Friday, October 31, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  I hope you have more treats than tricks tonight! :)

The finely dressed up Lucky is also known as Puzzle Puppy #659.   He's just the right size for our own little black and white doggie (an Italian Greyhound).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy Peasy Shepherd's Pie

A couple weeks ago we went to a local hot-spot restaurant on date-night that is known for their Shepherd's Pie.  Unfortunately despite the rave reviews I was underwhelmed with my dinner.  So the following week I decided to make my own at home!  I only had ground beef but the result was better!  My family agreed. :)

Easy Peasy Shepherd's Pie 
8 red new potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
salt and pepper
1 lb ground beef
1.5 cups diced onion
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen peas & 1 cup frozen carrots (or 2 cups of mixed veggies)

1. Rinse and cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks and toss with melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cover and microwave for 7 minutes or until tender.
2. Meanwhile, cook the meat and onion in an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain if needed and return to skillet. Stir in the flour until mixed, about 1 minute. Add the broth and Worcestershire and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in peas and carrots (or mixed veggies) and simmer until heated through, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon each.
3. Scatter the cooked potatoes over the meat and broil until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes.  Note: I didn't have an oven safe skillet so I moved my ingredients to a baking pan for broiling.

We may not be a 5-star restaurant but this dish was not too shabby for home cooking. :)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Tick-Tock Clock

Welcome to Fisher Price Friday!  Today I've got a very old toy that is both fun and educational.  It's the Musical Tick-Tock Clock #997.  Made between 1962-1967 this wooden clock plays the "grandfather's clock" melody with a accompanying tick-tock sound.  This clock is over 50 years old but fits just perfectly in our playroom.

I'm not sure what age this toy was originally designed for but my 1st grader can use it to practice telling time and my 3 year old loves the music box and sweet illustrations. 

The clock is made of wood with lithographs on all sides.  There is a plastic cover over the face and plastic hour/minute hands.  The first edition was made between 1962-1963 (as shown).  A slightly different version was made from 1964-1967 with a lighter brown color and darker blue sky (similar to the #998 Music Box Teaching Clock).

The clock has the sweetest little characters on it.  On the front are happy mice and a smily sun and moon.  When the clock is wound (in the back) the red clock hands move around with the music.  The red hands can also be manually moved by the knobs in the front.  Perfect for helping your kids learn to tell time. 

The sky moves showing different illustrations behind a cutout when the music is playing.  The illustrations include a little girl taking a bath, a mother and son grocery shopping, grandma reading a story in a rocking chair to a little boy, two kids on a tricycle, little bow peep walking to school with her sheep and lastly a boy waking up with a rooster.

The top has a yellow plastic handle (red on the later edition).

Each side of the clock has the same turquoise lithograph with flowers, a vine and a yellow bird.  The back of the lithograph has the same wood grain look as the front, bottom and back.

The back of the clock shows illustrations of every hour with accompanying activities.  They have the same six as shown in the front as well as another six as shown above.

For more Fisher Price Clocks Check Out:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Riceworks House Party

On a recent beautiful thursday morning I met my friends at a playground for another House Party!  This time I hosted a riceworks party with lots of (free) goodies to share!

My prize pack included 6 bags of rice chips with interesting flavors like: Sundried Tomato, Salsa Fresca, Sweet Chili, Sea Salt & Black Sesame, Black Japonica Rice and Sea Salt.  They also included cups with straws/lids, coupons, magnetic note pads and best of all....chip clips!  We always need chip clips so they were the big winner. :)

Initially I thought the chips would just be for the adults but the kids loved ALL of the flavors too.  We passed the bags around one at a time and then voted for which flavor we liked the best.

Sweet chili won top award followed closely by Salsa Fresca.

Happy kids, happy moms!

Thanks House Party and riceworks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Hey Diddle Diddle

I have more music for you today on Fisher Price Friday.  It's the Hey Diddle Diddle Double Screen TV Music Box #196.  That is a long name!  Not to be confused with Mary Had a Little Lamb Double Screen TV Music Box #195 (1965-1968) which is the same size but yellow instead of turquoise.  Both are designed for children ages 2-6.  My 3 year old loves it!

Made from 1964-1970 this "tv" music box is a realistic looking television shape with knobs, antenna and screen.  The large knob winds the music box and the two smaller knobs make clicking noises.  The top of the antenna has a yellow wooden bead on it.

It has a turquoise and white plastic body and a white wood base and plays "Hey Diddle Diddle" while drawings of familiar nursery rhymes pass by.

The box has an extra feature of having a "peek-a-boo" screen on the top of the box.  This smaller screen is closer to the size of the familiar "radio" toys and also has drawings going by as the music plays.

Each side of the music box has the same lithograph of the cow jumping over the moon, spoon running with the dish, cat and the fiddle, etc.  Basically everything in the Hey Diddle Diddle nursery rhyme!  

There was an alternative version made only in 1964 which had Mother Goose, Mary and her Lamb, a school, boy, girl and a castle.

Our fabulous little music box was a gift from an amazing and generous former worker at the Fisher Price plant.  He tuned it up for us and everything!  This particular music box was difficult to find, at least in good condition.  They tend to be either missing lithographs and/or the handles.  So I was thrilled to have such a beautiful box in great condition.  

But not as happy as this little girl!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Penny from Big Bang Theory is Copying Me

So this may seem far fetched but I am starting to think that Penny from The Big Bang Theory (played by Kaley Cuoco) is copying me.

First she cut her hair really short like mine.

Then in Episode 2 (of current Season 8) she wore one of my favorite blouses.  One that I've been wearing since last spring.


I think not. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Food Stacker

She calls it a "castle".

Is my kid the only one who does this? Ah, mealtimes with 3 year olds. :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Farm Time Fun Coloring Book

Time to show you another vintage Fisher Price book, this time a coloring book.  Farm Time Fun a Story to Color.  Copyright 1986 this sweet little coloring book is filled with familiar Fisher Price Little People characters including Timmy, Penny, Lucky (dog), Father (molded hair dad) and Mother (ponytail mom).  Other characters are named later in the book including Ted (happy boy with hat), Missy (girl with braids), Aunt Liz (mom with bun) and Uncle Jack (farmer).

The book came with stickers (the kind you lick) to put on specific spaces in the coloring book.

The coloring pages tell a story about the family's visit to see relatives on the farm.

How cute are these drawings?  Got to love grownups dancing at a barn dance with the kids watching above.

The kids have lots of fun adventures on the farm with animals that also look like the familiar FP Farm pieces. :)

I find it amazing that this almost 30 year old book is still in new condition.  I plan on giving it to my oldest for her birthday this month.  She'll do a lovely job coloring it in.  We may have to use glue on the stickers instead of licking them though since she said "yuck" when hearing old stickers worked with spit. ;)

For more Fisher Price Activity Books Check Out:

Shape Books:

Hardcover Story Books:

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Simple Soap Winner!

Congratulations Ariana V.  Your number was randomly selected so you win 3 bars of The Simple Soap!!  Woot Woot!!

To get your own subscription or individual bars of The Simple Soap go here.  Or check out their Facebook Page.

Thanks everyone that entered the giveaway!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Changeable Picture Disc Camera original and reproduction

We all love cameras at our house.  The youngest is no exception. Fortunately Fisher Price made a few cameras between the 1960s-1990s so we're all set. :)  We recently added another camera to our growing collection, the Changeable Picture Disc Camera #112.  We have both the original and the reproduction camera,  but more on that in a bit.

The Changeable Picture Disc Camera #112 was made between 1968-1971.  It is made out of plastic with a yellow vinyl carrying strap.

The camera came with five picture discs.  The discs store in a handy compartment in the back of the camera.  Four fit in the back and the fifth stays in the camera.  The discs have eight pictures on each and are titled: 


The discs fit one at a time in a slot on the top of the camera.  If you don't put it in correctly the photos will feed backwards, which makes some of these stories more interesting. ;)  The disc pops out when you turn the "lens" on the front of the camera.  This is a wonderful feature when a small child is using it, as they're less likely to lose discs while carting it around.

The top of the camera has a flash cube with N, W, S and E on each side in colorful lithographs.  The flash cube moves around each time the shutter is depressed.  Pushing the shutter button is also how the photos advance on the discs.

The back of the camera has a lithograph of a little boy using the camera with his happy dog looking up at it.  The large hole is the viewfinder for the picture discs.  The smaller hole shows through the camera and the view changes (color only) when you turn the color viewer disk (on top).  The color options are blue, yellow, red or clear.

Now to show you the reproduction.  I bought my camera at World Market but I've seen them on Amazon, at Toys R Us and Target for around $20.00.  

The original and reproduction are very similar.  They are the same height and length and very close in width (repro is a bit thinner).  Note that the reproduction is on the right in my photo.

The most obvious difference is the strap.  The original has a vinyl strap while the reproduction has a fabric strap.

Another difference is the picture discs.  The original has 5 discs while the reproduction only has 3.  Interesting fact, although they fit in each other (old discs in new camera) they do not forward correctly, they both show split images in each).  The reproduction discs are titled:


The images on the reproduction discs are the same as the originals.  It is remarkable how the colors are different however.  My originals have a lovely aged pink/red tint.  I can't help but wonder if they too had vivid colors back in the 1960's.

The storage compartment in the reproduction camera can hold all 3 discs, so it is unnecessary to keep one in the viewer.

The back of the camera is also very similar.  The lithographs are the same except the original version has the toy number, the older Fisher Price logo and a few details.  This is a great way to tell if the camera you see is a reproduction or the original.  

One last small difference are the screws.  The original camera uses flat screws and the reproduction uses philips screws.  The reproduction also has the screws farther into the case as shown in the photo above.  So now you have some clues to decipher a classic toy from the reproduction!

My 3 year old can't get enough of this camera.  She carries it all around and loves switching out the picture discs.  What I love about this toy is that my daughter can figure it out and play with it herself.  She is so proud too and is constantly trying to make us look in and see the pictures she sees. :)

Say cheese!!

For more Camera fun check out:

(Heavy) Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Last week I needed to make 6 cookies ("C" week) for my daughter's pre-school class.  I should have made my consistently popular Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin (lactation) Cookies but instead I decided to throw caution to the wind and try a brand new recipe.  I made a soft sugar cookie recipe that left me with dozens and dozens of cookies (sigh).  I sent them to school frosting-free (these were 3 year olds after-all!) but promised my girls that we'd frost the rest that weekend.  Not wanting to make a typical sugar frosting I did some more research to find a new cream cheese frosting recipe (you know, because cheese is healthy, ha!). 

Which led to my next problem.

My husband and I have been counting calories and using the myfitnesspal app for the last couple of months.  At the same time we've been attempting to fatten up our skinny little children.  Let's just say these are difficult goals to achieve at the same time. ;)  This particular recipe is fabulous for the girls but not so much for me.  However, the frosting is SO yummy that it is difficult to resist.

You see it has the normal cream cheese frosting ingredients with a special indulgent twist.  Heavy Cream.  Oh yes, you can't go wrong with heavy cream.  

My girls agree!

Heavy Cream Cheese Frosting 
8oz cream cheese, room temperature 
3/4 cup powdered sugar 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold. 

Beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and quickly and briefly beat to combine. Do not over beat.

You can store the frosting in the refrigerator, it stays creamy and easily spreadable. 

So give it a try.  It would be lovely on a cake, cinnamon rolls or even toast!  Or you know, on a spoon. :)

Enjoy!  (and no, I didn't calorie count either the cookie recipe or the frosting!!)