premiers Sept 21st btw).


I have a quick PBS movie to help you bide the time until the next season begins.  It's a behind the scenes documentary about Downton Abbey, which in real life is known as Highclere Castle.  It's a real Castle with a real earl and countess living inside.  

They show the castle, discuss it's history and also talk quite a bit about the Downton Abbey series and other commercial endeavors that help pay for the rather large Castle costs.  Let's just say all the staff and building upkeep do not come cheap!

It's a lovely little movie and can be found on Netflix or youtube.

Anyone else craving a spot of tea after all this Downton talk?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - The Mulberry Bush pocket radio

I've got another little music box to share with you today.  My youngest loves her music boxes and especially the little ones that fit nicely in her 3 year old hands.  And of course being able to carry them around with a strap is a bonus!  I will warn you that they're pretty solid though and can be dangerous if whipped around quickly.  So lets just stay that I keep a close eye on her when she has one.



Today it's The Mulberry Bush pocket radio #758.  Made from 1970-1972 this is just one of the many Fisher Price music box radios.  This small light orange radio has a wooden back and a plastic front.  It is carried by a red and white vinyl handle.

The musical movement was made in Switzerland and according to the labels it was patented both in Canada and the US (numbers included).


 

The sides and back have lithographs covering the wooden back.  The left side has a bluebird and a white spotted puppy.  The right side has a yellow butterfly and the back of a white fluffy rabbit.



The top has the Fisher Price logo, toy number and "Music Box Pocket Radio".



The back has the words to the familiar childrens tune and a colorful drawing of happy children dancing around...you guessed it a mulberry bush!

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush,
Here we go round the mulberry bush,
So early in the morning.



As the song plays the photos on the front change from the title to a girl and boy doing chores around the house.  Then a large cake, girl brushing her hair and a boy going through a door.  A wee bit random if you ask me, but adorable nonetheless.



For more music box Fisher Price Toys check out:





Now, just a quick peek for an upcoming Fisher Price Friday entry.  I know we're a few months off of December but it's never to early to collect Fisher Price ornaments!  Here are the newest (2014) Department 56 Ornaments (the vintage toys only).  I'll show them up close and tell you where I bought them soon.

If you can't wait check out last year's 2013 Dept 56 Ornaments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dollar Shave Club - A Woman's Review

Have you heard of the Dollar Shave Club?  It's a monthly subscription shaver service for men...well mostly.  They are currently trying to attract women to subscribe and use their razors too.

Now I am a HUGE fan of subscriptions.  I pretty much love anything that comes on a monthly basis to my door.  I already have The Honest Company (home and bath products), The Simple Soap (organic bar soaps!!) and Citrus Lane (pre-school toys/activities) coming to my house every month.  So when I heard about the Dollar Shave Club I decided to give them a try.



Basically the Dollar Shave Club is a mail order shaver.  They send you an initial box with a handle and 4 refills.  Then each month (or in my case every other month) they send 4 more blades.  For the low low low price of only $6 (that includes shipping!).



My first box was compact, cute and creative.  Besides the razor and blades they also included a sample of shave butter (you can add a full size to your order for an extra charge) and a fun "bathroom minutes" which is a grown-up activity book of things to do/read while you are... you-know occupied in the ah-hem bathroom. ;)  It appears that they send a new one out each month to keep you entertained.  Ha!


What makes this razor better than the "lady" pastel-plastic wonder I used before is that it is higher quality for WAY less money.  I did the math and before I was paying about $3 per blade for my Schick hydro silk razors.  And the upfront cost was about $10 for the handle with 2 blades.  So basically I way paying 2x more!



Another benefit of the Dollar Shave Club over my old "lady" razor are the Dollar Shave Club handles and blades.  It appears that men have had it better on this point, their handles have a little weight to them which is more comfortable when shaving.  Also the 4X I selected has lovely grippy sides.  I do not think that this handle is "too manly".  Hey, white is for everyone!  I'd actually prefer they not add a "lady" choice, I'm SO over pastel plastic razors.  

The Dollar Shave Club has 3 options; the Humble Twin for only a $1 a month (shipped!!) which includes 5 refills, the 4X which is $6 a month for 4 refills and the Executive at $9 a month for 4 refills.  Note that you can adjust shipping to every 2 months if you use less refills. 



The difference in the shavers are the number of blades and slight differences in the handle.  The humble has 2, the 4x has 4 and the Executive has 6.  I am currently happy with my 4X.  I had a smooth shave and loved how easy the blade moved around my bumpy knees and ankles.

My husband eyed my new razor with a hint of jealousy so I may be able to sign him up soon too (one time $4 charge for another handle).  We could each have our own handle and share the blade refills.  Ah, how simple would that be?  I heard that a easy way to tell his from hers in the shower is to put a little nail polish on one of them (I'll let you decide which). :)

So go check them out!  If you decided to try them please pretty please use THIS LINK.  That way I get credit towards my account for more free refills.

Stay tuned for more subscription club reviews.  I have the best locally made (in Oregon) organic soaps to tell you about.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Baby Ann


Today I'd like to share one of my daughter's favorite little dolls.  It's no wonder since Baby Ann #204 looks so much like her!  In fact she refers to the baby doll by her own name. :)  Can you blame her, she's a mini-me.


Of course this is precisely the reason we bought Baby Ann for her.  I was looking to get my youngest a baby doll for Christmas when she was 2 years old and decided to look at a vintage toy of course. ;)  Baby Ann is a hug able mostly soft doll and she also sits pretty well.  

