Friday, November 28, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Vegas baby!


Happy Fisher Price (black) Friday!  The little people have been spending the week with us in Vegas.  Seeing the sights and enjoying the lights.

Quite a view!

See you next week where I'll post about the rest of the 2014 Dept 56 Fisher Price ornaments!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  I had to pull a few of these photos from a couple years ago to share again because they're too cute!

Check out my little pilgrim ladies.

Hope your Thanksgiving is warm, happy and full of turkey!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Cleaning Little People

Today on Fisher Price Friday I'd like to take a little time to talk about how to clean these vintage toys.  Sometime you'll find Little People figures that are coated in dust, dirt and grime.  Perhaps they've been left outside, up in a dusty attic or in the back of a garage.  A few years of that and you end up with faded and dirty people.  I can't do much about the fading but I have found a few tricks to help with the grime.

Simple soap and water can handle basic dust.  Using a q-tip or soft toothbrush can get in the hard to reach places.  More serious dirt or marks (pen for example) can often be removed with Magic Eraser pads.  

If you have a whole bunch of people to wash at once I have one more trick.  The dishwasher.  Yes, it's true you can wash Little People (and other pieces as long as they don't have lithographs) in the top rack of the dishwasher.

I use an old baby dishwasher basket which works perfectly for this purpose.  Fill it up and you're all set.  Of course you only want to do this with all plastic people, keep your wooden ones out!

I used a regular wash and dry cycle and they came out clean.  I used a Magic Eraser on any stubborn sections.  Now they're ready for many more years of play!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Starbucks Christmas Advent Calendar

I came across the most marvelous Christmas goodies at Starbucks last week.  Yes...I know we haven't had Thanksgiving yet but Dec 1st will be here in just a flash!

Starbucks has this lovely advent "calender" which consists of magnetic boxes that stay on a chalkboard.  They have little dark and milk chocolate covered graham crackers inside each one.  

What I especially love is that they are reusable!  Next year I could add my own goodies and/or slips of paper with activity ideas (ie: Look at Christmas Lights as a family, Watch a Christmas movie, Bake Cookies for neighbors, etc).  I might even get my act together and add them for this year too!

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The kit was $29.99 and included a $5 Starbucks gift card.  Go get one before they run out!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Indy Racer

I have a small but fun set to share with you today.  It's the Little People Indy Racer #347.  Made from 1983-1990 this set came before the #2450 Race Car set which used 2 of the same pieces.

The 5 piece set came with a truck, trailer, race car, little black helmeted driver and a blue truck driver.  The race car stays on nicely under the yellow lever.  This same lever helps the trailer bed flip up.  

The set was designed for children ages 2-6.  I hope that my girls enjoy it as I plan to give it to the youngest for Christmas this year.

The set came with only two Little People.  A tall blue driver and a small black race car driver.  The tall driver had a variation of a white hat instead of blue.  

The red race car and little driver were later produced by themselves as the #2450 Race Car set.

The yellow and white truck and trailer fit together with a white peg.

The top of the trailer has grooves for the car to fit in.

Happy Racing!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crockpot Beef Stew Recipe

I've got yet another crockpot recipe to share with you, this time a family pleasing Beef Stew.  With the chill in the air (that's a stretch here in AZ, but it's starting to cool down) this is a perfect Fall recipe!  

Crockpot Beef Stew
2-3 pounds cubed beef stew meat 
¼ cup all-purpose flour 
salt and pepper 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup carrots (sliced)
4 large potatoes, cubed (I used red potatoes)
1 tablespoon dried parsley 
1 bag (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained 
6 oz fresh mushrooms, whole
1 ¼ cup red wine 
1 cup beef stock 
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 Tbsp dried)
3 bay leaves 

1. Place meat in a large plastic bag. Combine ¼ cup flour with ½ teaspoon salt; pour into the bag with the meat, and shake to coat. Remove from the bag and tap the excess flour from the meat. 

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add stew meat, and cook until evenly browned on the outside. Remove meat and in the same skillet, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and pour contents of the pan over the beef in the slow cooker. Add the carrots, potatoes, parsley, mushrooms and pepper. Stir in pearl onions. 

3. Cover, and cook on high for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for 6 hours or until meat is fork tender.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.  Add more parsley, pepper and salt to taste.

For a different Beef Stew recipe check out:
Spring/Summer Vegetable Beef Stew

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fisher Price Friday - Dept 56 Fisher Price 2014 Ornaments

Halloween is over so it's time to start talking about Christmas!  These beauties are the 2014 Dept 56 Fisher Price Christmas ornaments (there are a couple more but I only collect the vintage toy ones).  Aren't they lovely?  Today I'd like to show you some detail on two of the ornaments.  The Fisher Price Camera and the Radio Clock.  I paid about $14 each for them on Amazon.  Last year I bought Dept 56 ornaments at Target but sadly didn't see them there today when I checked out the Christmas displays.

First up the Radio Clock ornament.  You may recognize it as the Music Box Clock Radio #107.  The ornament is made of heavy plaster with stickers on the front.  The stickers include the clock face, hickory-dickory sticker and the red turn sticker.  The rest of the clock radio has bright colored paint to make it look like the original.

The ornament does not stand on it's own (front heavy) but will do just fine on a christmas tree hanging from the pretty red ribbon. 

The back is simple, just red with the company logo (Mattel & Dept 56), no cute lithograph like the original.  The top of the ornament has a molded in "handle" and antenna.  Not the real deal but not bad for a replica.

Now onto the Fisher Price Camera, which is a replica of the Changeable Picture Disc Camera #112.  I guess that was too long of a name for the ornament. ;)  

Also made of plaster the camera looks a lot like the original down to the stickers on the flash cube.  Everything is molded in/painted on (no moving parts) but it includes a lens, viewfinder and shutter button.  The camera does have an attached yellow strap much like the original.

Aren't they cute side by side?

It may be made out of plaster but it has many similar features to the original toy.

Don't you love these little ornaments?  They are sweet reminders of past toys.  I plan on keeping my ornaments once the girls outgrow the full sized toys.

I'll be showing the other 2014 Dept 56 Fisher Price ornaments soon.  If you want to see more check out my review of the Fisher Price ornaments from 2013.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Frozen Birthday Items from the Dollar Store!

Say what?  Frozen items for only $1?  Yes, it's true!

I was *this* close to having Frozen themed birthday parties for my girls this year but each time they/we chose something different.  My youngest had a Minnie theme and my oldest chose a small outing with 3 friends instead of a themed party.

But...last week while buying my oldest birthday balloons I was surprised and thrilled to find a Frozen mylar balloon at the Dollar Store!  Of the three I purchased it was her favorite.  I was impressed that they had an Elsa/Anna balloon and you can't beat $1!

The same Dollar Tree store had sweet little Disney Princess and Frozen snack bags.  We use them for snacks but they would be great for birthday party treat bags too.

So there you go, just a couple tips for Frozen Birthday Party themed goodies on the cheap.

You're welcome. :)