Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hot Air Balloon Adventures

We live in a truly beautiful part of Arizona, both the natural beauty of the suburban dessert landscape as well as the amazing sunsets and sunrises (although thankfully I don't see many of those, ha!).  Another almost magical part of my particular little community are the Hot Air Balloons that fly over our neighborhood on an almost daily basis, and sometimes twice a day (sunrise and sunset).

It never gets old seeing those bright and colorful slowly moving balloons drift over our homes and roadways.  We always point them out during carpool and make it a game to see who can spot them first.  We even use it as a teaching tool for our youngest to practice counting!

All that to say, I have zero desire to get into one of those.

My oldest says all the time that she'd like to go and I've always replied that she is welcome to when she turns 18 and that I'll be waving from the ground.

However, our community association had a spring celebration this last weekend and along with pony rides, bounce houses, cotton candy and face painting they advertised free (sponsored) tethered hot air balloon rides.  

They had me at free and tethered.  

I figured that tethered can't be that scary and that maybe I could jump out if I had to and still be okay. ;)

So I got tickets and up and away we went.

It was a quick 5 minute "ride" and it was wonderful. 

Maybe...just maybe I'll join my daughter on that real ride when she turns 18. 

Oh and by the way, my youngest wasn't allowed to go (5 and over) and lets just say she was none too pleased. :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fisher Price Friday - Pull Toy Play

This week I observed my youngest bringing out one vintage Fisher Price pull toy at time and making a pile.  After pulling them around the kitchen (one at a time) she would bring them back to the pile.

I grabbed my camera to take a photo and she told me to wait.  She ran down to the playroom and came back with her Pocket Camera #464.  She then "took photos" of me while I took photos of her. :)

Man I love this girl.

For info on these adorable toys:

Little Snoopy #693

and come back next week when I feature the Mini-Copter #448

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Prepare Ahead Spring Onion "Chives" for Recipes

A couple weeks ago my youngest had a field trip to a local farm.  The kids picked vegetables, pet goats and rode on a "train" made of old metal barrels pulled by a tractor.  You know, typical farm stuff. ;)

One of the vegetables that we picked to take home were spring onions.  Spring onions are a relative of the green onions are wonderful in so many recipes.  The onion base can be used like a scallion or onion in cooking and the tops can be used in similar ways as chives (as long as they aren't too tough and big) although they do not have as strong a flavor.  My family likes them on top of baked potatoes, in soups and on salads.  

I rarely have fresh ones on hand however, I found an easy way to have spring onion "chives" ready to go at any moment.  This recipe can be used with spring onion tops or regular green onions.

It's so simple.  I just wash and then cut the onion stems into tiny pieces with a scissor.  I scoop them into an empty water bottle (or use a funnel) and place them in the freezer.  

When I need green onions for a recipe I simply shake out the amount that I need.  They thaw very quickly and taste fresh!

This particular day I also sliced up the onion bases and put them in a container in the refrigerator.  The next day I used them in a soup recipe, so easy!

So there you go, a simple way to always have green/spring onions on hand.

To grow your own spring or green onions at home (on your counter!!) go here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fisher Price Friday - Juice Glasses

I had to share a recent addition to my collection today.  Sometime in the 1970s or 1980s these adorable juice glasses were produced as a mail-away item.   

I have the blond girl and the Lucky dog.  This version of the Lucky dog is an early one, drawn with a straight side and ears held in place with a metal rivet.

The glasses were sold as a 4 piece set.  The two other classes are yellow with the angry boy (wearing a ball cap) and green with a farm mom (blue body and white hair in a bun).  

Each glass had 4 of the same images on it. 

They are juice glasses so actually pretty small and hold 6 oz of liquid when full to the top.  I put a toy next to the glass to show perspective.  

The glasses are relatively hard to find, unless you're willing to pay a high price!  I usually see sets of 4 sell for around $100-$200 on eBay depending on condition.  Individual glasses are usually about $25 but I've seen them listed for as much as $95!  However, if you're patient you can score a good deal.

Besides being hard to find they are also often in poor shape.  The color appears to fade easily and the images also scrape off (see Lucky's body on my first photo).  My glasses are actually in wonderful condition, bright and new looking!  I will absolutely keep these out of the dishwasher and away from my little people. :)

I'm on the lookout for the other two glasses and will update if my collection grows!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fisher Price Friday - Play Family "A" Frame update

Three years ago I introduced the Play Family "A" Frame #990 on Fisher Price Friday.  I wanted to do an update on this toy with a couple different family combinations but more importantly to show the cutest little accessory that I recently found.  More on that later.

First, the "A" Frame was made between 1974-1976 and is the absolute coolest Little People set.  So iconic for that time period and easily portable.  A perfect little house for home or travel.

The set came with a jeep (seats 4), grill, two captain chairs, two chaise/lounge chairs, 4 bunk beds that can stack or be singles, a ladder, picnic table with two benches and finally 5 Little People.

There were only a few variations to this set for pieces like the grill (red or yellow), the jeep (different combinations of red/white) and the family.

The first sets had wood heads/wood bodies, then plastic heads/wood bodies and finally all plastic.  Pictured above are two of the many combinations.  You can see another one in my original "A" Frame Post here.

Now about the bunk beds.  They were exclusives to the "A" Frame set and are my favorite pieces.  They can work alone as 4 twin beds or stack/lock together to make 2 bunk beds.  The original beds had foam on them, but that material disintegrated over the years.

However, I found these absolutely adorable little custom made sleeping bags for my beds from the eBay seller wisher2_bee.  They fit perfectly in the bunk beds or in the Play Family Camper #994.

These tiny little sleeping bags are just for show, the little people don't actually fit inside.  But they can still sleep on top.

Don't they look just perfect in the "A" Frame?  They add the perfect texture and color to the set.  

And if you think those sleeping bags are cute you'll love these little comforters with built in pillows.  They fit in the Play Family House twin and double beds.  Unlike the sleeping bags these attach to the beds using velcro.  

If I was crafty I'd make them myself.  Okay wait, I am sort of crafty and do own a sewing machine so maybe I will make the next set myself.  But for now, these fit the home decor perfectly! :)

Last but not least here is how my youngest played with the "A" Frame this week.  Let's just say she likes babies and sleeping people.

For more Camping Sets Check Out

and of course my original 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Potato Corn Chowder - Crockpot Recipe

Some of my very favorite recipes are easy prep crockpot/slow cooker recipes.  I LOVE the idea of throwing a few ingredients in the crockpot and walking away.

I already have a favorite Salmon, Corn and Cod Chowder Recipe, but it isn't a crockpot recipe.  And then I have a Can't Go Wrong Potato Soup crockpot recipe.  I love being able to add another crockpot version with this new recipe!

It can be a little sweet thanks to the corn, so be prepared to add more salt/seasoning if that isn't your preference.

Potato Corn Chowder Crockpot Soup

24 ounces red potato, diced 
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
6 cups chicken stock 
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
2 tablespoons butter 
1/4 cup heavy cream 
* Optional toppings - cheese, bacon and/or chives.

1. Put potatoes and frozen corn into a crockpot/slow cooker. Stir in flour and gently toss to combine. 2. Stir in chicken stock, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
3. Stir in butter and heavy cream. Add more salt/pepper as needed. Serve immediately with any extra toppings, we added bacon to ours!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Little Socks

(Little Girls - sung by Miss. Hannigan in Annie)
Little girls
Little girls
Everywhere I turn I can see them
Little girls
Little girls
Night and day
I eat, sleep and breathe them
I'm an ordinary woman
With feelings
I'd like a man to nibble on my ear
But I'll admit
No man has bit
So how come I'm the mother of the year?
Little cheeks
Little teeth
Everything around me is little
If I wring
Little necks
Surely I will get an acquittal
Some women are dripping with diamonds
Some women are dripping with pearls
Lucky me! Lucky me!
Look at what I'm dripping with
Little girls
How I hate
Little shoes
Little socks
And each little bloomer
I'd have cracked
Years ago
If it weren't for my
Sense of humor
Some day
I'll step on their freckles
Some night
I'll straighten their curls
Send a flood
Send the flu
Anything that You can do
To little girls
Some day I'll land in the nut house
With all the nuts and the squirrels
There I'll stay
Tucked away
Until the prohibition of
Little girls.

I am the mother of two beautiful and only moderately messy little girls.  However, I still spend the majority of my days (and nights!) picking up after them.  Of course we try to get them to clean up after themselves, but this usually feels like two steps forward and three steps back.

One of the items that bothers me the most lately are little socks.  I find them everywhere, all over my house.  On the floor, by the door, on the seat, in the couch, in my purse, behind their beds and under furniture (to name a few).

While picking up the socks the song I posted above (and below) often runs through my head.  I was a huge fan of Annie growing up so I know all the songs by heart.  

Although I don't want my little girls to be stepped on, prohibited or tucked away I do look forward to the spring when we switch to sock-less sandals!