She is one of 6 soft dolls (plus one boy) that were produced by Fisher Price between 1974-1978.  Baby Ann was only made between 1974-1976.  These dolls were designed for children 18mo - 5 years old.  Their soft arms, legs and feet make them safe for little ones.  However, their hair and removable clothing make them interesting for the 4-5 year olds.

 

Baby Ann came with a white flowered dress that has a decorative red ribbon on the front.  The dress fastens with velcro and has elastic around the wrists.  She also came with a white diaper.  Our doll has a diaper but I do not believe that it is the original diaper.  I've read that Ann's diaper should have been white with an elastic waist and legs.  It is removable as well.


Ann's body is peach and she has sewn on red fabric shoes with lace around the ankles.

We selected Baby Ann for our baby-girl because of her short hair.  I love this hair.  At first glance it looks as if a small child gave the doll a brisk haircut however this is how she was designed!  I love it, a child with a messy haircut just like mine. :)  I am sure initially her hair laid a bit flatter, but although messy it is still in remarkably good condition.

 
Isn't she the sweetest little baby-doll?  Oh yes, and the toy is cute too. :)

Note: There is one more Baby Ann variation by Fisher Price; in 1975 and 1976 a Musical Baby Ann was produced.  She looked just like the regular Baby Ann but had a music box inserted in her back.  This doll is very rare as it is reported that only 300 were made.  She had the same number (#204) as the regular Baby Ann doll.


Can I just add that this little girl from the 70's also named Ann(e) by the way should have had this doll too!  It looked just like me!  Instead I had Joey (a boy!!), a different Fisher Price soft doll.  No hard feelings mom and dad.  Ha!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disneyland with Small Children - Tips and Tricks from a 1st Timer

At the very beginning of summer (4 days after school got out!!) we drove to California and visited Disneyland for the first time.  My girls were almost 3 and 6 and were very excited to be at the happiest place on earth.  Very excited.

I am not a Disneyland expert but here were a few tips and tricks that I'd love to pass along from a 1st timer's point-of-view.



1. Stay at a Disneyland hotel if at all possible.  
We stayed at the Disney Grand Californian and it was wonderful.  A quick walk to Disneyland (it's on Downtown Disney) and connecting to Disney CA Adventure Park it's a perfect location.  The actual hotel is lovely and the rooms nicely appointed (small but with bunk beds!) but the draw is the location.  You can easily walk to and from the park.  Key when you have small children that very quickly need a nap! 

You also get to go into the park one hour early (they trade off between CA Adventure and Disneyland though, so check ahead).  This is a nice perk if you're ready to start your day a little ahead of the regular throngs of people.

2. Pack ahead, bring your own treats and snacks.
This tip was passed on to me from my experienced friends.  I bought small snacks in all shapes and sizes ahead.  Snacks like Annie's bunnies, gummies, granola bars, fruit tape, juice boxes, etc.  These were easy to pack and keep.  I also recommend bringing cut fruit, cheese, pb&j sandwiches and meat chunks.  You know, real food!  This will cut down on the amount of stops that you need to make at "real = expensive" on site restaurants.

Same goes with treats.  At the park the options of mickey paraphernalia are endless.  Your children will be tempted by balloons, lolly's, clothing, dolls, wands, dress up outfits, jewelry, big spinning mickey faces...you get the idea.  Shop ahead at your local Disney store, Walmart, Target (dollar area!!) or Dollar Store.  Bring your own Disney treats and clothes!

3. Glow sticks for the parade.
If you and your children are able to stay up until the closing parade and firework show I highly recommend going.  It was my favorite part of Disneyland!  Seeing Tinkerbell fly above the castle (how do they do that?) and all beautiful fireworks reflected in my children's little happy faces was a moment I'll never forget.  I was also happy to have brought our own glow sticks/flashing glow spinning wand thing so that I didn't feel pressured to pay $12-15 for the Disney ones!  I bought mine ahead at the Dollar spot at Target for between $1-$3 a pieces.  Score!

4. Naps!!
This one is mandatory for the younger crowd.  Plan a nap in your day.  Trust me.  I understand the push to go-go-go when you've spent a million dollars on tickets and there are SO many things to see.  But worn out, tired, crying children is NO fun.  Take a nap and come back refreshed.

5. Ask for photos.  
We received a free signed photo of Anna and Elsa when we checked in at the hotel.  We later received free signed photos of Mickey and Minnie from the Disney store when purchasing their Minnie ears (one item not to buy ahead).  Disney has tons of autographed photos, just ask!


6. Starbucks. 
Try to wait if you can to purchase your morning coffee inside Disneyland as they have a huge Starbucks right on main street.  The Starbucks cups have cute little mickey ears on them, while the Starbucks outside the park does not.


7. Adjust your expectations.
If you are a first timer to Disney, or perhaps you have been but never with children then you may need to set realistic expectations.  With small children you won't be able to see as much as you would think.  Between bathroom breaks, diaper changes, snacks, mini-meltdowns and a million questions it can be slow going.  
You could make a plan of all the rides you'd like to take, but I'd suggest keeping it to a very very loose plan.  Your kids may not even care about most of the rides.

I found that my kid's favorite experiences were meeting characters.  They were over-the-moon to meet Minnie, Tinkerbell, Aurora, Mickey, etc.  We prioritized time to wait at the Princess Castle to meet them as a result.  We took a million photos (don't worry, Disney has "professional" photographers at each photo op if you don't have a camera) and the girls love seeing them now that a few months have passed since our trip.


My day consisted of the Flying Dumbo ride, meeting characters, It's a Small World and a few other small rides and that was just fine.  My girls had a great time and those smiles say it all!

Good luck and have a great trip!!

For information on Disney's Hawaii Aulani Resort Check out: