Friday, February 26, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Listen and Look a Safety Book

Happy Friday!  It's been awhile since I shared a Fisher-Price Little People book so here we go.  Today it's Listen and Look A Safety Book published in 1986 by FP/Quaker Oats/Marvel Books.  Written by Rita Golden Gelman and Illustrated by Cathy Beylon this medium sized board book was one of two Hardcover instructional books.

This book is particularly lovely because it has familiar FPLP characters, animals and even vehicles.  You'll see Lucky the dog, familiar children (Timmy & Penny), Circus Train animals and even a couple surprise toys like the tub toy on the shelf in the photo above.

The book is instructional telling kids how to stay safe but only putting food in their mouths, not climbing into refrigerators, looking before you cross the street, not climbing up high, watching where you walk, saying NO to strangers and wearing appropriate weather clothing.  All great current life lessons (although the refrigerator seems a bit outdated).

These illustrations are my favorite, check out all the familiar toys/figures.  The car, farm animals and even the wagon.  So fun!

For more Fisher Price Activity Books Check Out:

Shape Books:

Hardcover Story Books:
Activity Books:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

4 Favorite IKEA things

I've been a fan of IKEA since my first year of college which was ah-hem over 2 decades ago.  The first time I visited I was so awed by the sheer size and referred to it as "Disneyland for grown-ups".  My infatuation with IKEA has waxed and wained over the years and although I don't go as often I still find it a fun outing.  I always make sure to have at least one meal there and of course at least 2 free cups of coffee (it's free for members).  

Although I usually only go 3x a year I've been twice in the last week!  I've had my free coffee, $1.99 waffle breakfast, free kids meal (on tuesdays), $1 ice cream cone, Swedish Meatballs meal (try the chicken version) and of course picking up random odds and ends that I didn't even realize I needed until I was there!

I thought I'd share 4 of my favorite recent finds, just in case you needed a reason to head over there.

1. PUGG wall clock - this old fashioned and classic looking clock is a perfect addition to my laundry room.  I've been looking for a clock to help us get out of the house on time in the morning.  This clock is a bargain at only $10.99.

2. VARDAGEN carafe - This little carafe holds 17 oz and has a soft silicone lid.  It fits in my car's drink holder and is my new perfect way to carry water (or iced tea, or iced coffee!).  And at only $1.99 it is the deal of the day.  They also make a 34 oz carafe for only 1 dollar more.  I loved this little beauty so much that I bought another one yesterday!

3. RADIG espresso pot - I have been considering this little piece of coffee heaven for over a year.  Since I already own a Keurig (and a coffee press and a 4 cup coffee maker) it seemed overboard to purchase another coffee making apparatus.  However, I decided to give it a whirl because it is only $19.99, very pretty and I wanted to make espresso at home.  I purchased some IKEA espresso grounds to go with it ($3.99 a package) and let's just say I'm a fan.  It takes longer to make than my Keurig of course, but when I'm home and have the time it's a treat.  

4. PANNKAKOR - Swedish pancakes that are ready in a few seconds (microwave or longer in the oven) and cost only $4.99.  Yes please! 

So that's my latest top 4.  I could also mention the Norwegian frozen salmon filets, Kakor biscuts (cookies with jam and frosting!), SKUBB drawer organizers and of course the $2.99 milk frothers but I'll try to save those for another day. :)

Until next time IKEA!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hello Fresh Review (how I fed a family of 4 with a 2 person classic box)

Have you heard of Hello Fresh?  It's a mail order subscription meal delivery service.  I decided to give them a try since coming up with meal ideas is always a challenge around here.  After selecting which size subscription (3 meals for 2 people) and which type (Classic Box for omnivores) I was able to select 3 meals from a possible 5 choices.  

Then a few days later a big (and surprisingly heavy 14 lb) box appeared at my doorstep.  Unfortunately it arrived at 8pm so too late for dinner that night as I'd planned, so if you order be aware that it comes UPS and note when your UPS man usually appears.  

Despite the delay (and our having to eat cereal for dinner) it still felt like Christmas morning as we opened the box and unpacked the goodies inside.

Our three meals this week were: Spiced Salmon, Caramelized Onion Burgers and Chicken Paillard.

First up was Spiced Salmon with Blood Orange-Arugula Salad, Couscous and Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette.  I selected this recipe to prepare first due in part to the "eat me first" sticker on the box.

We are a family of 4 but we don't eat 4 adults worth of food, more like 2.75-3 people which is why I didn't select the 4 person (family) meal plan.  This recipe came with enough couscous for 4, salad for 3 and salmon for 2 so I simply added another salmon fillet that I had in my freezer.  My youngest just ate salmon/couscous the rest of us ate the full recipe.

The recipe was easy to follow, the ingredients fresh and the results surprisingly well received.  I say surprisingly because in the past my family has expressed a strong dislike for arugula (too spicy) and we never ever put fruit in our salads.  However, we loved the combination!  I added this recipe to our "favorites" list.

Next up was Caramelized Onion Burgers with Garlic Aioli and Crispy Cauliflower.  I am a burger fan but I never make them at home so this was a treat for my family.  There was enough cauliflower for all 4 of us but the burgers were only enough for 3 (husband ate 1, 8 year old and I split a burger - perfect amount for me, 4 year old had cauliflower and leftover salmon/couscous).

The recipe was easy, ingredients were fresh and the result was also well received.  I found the buns especially delicious and big enough that I was satisfied sharing my burger with my daughter.  The cauliflower wasn't exactly "crispy" but it was good.  I've made roasted cauliflower before but never added the breadcrumbs, which provided a nice texture.

Last but not least we had Chicken Paillard with Mustard Potato and Green Bean Salad.  I swapped out a larger package of chicken (16oz instead of the 12oz provided) and froze their chicken for another day.  There was enough of the salad to feed 3 people, the youngest ate chicken and green beans only.

As before the recipe was easy, ingredients (except the celery, it had wilted so I replaced it with my own) fresh and result was a hit.  This is saying a lot because I am the only one in my family who likes mustard, especially whole grain mustard.  However, as it was presented they liked it!  This recipe actually had some ingredient leftovers as we didn't need all of the vinegar, mustard and onion.  The bottles were so tiny and cute!

So in review, here is what I thought:


-Waste: A lot of packing materials for a small amount of food.  Although they appear to be mostly recyclable it still makes me pause to consider all the fuel and resources used to ship them to us.
-Cost: It does cost about the same as a dinner out, so you are paying for the luxury of home delivery/portioned ingredients, etc.
-Delivery schedule: You are responsible to stay on top of your deliveries and selecting which meals are being sent to you.  If you forget (ah-hem like I did) and miss the deadline you may end up getting a meal that doesn't meet your family's preferences.  Or meals delivered when you are out of town, busy, etc.
-Delivery days: They only offer Wed-Sat delivery and I'd prefer a monday.


-New recipes and ingredients that I don't normally select or try.
-Pre-portioned ingredients make cooking so much faster and easier.
-Less waste of vegetables especially and other ingredients and they only send what you need.
-Step by step instructions on how to prepare the meals, I even learned a couple different ways to cook/prepare items than I normally do.
-Ingredients were all fresh, high quality and consistent.
-We liked all 3 of the meals!
-Now that I've made the recipes and have directions I could recreate them later on my own if I wanted to.

We have another Classic box arriving this week with three more meals.  I'm looking forward to more new challenges and tastes!  I plan on trying another meal delivery company to compare and decide which one we like better.  I'll be back with that review in the future.

Do you want to try Hello Fresh?  If you use this link to sign up you will get $40 off your first box, that's a great deal!  Or at checkout put in the code 4EYNB5.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Current Mood

It's Friday and I usually have a vintage fisher price toy to show but not this week.  The photo above shows my basic mood.  Let's just say it's been a messy and emotional week for me and my family.
So I'm taking a little break from my blog.
I'll be back soon with more toys, recipes and reviews.  See you soon and watch out for Legos, they're super unpleasant to step on.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Happy Valentine's Day!

It may be 2 days until Valentine's Day but with kids in school we're already celebrating at our house.  So bring out the hearts, candy, flowers, chocolate and have a great Valentine's weekend!

For other Little People Valentines Check out:

2015 Valentine's Day Cards
2014 Valentine's Day Cards
2013 Valentine's Day Cards

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Summer is Back! :)

It's that lovely time of year in Phoenix again where the rest of the country (maybe not CA) is freezing/snowing and having snow days and blizzards and we're pulling out the shorts, sandals and sunscreen.  Ah, the reason we moved her in the first place.

No really, my husband and I actually moved here (from the Midwest) just for the sun.  We said why should we wait until we retire to live in the desert and here were are going on 10 years!

It happens quickly here too.  Last week I was wearing boots/scarf/coat and today it's sandals, t-shirt and capris.  Good. Times.

My favorite things about living in Phoenix in February:

1. Sandals - My toes missed the sunshine.  Also it's nice to actually see the polish on my toes.  

2. Iced Coffee - I'm back to my favorite iced vanilla coffee at Starbucks.  It's cheaper than some of my other favorite drinks and never burns my mouth. :)

3. Parks - The kids can live it up again at the park (50's were too cold!!).

4. Backyard - Getting to use and enjoy our backyard.  I had lunch out there yesterday and my girls have spent hours and hours playing outside in the sun.

5. Free citrus - I appreciate being able to fill a whole container with fresh squeezed orange juice with fruit from neighbors/friend's trees! (and also have lemons and grapefruits aplenty).

Well you get the idea.  It's pretty fabulous here.  And for those of you who think I'm rubbing it in feel free to return the favor when I'm literally cooking at 120 degrees in July/August.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fisher Price Friday - Mystery Mailman/Pilot

I've talked about whoops and rare vintage Fisher Price pieces before and I've got a new mystery today.  It's a little boy with a black body and a mailman/pilot hat.  He's been popping up all over on the Internet on eBay and Etsy recently. He's referred to on listings as a rare Mailman or Pilot.  On thisoldtoy they guessed that he was a "burglar" which is hilarious since as far as I know there were no criminal sets produced by FP. :)

There were many Fisher Price Little People figures that used the same pilot/mailman/captain (and in two cases "farmer") hat.  Also two older mailman/pilot figures with a slightly different hats (grey and turquoise).

He's a cutie, smiling with his little blue hat and shiny black outfit.

I did a little research and talked to one of the main sellers who informed me that he'd bought a lot of them from a prior FPLP worker at the NY plant.  He believes that they made the little mailman/pilot out of leftover parts from other pieces.  I'm inclined to agree.  My theory is they were leftover from one of these other black bodies little guys/dogs pictured above.  As Fisher Price was phasing out the classic people (1990) and introducing the chunky/larger people they made unusual combinations to use up leftover parts.  

Because there are quite a few "mystery mailmen" figures currently out there it is clear that it cannot be a "whoops" as some sellers have marked.  A true whoops would be a rare anomaly, only one or at most a few created by accident.  Because there are so many more out there they had to have been made intentionally.

Do you have any of these little guys in your collection?  Did it come in a set or by itself?  If you have any more information to share about him I'd love to hear it!

And if you don't have him yet look on eBay and Etsy, they're out there right now.  I've saved a couple for my girls and have a few available in my Etsy shop too. :)  

How cute are these guys? :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Slow Cooker Shoyu Chicken

I've got a new crock pot recipe to share.  I continue to be obsessed with Tasty and their enthralling cooking videos and so I had to give this one a try.  I was pleasantly surprised that the chicken tasted just like the Shoyu Chicken I regularly ate while living in Hawaii.  The vegetables were a nice addition since I had everything done at one time (in one crockpot), but just chicken alone with the sauce would be wonderful too (double the chicken/sauce ingredients). 

Inspired (and slightly changed) from Tasty's Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken.   

Slow Cooker Shoyu Chicken
4 chicken thighs
1 pound red potatoes (in chunks, size depending on your preference)
1 pound carrots sliced
1 pound green beans

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
4-6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it hot)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a large bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper.
2. Place chicken thighs in the bottom of a 6-qt slow cooker. Pour all of the soy mixture over the chicken. Throw in the red potatoes and carrots.
3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Feel free to baste midway. Add green beans during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
4. Serve immediately!